Who Do You Think You Are? – Clare Balding

Clare Balding
Image Credit: BBC/Wall to Wall Media Ltd/Stephen Perry

The BBC sports presenter dives into her family history, ranging from possible scandal to multimillion dollar success in New York.

She first looks into her mother’s side of the family, and in particular her great grandparents; MP Sir Malcolm Bullock and his wife Lady Victoria, daughter of the 17th Earl of Derby. There is already some tragedy as Victoria died young following an accident while hunting, but there is also the mystery concerning Malcolm, which Balding suspects and tries to prove might have been down to him being secretly gay at a time when homosexuality among men was a crime.

Balding later turns to her father’s side of the family, with her grandfather being one of the world’s greatest polo players, who married into an American family called the Hoaglands. Balding’s great grandfather Joseph was involved in million dollar real estate deals in New York; her 2xgreat grandfather lived on prestigious 5th Avenue; while her 3xgreat grandfather Joseph made a lot of money marketing baking powder – and I mean a LOT of money.

This episode was good because of the way it covered two somewhat different stories: yes, both sides of her family are privileged, but there is some element of struggle regarding whether or not Malcolm was gay. But on the one hand you have this aristocratic family, and on the other you have an industrial, more capitalist background. However, even he might not be the most important member of the family, if later details about Balding’s family are all as they seem.

Balding’s episode is certainly on par with Craig Revel Harwood’s last week, and both have similarities with their entrepreneurial ancestors.

Who Do You Think You Are? is on BBC One at 21.00 on Thursdays.