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).