Preview – Who Do You Think You Are?

Ricky Tomlinson on Who Do You Think You Are?

This is a tough but compulsive watch. Ricky Tomlinson is no stranger to the slings and arrows that come with industrial relations, indeed in the 1970s as a union rep, he was sent to prison after lawfully picketing a building site and subsequently blacklisted by the Economic League. Here, Tomlinson looks back at a tale of misery, exploitation and struggle as he traces the genealogy of his family.

This is a genuinely moving journey that exposes Victorian values, which some politicians crave a return to, were not the friend of ordinary Britons. Here we find poverty, religious divisions and generations working in terrible conditions on Liverpool’s docks while trying to support their families.

It is a journey into a past that has important parallels with attempts to undermine the hard-fought workers’ rights we enjoy today and prompts Tomlinson to sum, thus: “I am so angry. Land of hope and glory? My arse!”

Who Do You Think You Are? Thursday 8.00pm, BBC1