Tag Archives: wdytya

Who Do You Think You Are? on the BBC TV Blog

14 Aug

I still haven’t got around to watching the first episode of the new series of Who Do You Think You Are? featuring June Brown, so I will withhold judgement on that, but if you want to found out more about the making of the series then check out the following post on the BBC TV blog.

In the post Tom McDonald, the executive producer for this series, describes some of the work that goes into making the series and discusses some of the issues faced when dealing with some of the more difficult topics covered in the this and past series.

What really comes across in this blog post is the amount of work that goes into producing each series, with 30 celebrities being researched to produce a series of just ten episodes. It sounds to me as if a programme about the making of each episode would be just as interesting, documenting the research process and sharing the breakthroughs that are made along the way, many of which I am sure that we never see on the finished episode.

Thanks to Gary Andrews of the BBC TV Blog for bringing this to my attention.

Copyright © 2011 John Gasson.
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Who Do You Think You Are? is back for another series – but am I really bothered?

4 Aug

I noticed yesterday that J.K. Rowling was on the front cover of the Radio Times, heralding the start of the latest series of Who Do You Think You Are? in the UK. Of course I have seen various announcements prior to this, but to be honest I haven’t really taken much interest in the upcoming series.

I suppose I should be getting excited about the new series, after all it is bringing genealogy to the small screen, but really is it going to be worth the effort to watch it? A couple of years ago I would have been getting excited about the prospect of a new series, but this year I couldn’t really care less.

What are the reasons for this?

  1. Quality – the last couple of series have on the whole been rather disappointing, most of what I can remember about the last couple of series is how annoying/uninteresting/dull I found a lot of it. Don’t get me wrong, there were some high points, but I am struggling to remember them.
  2. Time – I don’t have a lot of spare time, so taking sixty minutes out to watch television is not something that I do lightly. There are probably much more enjoyable and productive things I can do with my time.
  3. Past my bedtime – I know it starts at nine o’clock only lasts an hour, but I have to be up at 5:15am the following morning (and every weekday morning) so I like to be in bed by 9:30pm. I know I could also watch it on the BBC iPlayer, but I know that I am never going to get around to actually watching it.

Having said all that, it is my “reviews” of WDYTYA? that attract the most visitors to my blog (which sometimes annoys me because they are not coming to read about my ancestors but to read about celebrities), but they are visitors nevertheless. So I really ought to be writing about the series, in fact no self-respecting genealogy blogger should be missing out on it.

So I really ought to give it a try, but if I find myself shouting angrily at the television in the first episode or starting to nod off then that will be it.

Copyright © 2011 John Gasson.
Creative Commons Licence This work is licensed under a Creative Commons
Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License
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Who Do You Think You Are? Live 2011: BBC Magazines wants your feedback

4 Mar

It is week on from Who Do You Think You Are? Live 2011 and BBC Magazines (the new folks in charge of the show) want to hear your feedback on the show.

The following paragraph is taken from the Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine website:

If you visited this year’s show, we hope that you had a fantastic time. The Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine team were there the whole weekend, and it was great to be able to meet so many of you – but now we want to know what you think. What was your favourite part of the event? What could the organisers do better next year? Let us know by emailing your thoughts to Matt Elton at mattelton@bbcmagazines.com.

I will be sending Matt an email, but I thought I would share some of my thoughts here first. Overall I thought it was an excellent show, but it could be improved.

My favourite part of the show sounds a bit odd now I come to write it down, but standing upstairs on the gallery and looking down on to the ground floor and all the stands with hundreds of people wandering about. I have never thought of myself as a people watcher but it was great to see people exploring the show, wandering from stand to stand or purposefully darting to their next talk. It was reassuring to see so many people engaged enough in genealogy to make the effort to visit the show.

However, it wasn’t all good, but most of my negative points are pretty minor, such as a shortage of tables and chairs and a lack of choice from the food vendors (from a vegetarian point of view). It appeared that the only cash machine in the building was out of order for the entire three days, although it didn’t really bother me because I was there for three days and could get more cash before coming the next day.

My only real concern would be the content of the talks, there was a good mix of subjects but in my opinion the experience level seemed to be very much targeted towards the beginner. The time alloted for each talk (45 mins in most cases I think) was not really enough to go into much depth in any case. Whilst there are still aspects of genealogy where I am a beginner, I am sure there are plenty of others like me that would appreciate a few more advanced topics being covered.

The line up of talks also seemed short on technology related subjects, such as file management and of course blogging and other social media. Back to more traditional methods I would like to see some talks covering best practices like citing sources, organising paper files and making backups.

Having said all that, the talks are only one part of the whole experience and I will of course be back next year, hopefully for all three days but if not then for the whole weekend at the very least.

Who Do You Think You Are? Live 2011: handouts on the SoG website

2 Mar

Those of you who missed the fun and excitement of Who Do You Think You Are? Live last weekend will be pleased to hear that whilst you may not be able to recreate the fun and excitement, you can experience some of the learning opportunities that were available at show.

The Society of Genealogists have uploaded a selection of handouts from presentations and workshops to their website.

To be honest the learning opportunities are quite varied, some are quite detailed whilst other are just a few pages. Some of them are just slides from the presentations and without the rest of the presentation don’t make a lot of sense. Some are lists of websites and other sources mentioned in the presentations.

In other words it is quite a mixed bag of material, but well worth checking out to see what you might have missed.

 

Who Do You Think You Are? Live 2011 – Day Three

27 Feb

Day three of Who Do You Think You Are? Live 2011 and fatigue was starting to take its toll. Fortunately it was a much shorter day for me, due to the deficiencies of public transport on a Sunday (don’t get me started on that).

The show was also a lot quieter than the previous two days which pleased me, there were still plenty of people about but it seemed a lot calmer and relaxed, or was that just me. I took the chance to take advantage of the Society of Genealogist’s Ask the Experts service, I spent twenty minutes or so discussing the missing 1841 census entry for Henry SHORNDEN/WRIGHT. I have one or two things to try out which might help solve the mystery, but it is just great to be able to discuss a problem with someone else, you know what they say “two heads are better than one”.

I deliberately didn’t go crazy with the talks/workshops today, although there were several I would have liked to see, but I really wanted to spend a bit more time visiting the stands, taking advantage of the fact that there were fewer people about. Time seemed to fly by and I had a fascinating discussion with a representative from the Science Museum Library and Archives about one of their exhibits and what records they might have relevant to my family history (there is another story in there that I need to research and write about). I learnt so much in those few minutes and not just about the museum but also about research beyond the museum itself.

I also had a fascinating discussion with a lady from the Isle of Man Post Office, about their new genealogy stamps and genealogy in general. It turns out that as well as working for the Post Office she is also a genealogist herself. The stamps themselves have even more depth than I first realised (I will tell you more later). I could quite easily have stood and chatted for hours, but I had to move on.

The first of the talks I attended was given by Dr. Chris Watts and entitled “From census entry to Google Maps”. This was an unusual one, I had heard the talk before because it had been made available as a podcast by The National Archives, but it was a very visual talk about taking addresses from census returns and using different types of maps to learn further details, so seeing it in person was a much better experience.

My final talk of the show was by Celia Heritage and was entitled “Do You Know Who You Are Yet?”. To be honest I chose this talk because the title intrigued me and I didn’t really know what it was going to be about. It turned out to be about the reasons why people research their family history, largely based on the speaker’s own motivations and genealogy research. It was definitely thought provoking, I am not quite sure about my motivations, but it has made me think that it would be interesting to look back and see how and why I got started on my family tree and whether those motivations are still the same now.

I then spent a bit longer wandering around the stands, the show was beginning to wind down and I was able to pick up a couple of bargains on my way out, but on the whole I don’t think I spent so much money this year, which is probably just as well. Then began the marathon journey home and I think I actually spent longer getting home than I actually spent at the show today! It was sad to say goodbye to Olympia for another year (hopefully there will be another one next year) as it was starting to feel a bit like a second home after three days.

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