With Who Do You Think You Are? returning to our screens, I have a confession to make – I have never seen an episode of The Great British Bake Off. I know I am perhaps one of only several people in the country to be in this position, and I say this as the first episode of WDYTYA? follows the family tree of GBBO judge Paul Hollywood, a person who I knew almost nothing about.
The route taken in this first episode of series twelve follows Paul Hollywood’s maternal grandfather and his service during the Second World War, and further back along the same line to his family history in Scotland.
This series will also traces the ancestry of Sir Derek Jacobi, Jerry Hall, Mark Gatiss, Anne Reid, Jane Seymour, Gareth Malone, Frances de la Tour, Anita Rani and Frank Gardner.
I absolutely love WDYTYA? and will watch every episode in the series, regardless of the person whose family tree they are following. As we are shown the lives and hardships faced by these past generations, we also see the joy in these celebrities finding out about these individuals and their stories, and often the comparisons to themselves and their own lives.
One aspect of knowing that WDYTYA? is returning to our screens that can be an issue is the trailer for the series, which can often contain spoilers. Thankfully, the recently released trailer for this series seems to be mostly spoiler-free. A great part of the show is following the events alongside the person on screen, rather than already knowing what is going to occur, so we have the same emotional impact when a new piece of information is discovered.
Who Do You Think You Are? is a wonderfully produced show, and can influence us all into looking at our own family tree. The various international versions which it has spawned confirm its success, and I hope the BBC has many more series lined up for the future.
Who Do You Think You Are? will begin on Thursday 13th August at 9pm on BBC1.