Tag Archives: kate humble

Who Do You Think You Are? Kate Humble – unseen footage

6 Aug

Just in case you haven’t seen enough of the Kate Humble episode of Who Do You Think You Are? (WDYTYA) on BBC iPlayer already, there are now two short segments of unseen footage available on the cover CD of the latest edition of the Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine (Issue 25 September 2009).

The first segment was filmed in the town of Zagan, Poland (mostly at the railway station) and Kate talks to Charles Clarke (a former inmate of Stalag Luft III) about life as a PoW.

The second segment was filmed at Stalag Luft III at the site of the escape tunnel, and is part of the conversation between Kate and historian Howard Tuck that didn’t make it to the final cut.

Both segments are quite short, a couple of minutes each if that, so probably not worth the cover price (£4.99) just for them alone, but for fans of the show there is also a seven page feature about the episode in the magazine. This includes an interview with Kate Humble, photos and information from the programme and background material.

The rest of the magazine is the usual mix of news, advice, features and adverts. This month the focus is on Devon research and the CD also contains a selection of Devon resources. For anyone just starting out on researching their family history this edition of the magazine has the first part of a “14-day family history challenge” which will help get beginners started.

Some background listening for chasing criminals

4 Aug

If the recent release of the Criminal Registers 1791-1892 on Ancestry.co.uk has inspired you to start chasing after a criminal in your own family tree then you might be interested in some of the podcasts produced by The National Archives on the subjects of criminals and prisons.

These podcasts are recordings of talks given at The National Archives in Kew, and cover a varied range of subjects and historical periods (right up to only a few decades ago). Usually, but not always, the talk has some connection to the holdings of The National Archives. The show notes for each podcast contain a varying degree of background material, all have a brief description of the talk, but some also include illustrations and a transcript of the talk.

Those relevant to the subject of criminals and prisons include:

Victorian Women Prisoners by Chris Heather (published 9th October 2008)

The real Little Dorrit: Charles Dickens and the debtors’ prison by David Thomas (published 28th November 2008)

Catching Victorian and Edwardian criminals on paper by Professor Barry Godfrey and Doctor David Cox (published 8th May 2009)

Prison: five hundred years behind bars by Edward Marston (published 22nd May 2009)

If you watched last week’s episode of Who Do You Think You Are? with Kate Humble then you might also want to have a listen to the podcast about The Great Escape, which tells the real story behind the events that inspired the film.

Who Do You Think You Are? Kate Humble

29 Jul

Tonight’s Who Do You Think You Are? (WDYTYA) was episode three of the seventh series and featured Kate Humble, probably best known as a presenter on the BBC’s Springwatch and Autumnwatch.

This episode must surely be one of the most incredible episodes in the show’s history. Kate Humble is such a charming and down to earth personality and to share this incredibly emotional journey with her was truly remarkable.

The first part revealed the life of her grandfather Bill Humble, who turned out to be a famous test pilot, and a larger than life character. Kate was seemingly unaware of this famous ancestor’s exploits and was astonished to find herself almost falling over photos and recordings that featured him. As a family historian finding recordings and being able to talk to someone who knew and worked with an ancestor would be a dream come true.

Kate tearfully admitted that she was ashamed that she had not known all these years and more importantly not taken the trouble to find out, something which will be familiar to many a family historian I am sure (myself included) who only realise when it is too late what has been lost.

The next part of the programme turned to coal mining, and her ancestor’s connection with the industry, and the tragedy that caused a change of career for one ancestor. The heart breaking story of a terrible accident and loss of life took its toll on Kate, just as it had on her ancestor.

The third part concerned her mother’s father who had joined the RAF in the Second World War and ended up shot down and in various prisoner of war camps before ending up in the camp that was made famous in the film The Great Escape.

Kate learnt more about her grandfather’s role in the audacious escape plans and the events that followed with the help of the log book that her grandfather kept and his repatriation report at the National Archives.

It was only when she was over in Poland at the site of the camp with an expert on the subject that the true significance and importance of the contents of the log book were revealed.

Technically this episode was very much like the first episode featuring Davina McCall in that there was a strong focus on a few central individuals but not much actual family tree building. This time around I wasn’t so bothered.

I don’t know whether it was because I was caught up in the emotional story, or that the individuals were such strong characters of historical importance or just the charm and openness of Kate Humble. One thing is for certain, I think it is going to be a hard episode to beat. It seems that this series of WDYTYA just gets better and better with every episode.


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