Who Do You Think You Are? – Emma Willis

Emma Willis
Programme Name: Who Do You Think You Are? - TX: n/a - Episode: Emma Willis (No. n/a) - Picture Shows: Emma Willis - (C) Wall to Wall - Photographer: Stephen Perry

The host of Big Brother discovers that her family history includes among other things bankruptcy, and people on both the Protestant and Catholic sides of Irish history.

Proud Brummie Willis looks into her father’s side of the family, learning that her 3xGreat Grandfather James Gretton was a gaffer, making brushes. He then moved into glue, but eventually he became bankrupt. Not only that, but both he and his wife had children via different partners.

Later Willis learns that she has Irish ancestry, which splits into two very different paths. On the one side she has a Protestant ancestor who it appears was involved in the murder of a Catholic; while on the other side one of her Catholic ancestors was a marble worker who made church altars, supported Irish independence and was an associate of politician Daniel O’Connell, known today as “The Liberator”.

Tonight’s episode of WDYTYA? is in my view the best so far. The reason why is because primarily because the mix of people involved. First you have Willis’s local roots, which were partly great due to his early business success, and partly tragic because of the bankruptcy. Even more interesting is the completely different sides to her Irish family. It shows how one branch of your family can behave in a completely appalling manner, and the other can be hero. There probably something similar in every family, although probably not to the same dramatic extent.

Who Do You Think You Are? is on Thursdays at 21.00 (not on next week due to the World Championships).