See which celebrities took part in Who Do You Think You Are? UK 2020 and find out when it was on TV.
Who Do You Think You Are? UK, the BAFTA-winning genealogy show that sees famous faces explore their pasts, returned for its 17th season in October 2020. The first episode aired on Monday 12 October at 9 pm on BBC One.
Grow your family tree for free
Join Jodie Whittaker, @davidwalliams, @thelizcarr and Ruth Jones as they trace their family ancestry, turning up a few surprises along the way 🧐— BBC One (@BBCOne) October 5, 2020
Who Do You Think You Are. Starts 12th October at 9pm on BBC One and @BBCiPlayer pic.twitter.com/cyjutaIkJs
Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic hampered production on Who Do You Think You Are? season 17. This series, only four celebrity family stories kept us gripped, moved and entertained. Nevertheless, as always, it was an exciting dose of family history TV to help fill those darker Autumn evenings.
The celebrity line-up for Who Do You Think You Are? UK 2020 included:
Episode 1: Jodie Whittaker
Who Do You Think You Are? series 17 opened with Doctor Who star Jodie Whittaker and it was emotional to say the least.
Jodie discovered how her grandmother was given the unusual middle name of Verdun. She thought it was perhaps a poignant link to the famous First World War battle, but this family myth was soon quashed. Digging deeper into her military connections, Jodie discovered the inspiring story of her ancestor, Walter. He was a Red Cross volunteer who took the brave decision to leave his relatively safe role behind for the Front Line.
From there, Jodie explored her maternal family's deep-rooted connections to the Yorkshire coal mines. It turned out her great-grandfather, Edwin Auckland and his sons controversially defied the 1921 coal miners' strike and kept their colliery open.
Explore over 70 Yorkshire newspaper titles in The Archive today. This guide will help you get started discovering the history of ‘God’s Own Country’. https://t.co/KLgHleSHXM pic.twitter.com/9LirtUFRKF— The British Newspaper Archive (@BNArchive) October 12, 2020
This revelation didn't sit comfortably with Jodie at first but she soon came to terms with her ancestors motivations;
"Really that’s all we’re wanting…to provide a happy, healthy life for the people around us”
Episode 2: David Walliams
Who Do You Think You Are? UK 2020 continued on Monday 19 October with Britain’s Got Talent judge David Walliams.
The actor, author and comedian travelled to First World War battlefields and discovered an ancestor who may have passed down his entertainer genes.
On his father's side, David's great-grandfather suffered shell shock during World War 1 and was never the same again.
The episode took a happier turn when David learned that he descends from generations of travelling showmen who ran a funfair.
We need some cheering up after that. A funfair sounds like a good place to start😊🎡 Spoiler Alert! Here’s the extended Haines family, some listed as ‘travelling showmen’, in the 1911 Census: https://t.co/UkKyFWcaif #WDYTYA #WhoDoYouThinkYouAre pic.twitter.com/PCFWQhT4E8— Findmypast (@findmypast) October 19, 2020
We can't decide if David's discoveries were as exciting as his fellow BGT judge, Amanda Holden’s showbiz revelations?
Episode 3: Ruth Jones
On Monday 26 October, Gavin and Stacey favourite, Ruth Jones found out ‘what’s occurring?’ in her family tree.
“I am so comforted to find my journey ending where my life pretty much began and where I grew up” – what did everyone think of Ruth Jones’ episode of #WhoDoYouThinkYouAre? #wdytya https://t.co/97Tggjo2Ro— WDYTYA? Magazine (@wdytyamagazine) October 26, 2020
Episode 4: Liz Carr
This shortened series of Who Do You Think You Are? concluded on Monday 2 November when Silent Witness star Liz Carr explored her Irish ancestry.
Gutted that it was the last #WDYTYA episode, but what an exciting story, full of surprises - this is exactly why we love #familyhistory ♥️ If it inspired you to learn about your own, you can get started for free here: https://t.co/OEEpKn5J55— Findmypast (@findmypast) November 2, 2020
A woman of many talents, Liz is also a comedian and prominent disability rights activist. In her episode, she unravelled emotional links to the Merchant Navy, crime and the Irish Famine. In particular, Liz found herself shocked by an attempted murder testimony and even visited the scene of the crime. Speaking about her discoveries, she said:
'I'm quite rarely speechless, but I'm almost speechless.'
Although there might have been fewer episodes than we’d like, Who Do You Think You Are? UK season 17 kept us captivated from start to finish.
Cover photo credit: BBC Press Office/Twitter.