Tag Archives: kim cattrall

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? Kim Cattrall

12 Aug

Tonight’s episode of Who Do You Think You Are? (WDYTYA) was the fifth programme of the seventh series and featured Kim Cattrall as the celebrity subject. She is probably best known as Samantha Jones from the popular television series Sex and the City.

This episode has probably been the most talked about episode of this current series, with several articles revealing that the episode is pretty much about her desire to find out what happened to her missing grandfather and the impact that the investigation had on her and her family.

I don’t think that there has been such a tightly focused episode in the history of WDYTYA, or one with such a well defined aim from the outset. I have great admiration for Kim Cattrall for not only wanting to find out more, but for allowing it to take place in front of the camera. It was never going to be an easy journey to make, and there was never likely to be a happy ending for the family.

There were some very moving scenes, like where Kim’s mother and aunts described so vividly the abandonment and hardship they had faced after his disappearance. Their strength and that of their mother in the face of such hardship is truly remarkable. It is hard to imagine that such poverty existed in parts of this country 70 years ago.

There was very little documentary research shown on screen, some searching of passenger lists for George Baugh’s attempt to stowaway to America was about it. Most of the progress in the story seems to have come from meeting and speaking to neighbours and family, something which was only possible because they were dealing with a much more recent time period than in most episodes (and the fact that they had a celebrity and a camera crew probably helped open doors).

In the final scenes, where Kim revealed the second life of her grandfather to her mother and aunts, she sounded to me like she was in a courtroom, prosecuting this man for what he had done, and perhaps in a way she was. There was never likely to be a question about the verdict. Understandably there was anger and disbelief, but I got the impression that there was also an element of relief that his secret was out and some closure was found. Perhaps not a happy ending, but an ending nevertheless.

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