Tag Archives: who do you think you are

Who Do You Think You Are? US – Brooke Shields

5 Jul

Sunday night saw the screening of another episode of the US version of Who Do You Think You Are?, this one featuring actress Brooke Shields.

At the start I was beginning to wonder if there was going to be any genealogy, as it seemed to take ages to get moving and away from the fact that she was from New York.

The first part in Newark was quite interesting, not only because of the obligatory ‘celebrity trying to work a microfilm reader’ shot, but also because of the picture that the historian was able to paint of the neighbourhood.

I did feel that the programme left this side of the family a bit prematurely. I would have liked to find out where the (probably) immigrant ancestors had come from, but I guess the travel budget was being saved for the other side of the family.

The other side of the family was the rich and famous side, and as such there was no genealogy seen on screen, other than the handing over of a scroll with her father’s ancestry already laid out for her.

We have seen this several times on the UK version, where the show moves away from researching and interpreting the lives of the ancestors, to capturing the reaction of the celebrity as he/she is revealed to be the descendant of increasingly wealthy/powerful/pious individuals.

Brooke Shields seemed genuinely interest and enthusiastic as she was shown paintings and sculptures of her illustrious ancestors and it certainly made for great television. Like the previous episode, the best place to find out more details is on the NBC website, not the BBC website.

Coming up next week is Susan Sarandon, on BBC One at 10.35pm on Monday 12th July 2010.

Who Do You Think You Are? US – the next episode this weekend

3 Jul

It seems that over here in the UK we are being drip fed episodes from the US version of the Who Do You Think You Are?

The next episode featuring Brooke Shields is being shown on BBC One on Sunday 4th July at 9.15pm, three weeks since the previous one.

Is there any logic to the schedules? or should we just blame the World Cup?

Who Do You Think You Are? – Latest British celebrities revealed

21 Jun

In preparation for the next series of Who Do You Think You Are? (due for screening at the end of July), the BBC have announced the line up of celebrities appearing on the programme.

This gives me the chance to play the game "Who Do I Think They Are?". The rules are simple, take on genealogy blogger and one list of celebrities and see if the genealogy blogger has heard of any of the celebrities.

For those of you playing along at home here is the list of celebrities:

  • Bruce Forsyth
  • Rupert Everett
  • Monty Don
  • Jason Donovan
  • Rupert Penry-Jones
  • Dervla Kirwan
  • Alan Cumming
  • Alexander Armstrong
  • Hugh Quarshie (according to Wikipedia)

I’m afraid I didn’t do very well. I have heard of five out of nine of the celebrities (Bruce Forsyth, Monty Don, Jason Donovan, Dervla Kirwan and Alan Cumming) but that probably says more about my celebrity knowledge than the fame or celebrity status of any of the celebrities.

Who Do You Think You Are? US: Sarah Jessica Parker

14 Jun

At last we have seen an episode for the US version of Who Do You Think You Are? on British television, for the time being at least, it seems that this is the only programme from the series that we will be seeing.

The actual story of Sarah Jessica Parker’s ancestors is covered in depth elsewhere, so I won’t go into any detail about what was revealed. This in itself is one of the big differences between the UK and US versions of the series, the amount of information provided by NBC about each celebrity is enormous compared to the amount provided by the BBC. This isn’t just a case of the information already being out there so the BBC didn’t need to bother, it was pretty much the same with the last UK series as well.

Apart from that there weren’t really that many important differences, or at least it is hard to judge from just one episode. For example, Sarah Jessica Parker seemed to get incredibly excited as every piece of new information appeared, whether this is just her personality or whether the programme makers were trying to show how exciting genealogy research can be is hard to say.

Again at the beginning of the show she seemed to spend more time talking to her family about what she/they expected to find out. I would have thought it pretty obvious that they would find some roots deep in American history somewhere within the branches of her family tree.

The fact that the programme was dealing with aspects of American history didn’t really make much of a difference to me. Most of the events mentioned were known to me, but really in name only. The level of detail provided was just right, I didn’t need to know in great detail what happened to appreciate the importance of of the events.

I would say the programme itself wasn’t that different from the UK version, typically much of the research process itself took place behind the scenes, so all we saw were the relevant documents being delivered and interpreted. I think the programme was slightly faster paced than the UK version. I think they covered the same number of stories in 46 minutes as they would normally cover in an hour in the UK.

All in all, I would say I enjoyed this episode, even though most of the subject matter was not of personal interest. I look forward to one day seeing the rest of the episodes (I could probably find a way of watching them online if I wanted to).

Who Do You Think You Are? US on UK television this weekend

10 Jun

This weekend British viewers are going to have the chance to watch the first episode of the US version of Who Do You Think You Are? featuring Sarah Jessica Parker.

This episode is being screened on Sunday the 13th June 2010 on BBC One at 9:15pm, and there is no indication when the rest of the series will follow.

It seems like a long time coming, but it is only about three months since it was first broadcast in the US, although of course that seemed a long time coming in the first place.

Apparently there is also some football on this weekend as well, but WDYTYA is the only programme I will making an effort to watch, I will let you know if I think it has been worth the wait. I suppose it will fill a gap whilst we wait for the eighth series of the UK version, which is supposed to be coming this year.

The WDYTYA effect hits America

6 Mar

I had to smile when I read Thomas MacEntee’s post which mentioned his difficulty accessing the NEHGS and Ancestry.com websites after the transmission of the first episode of the US version of WDYTYA.

"Ahhh", I thought to myself, "the Who Do You Think You Are? effect has finally hit America".

If WDYTYA has the same impact over there as it did here you can expect more of the same in the coming weeks and months, as people see how ‘easy it is to do genealogy research.

So apart from slow and unavailable websites what else can you expect?

Queues and delays at archives, libraries and repositories, may take a while to manifest themselves whilst everyone spends their time ‘crashing’ the internet searching for their ancestors.

You can also expect delays ordering documents. Over in the UK the General Register Office had a real struggle meeting the demand for birth, marriage and death certificates.

It is not all bad news however, of course more genealogists has to be a good thing in the end, and for bloggers you can expect an increase in visitors (my own posts on the last series over here saw three or four times the average number of hits).

Who Do You Think You Are? Live 2010 website goes live

31 Oct

I received an email today announcing that the website for Who Do You Think You Are? Live 2010 is now live. WDYTYA Live is the biggest family history event in the UK and will be held at Olympia, London from the 26th to 28th February 2010.

The email mentions a new Photography Gallery feature for the event, which will provide information on dating, identification, preserving, digitising and restoring old photographs. This sounds very interesting, after all who hasn’t got loads of old family photos that need sorting out.

Details on the website are still pretty basic, expect more as the event draws closer. Only one celebrity is mentioned so far, Tony Robinson, best known (to me at least) for his portrayal of Baldrick in the BBC comedy Blackadder and for presenting the Channel 4 archaeology programme Time Team.

This is one of the key events of the UK family history calendar, and this year I will probably try and go on all three days because there is sure to be plenty to see and do on all three days. I could quite easily spend three days listening to lectures. Tickets are due to go on sale soon.

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