Tag Archives: davina mccall

Who Do You Think You Are? Series seven round up

22 Aug

The seventh series provided quite a diverse mix of research subject and geographic areas. Interestingly this series doesn’t seem to have gone back as far some previous series, concentrating on more recent ancestors. Perhaps this goes some way to show people that you don’t have to go back a long way to find interesting people and stories.

Here is a quick run down of the people and subjects covered. If you are quick they can still be watched over on the BBC iPlayer (if you missed them I am sure they will be shown again in the future, and will almost certainly be available on DVD eventually).


Episode 1: Davina McCall (first broadcast 15th July 2009)

Viewing figures (from Broadcast): 6.4 million

Like Davina the episode was half-English and half-French. The English half explored the life of James Thomas Bedborough and the impact of his death on his surviving family. The French half concerned Celestin Hennion an important figure in the history of the French police service.


Episode 2: Chris Moyles (first broadcast 22nd July 2009)

Viewing figures (from Broadcast): 4.7 million

This episode was mainly centred around Ireland with Chris Moyles uncovering tales of poverty and hardship, but it finished in Ypres retracing the steps of his great-grandfather who died there.


Episode 3: Kate Humble (first broadcast 29th July 2009)

Viewing figures (from Broadcast): 4.6 million

Perhaps the most outstanding episode this series, Kate Humble discovered the lives of three remarkable ancestors. One of whom was involved in the real life POW escape which was the inspiration for the film The Great Escape.


Episode 4: David Mitchell (first broadcast 5th August 2009)

Viewing figures (from Broadcast): 4.1 million

David Mitchell explored the lives of his ancestors in some quite remote and stunning Scottish landscape. No major revelations, just hard work (sheep farmers) and devotion to duty and the people of his parish (Church of Scotland Minister).


Episode 5: Kim Cattrall (first broadcast 12th August 2009)

Viewing figures (from Broadcast): 5.9 million

Probably the most emotional episode, Kim Cattrall attempted to find out what happened to her grandfather after he walked on his wife and children. Lots of anger and bitterness for a man who left is family with virtually nothing when he left.


Episode 6: Martin Freeman (first broadcast 19th August 2009)

Viewing figures (from Broadcast): 6.0 million

There were no earth shattering revelations in Martin Freeman’s episode, which mostly concerned his great-grandparents and the many children they had, and the common disability they shared.


One thing I found really interesting with this series was not that most of the celebrities didn’t really know a lot about their ancestors, but the fact that they felt they should have done and were even embarrassed or ashamed that they didn’t.

If I had to pick a favourite episode it would have to be the one with Kate Humble, the poor woman had revelation after revelation piled upon her, concerning ancestors that were truly remarkable people. It made compelling viewing and emotional viewing and should serve as a reminder that we shouldn’t rush back generation after generation, but ask questions and find out about those closer to us who we assumed were just normal ordinary people.

Who Do You Think You Are? losing out to Midsomer Murders

8 Aug

According figures given on the website Broadcastnow.co.uk the current series of Who Do You Think You Are? is struggling to find viewers in the face of competition from Midsomer Murders.

Despite getting off to a good start will Davina McCall (6.4 million viewers), once the new series of Midsomer Murders started in direct opposition on ITV the viewing figures have fallen. The Chris Moyles episode saw a significant drop to 4.7 million, Kate Humble wasn’t far behind at 4.6 million, and the most recent episode featuring David Mitchell only managed 4.1 million.

At first I thought is was just that people didn’t like Chris Moyles, but it appears now that the viewers would rather be watching Midsomer Murders regardless of who was the subject of the show. It will be interesting to see what happens in the final two weeks when Who Do You Think You Are? is up against football. I know which one I will be watching!

Let me know what you think? Do you watch it on BBC iPlayer or the repeat on BBC2 rather than watch it when it is first broadcast? Do you think celebrity family history is losing it’s popularity amongst the television audience?

Who Do You Think You Are? Davina McCall

19 Jul

Wednesday the 15th July 2009 saw the first episode of the seventh series of Who Do You Think You Are? on BBC1. This episode featured Davina McCall and her ancestors, she is probably best known for her role as a presenter on the Big Brother television show.

I have mixed feelings about this episode, to me it seemed to differ from previous episodes in that very little of the research process was shown or much actual pedigree building, that being said it was still an interesting show.

I won’t go into all the details (there is a brief synopsis on the BBC website and more detailed reviews elsewhere) but it began with a brief attempt to prove a family rumour of a royal connection, which was never really likely to succeed, however the story of the life of James Thomas Bedborough that emerged was much more interesting.

The second half of the programme focused on her French ancestors, and again an interesting story emerged concerning her great grandfather Celestin Hennion and his role in many important events in French history, although I must admit to having very little interest or knowledge of French history as a whole, so by the end of it my interest was beginning to slip away.

All in all it was quite enjoyable, but for me it suffered from being so tightly focused on these two ancestors. Nevertheless it was good to see someone who seemed genuinely interested in learning more about her roots and not afraid to share her troubled times (and those of her mother) with the viewers.

If you missed the programme (and live in the UK) you will still be able to watch it on the BBC iPlayer for a while.

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