Tonight’s edition of the genealogy show is certainly one of the bleakest in a while.
Pop star Boy George is looking into his Irish roots. Travelling to Dublin, he first investigates his grandmother, who at the age of six was taken away by the NSPCC (aka the “Cruelty Men”) and put into an Industrial School because she was “wandering” on her own just a few yards away from where she lived. She faced terrible punishments if she did something wrong, and both her parents died when she was in the school, but she was able to find work and marry after leaving the school aged 16.
However, as if taken into care and both your parents dying wasn’t bad enough, she at least had a better life than George’s great uncle Thomas Bryant, who fought in the IRA during the Irish War of Independence. He was caught, found guilty of high treason and executed without trial. His execution occurred a few days before his wife, who he had married just four months earlier, gave birth to a child who died the same day.
This is certainly a very gloomy edition. It is a story of poverty, death, and lives taken away. There is not much to be added given that we see for ourselves the state of the slums that his ancestors used to live, and learn of the stories of all the deaths. There is sadness and anger coming from George, and he appears to deal with it tremendously well.
Who Do You Think You Are? is on Mondays at 21.00 on BBC One.