In the first of a new series (and with a new narrator, Phil Davis), Game of Thrones star Charles Dance investigates his family tree.
Despite his posh roles, Dance starts by saying is background was very humble, with his mother being a parlour maid and his father dying when Dance was just four. Some digging around leads him to learn that his great-grandfather didn’t take his father’s name. This was because his parents were both married to different people. It didn’t stop them from having seven illegitimate children. Going back even further Dance learns his mother’s side of the family were originally artists from Belgium, who fled to Britain following an uprising related to the French Revolution.
Meanwhile, Dance learns his father was much older than he first believed. Having a photo of him in army uniform he first believes he served in World War I, but he actually took part in the Boer War. Dance also learns that he has half-sisters, including one who died at the age of five, and learns that he has family alive today in South Africa.
This opening episode was a bit of a mixed bag. There were certainly a few shocks, such as the illegitimacy of many of Dance’s relatives on his mother’s side, and the tragically early death of his 5-year-old sister. On the other hand, when you learned about his father’s side of the family living in South Africa, you can’t help but wonder in your head about what was going on in the country at the time.
Still, there were still some interesting pieces that indicate the series has got off to an OK start.
Who Do You Think You Are? is on BBC One at 21.00 on Thursdays.