The interest in family history in the UK (and worldwide for that matter) continues to grow and I have no doubt with the lineup of celebrities for this year’s UK edition of Who Do You Think You Are? TV show, it will not only keep it’s loyal followers, but gain many more.
Now into it’s eighth season, the ten celebrities that will take part in the 2011 series will be:
JK Rowling – French connections
Across the course of seven books and eight films, Jo Rowling’s Harry Potter series has captured the imaginations of millions of people around the world. Who Do You Think You Are? sets out to explore the French ancestry of the author’s mother.
June Brown – Overseas research
At 84, the actor behind EastEnders‘ Dot Cotton (now Branning) is the oldest person ever to have enjoyed the Who Do You Think You Are? experience. She explores her family’s migration from Africa, tracing generations of ancestors forced to move from country to country.
Alan Carr – Genealogical sleuthing
Comedian Alan Carr has brought his sparkling style to a range of TV and radio shows, including The Friday Night Project and his Chatty Man talkshow on Channel 4. His episode of WDYTYA? explores his maternal great-grandfather, who changed his name in mysterious circumstances.
Sebastian Coe – Researching illegitimacy
Gold medal-winning athlete and London 2012 mastermind Lord Coe is famous for setting world records in a range of athletics events. His genealogical links span the globe from Jamaica to the United States, with a plantation owner involved in the sugar trade among the extraordinary stories waiting to be uncovered.
Larry Lamb – Long-lost relatives
From EastEnders‘ villainous Archie Mitchell to a key role in the phenomenally popular comedy Gavin and Stacey, Larry Lamb has played larger-than-life characters in some of the UK’s biggest TV shows – and investigates some similarly colourful personalities in his quest to learn more about his mother’s biological family.
Emilia Fox – Theatrical ancestors
Famous for her roles as pathologist Nikki Alexander in the long-running crime drama Silent Witness and evil witch Morgause in the BBC’s Merlin, Emilia Fox is part of a celebrated acting dynasty. As she discovers in her episode, though, her theatrical lineage goes back further than she thought.
Richard Madeley – Early settlers in the US and Canada
Having already explored the difficult early lives of his father and grandfather in the moving account Fathers and Sons, TV personality Richard Madeley delves further into his family tree, tracing his maternal line back to Canada and America’s founding fathers.
Len Goodman – Workhouse links
Born in Bethnal Green in 1944, Strictly Come Dancing‘s head judge Len Goodman has enjoyed a successful showbiz career since starting dancing at the age of 19. He soon learns that the stories of his ancestors were very different, with poverty and the workhouse playing an unhappy part in their lives.
Tracey Emin – Radical ancestors
As one of the most well-known of the current generation of modern British artists, Tracey Emin is famous for her unique artworks and headline-grabbing installations – and her family tree also turns out to be full of unorthodox characters.
Robin Gibb – Military ancestors
As one third of the hit pop group the Bee Gees, Isle of Man-born Robin Gibb has enjoyed a hugely successful music career spanning more than four decades. He sets out to learn more about an ancestor who played an important role in a 19th-century war in Afghanistan.
I haven’t found an actual date of when this is to premier, but if you’re in the UK, keep an eye on your local TV guides, as I do know that JK Rowling will be the first episode.
As for us here in Australia, I doubt we’ll see Season 8 Who Do You Think You Are? until at least next year, and then you can guarantee that it’ll air on Foxtel before the free channels … so, in the meantime sit back, tune in to SBS and watch the old episodes of UK’s Who Do You Think You Are?… but don’t forget Season 4 Who Do You Think You Are? (Australia) is presumably due later this year!!