Who Do You Think You Are? (UK TV series)

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Who Do You Think You Are?
A green tree on a hill in a green field with the text 'Who Do You Think You Are?' above styled as a family tree
Genre Documentary
Narrated by
Country of origin United Kingdom
No. of episodes 90 (as of 25 September 2013)
Running time 60 minutes
Production company(s) Wall to Wall
Original channel
Original run 12 October 2004 (2004-10-12) – present
External links

Who Do You Think You Are? is a British genealogy documentary series that has aired on the BBC since 2004. It is made by the production company Wall to Wall. In each episode, a celebrity goes on a journey to trace his or her family tree. Ten series have been broadcast, the most recent currently airing from August – September 2013.[1] The show has regularly attracted an audience of more than 6 million viewers.[2] More than ten international adaptations of the show have been produced.


Series one and two were broadcast on BBC Two, and the first was the channel's highest-rating programme of 2004. This led to episodes being shown on BBC One from the third series onwards. The current narrator is Cherie Lunghi. Mark Strong took over from David Morrissey after the first series, which was nominated for "Best Factual Series or Strand" in the 2005 BAFTAs.

In the first series, the last ten minutes of each episode featured presenter Adrian Chiles and genealogical researcher Nick Barratt giving tips on tracing a family tree. In 2007, a special episode was broadcast in conjunction with the BBC's "Family Wanted" campaign featuring Nicky Campbell, who was adopted a few days after he was born.[3]

The theme tune was composed by Mark Sayer-Wade, who also provided the background music for earlier episodes. The music for later episodes is provided by Julian Hamlin and Edmund Jolliffe.

The episode featuring Boris Johnson was filmed and set to air in late 2007, but was pulled because at the time of transmission, Johnson was getting ready to run in the London Mayoral election, so the episode was moved to the following series in 2008.[4]

Series 1 (2004)[edit]

  1. Bill Oddie (12 October)
  2. Amanda Redman (19 October)
  3. Sue Johnston (26 October)
  4. Jeremy Clarkson (2 November)
  5. Ian Hislop (9 November)
  6. Moira Stuart (16 November)
  7. David Baddiel (23 November)
  8. Lesley Garrett (30 November)
  9. Meera Syal (7 December)
  10. Vic Reeves (14 December)

Series 2 (2006)[edit]

  1. Jeremy Paxman (11 January)
  2. Sheila Hancock (18 January)
  3. Stephen Fry (25 January)
  4. Julian Clary (1 February)
  5. Jane Horrocks (8 February)
  6. Gurinder Chadha (15 February)

Series 3 (2006)[edit]

  1. Barbara Windsor (6 September)
  2. Robert Lindsay (13 September)
  3. Colin Jackson (20 September)
  4. David Tennant (27 September)
  5. David Dickinson (4 October)
  6. Nigella Lawson (11 October)
  7. Jeremy Irons (18 October)
  8. Julia Sawalha (25 October)

Adoption special (2007)[edit]

  1. Nicky Campbell (11 July)

Series 4 (2007)[edit]

  1. Natasha Kaplinsky (6 September)
  2. John Hurt (13 September)
  3. Griff Rhys Jones (20 September)
  4. Carol Vorderman (27 September)
  5. Alistair McGowan (4 October)
  6. Graham Norton (11 October)
  7. Sir Matthew Pinsent (18 October)

Series 5 (2008)[edit]

  1. Patsy Kensit (13 August)
  2. Boris Johnson (20 August)
  3. Jerry Springer (27 August)
  4. Esther Rantzen (3 September)
  5. Ainsley Harriott (10 September)
  6. David Suchet (17 September)
  7. Jodie Kidd (24 September)
  8. Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen (29 September)

Series 6 (2009)[edit]

  1. Rory Bremner (2 February)
  2. Fiona Bruce (9 February)
  3. Rick Stein (16 February)
  4. Zoë Wanamaker (23 February)
  5. Kevin Whately (2 March)
  6. Davina McCall (15 July)
  7. Chris Moyles (22 July)
  8. Kate Humble (29 July)
  9. David Mitchell (5 August)
  10. Kim Cattrall (12 August)
  11. Martin Freeman (19 August)

Series 7 (2010)[edit]

  1. Bruce Forsyth (19 July)[5]
  2. Rupert Everett (26 July)
  3. Dervla Kirwan (2 August)
  4. Monty Don (9 August)
  5. Rupert Penry-Jones (16 August)
  6. Alexander Armstrong (23 August)
  7. Jason Donovan (30 August)
  8. Hugh Quarshie (6 September)
  9. Alan Cumming (13 September)

Series 8 (2011)[edit]

  1. June Brown (10 August)
  2. J. K. Rowling (17 August)
  3. Sebastian Coe (24 August)
  4. Larry Lamb (31 August)[6]
  5. Emilia Fox (7 September)
  6. Alan Carr (14 September)
  7. Robin Gibb (21 September)
  8. Richard Madeley (28 September)[7]
  9. Len Goodman (5 October)
  10. Tracey Emin (12 October)[8][9][10]

Series 9 (2012)[edit]

  1. Samantha Womack (15 August)
  2. Gregg Wallace (22 August)
  3. Patrick Stewart (29 August)
  4. Annie Lennox (5 September)
  5. Hugh Dennis (12 September)
  6. Alex Kingston (19 September)
  7. William Roache (26 September)
  8. Celia Imrie (10 October)
  9. John Barnes (17 October)
  10. John Bishop (6 December)[11]

Series 10 (2013)[edit]

  1. Una Stubbs (24 July)
  2. Nigel Havers (31 July)
  3. Minnie Driver (7 August)
  4. Lesley Sharp (14 August)
  5. Gary Lineker (21 August)
  6. Nick Hewer (28 August)
  7. Nitin Ganatra (4 September)
  8. Sarah Millican (11 September)
  9. Marianne Faithfull (18 September)
  10. John Simpson (25 September)[12]

Series 11 (2014)[edit]

  1. Who Do They Think They Are?: 10 Years, 100 Shows (6 August)[13]
  2. Julie Walters (7 August)[14]
  3. Brian Blessed (14 August)
  4. Tamzin Outhwaite (21 August)
  5. Brendan O'Carroll (28 August)
  6. Sheridan Smith (4 September)
  7. Mary Berry (18 September)
  8. Martin Shaw (25 September)
  9. Reggie Yates (2 October)
  10. Twiggy (9 October)
  11. Billy Connolly (16 October)

Awards and nominations[edit]

The show was nominated for the 2010 BAFTA Television Award for Best Factual Series.[15]

Media releases[edit]

Series 1 – 8 of Who Do You Think You Are? are available on DVD in the UK (Region 2).

In October 2007, BBC Magazines began issuing Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine, a monthly publication that includes material from the TV series.

The series 1–4 box set of Who Do You Think You Are is available, distributed by Acorn Media UK.[16]

Complete Series Release dates DVD Extras
Bonus Features
Of Discs
Region 1 Region 2 Region 4
The Complete
First Series
TBA 5 March 2007 17 September 2008 Unseen Footage, First Steps to Researching Your Family 3
The Complete
Second Series
TBA 4 September 2007 12 November 2008 Unseen Footage 2
The Complete
Third Series
TBA 12 January 2009 18 March 2009 None 3
The Complete
Fourth Series
TBA 3 August 2009 20 May 2009 Special episode in conjunction with the BBC’s "Family Wanted" campaign featuring Nicky Campbell, who was adopted a few days after he was born. 3
The Complete
Fifth Series
TBA 1 February 2010 TBA Three behind the scenes features 3
The Complete
Sixth Series
TBA 6 September 2010 TBA None 4
The Complete
Seventh Series
TBA 7 March 2011 TBA None 3
The Complete
Eighth Series
TBA 20 August 2012[17] TBA None 3
The Complete
Ninth Series
TBA 5 August 2013[18] TBA None 3

Other countries[edit]

TVP1 has aired a Polish version, called Sekrety rodzinne, which was broadcast from November 2006 to March 2007.

In September 2007, a first series of Canadian version, consisting of 13 episodes, began airing on CBC Television. A second season has been commissioned for the 2012–13 season.[19]

An Australian version aired on SBS in January 2008, after six episodes of the BBC version had been shown; the BBC programmes were those featuring Stephen Fry, Bill Oddie, Julia Sawalha, Jeremy Clarkson, Gurinder Chadha, and Nigella Lawson.

In 2008, ARD's Das Erste aired the German version, called Das Geheimnis meiner Familie ("The secret of my family"). They aired four episodes featuring Marie-Luise Marjan, Armin Rohde, Christine Neubauer and Peter Maffay.

Ireland's national broadcaster RTÉ has aired two series of Irish version of Who Do You Think You Are? in autumn 2008 and autumn 2009. The Irish version has included internationally recognised names such as Ardal O'Hanlon, Dana, Rosanna Davison, and Dermot Gavin.[20][21] The British version of the show already airs on TG4 in Ireland.

Sveriges Television, the Swedish public service broadcaster, aired a Swedish version called Vem tror du att du är? in 2009. Later that year, in May and June, they also aired the BBC episodes featuring Stephen Fry, Jeremy Irons, Nigella Lawson, John Hurt, and Jane Horrocks.

Also on 31 May 2009, South African station SABC2 premiered its version, split into two parts, featuring local personalities.[22]

An American adaptation of the show premiered on 5 March 2010 on NBC. In Britain, this began airing on BBC One on Sunday 13 June 2010.

In 2010, the Dutch version called Verborgen Verleden ("Hidden Past") of the show started. Thus far, four series of eight episodes each have been produced in 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2013. From 2005 to 2008, four series of the show Verre Verwanten ("Distant Relatives") were shown on Dutch television.

In September 2010, the Danish TV station Danmarks Radio aired the first episode of the Danish version, called Ved du hvem du er?.

In January 2011, the Norwegian TV station NRK started to air the Norwegian version, called Hvem tror du at du er?.

Starting on 9 January 2012, Finland's national public-broadcasting company, YLE, aired 15 episodes of the Finnish version, titled Kuka oikein olet?, in which local public figures searched for their origins.[23]

A furthering of the concept was developed for American public broadcast TV, called Finding Your Roots, with Henry Louis Gates. This series adds DNA profiling to the format; including Y-chromosome DNA, mitochondrial DNA and autosomal DNA analyses to infer both ancient and recent genetic relationships. The series started airing on 25 March 2012.[citation needed]

In January 2013, Czech broadcaster ČT started broadcasting their version of this show, called Tajemství rodu ("The secret of the lineage").[24]

Starting 15 January 2013, RTP1 broadcast a Portuguese version called Quem É que Tu Pensas Que És? ("Who Do You Think You Are?") at the 10:30 pm timeslot. The first season featured such names as the comedian Herman José, the actresses Maria do Céu Guerra and Maria João Abreu, the musician Zé Pedro from the Xutos & Pontapés rock band and the fadista Camané.[citation needed]

International versions[edit]

Country Local Name Network Air Dates
 Australia Who Do You Think You Are? SBS One January 2008
 Canada Who Do You Think You Are? CBC Television 11 October 2007 – 31 January 2008
Qui êtes-vous? Radio-Canada Télévision 8 November 2013
 Czech Republic Tajemství rodu ČT1 9 January 2013
 Denmark Ved du hvem du er? DR1 15 September 2010 – 17 March 2012
 Finland Kuka oikein olet? Yle TV1 9 January 2012
 Germany Das Geheimnis meiner Familie Das Erste 31 March 2008 –
 Ireland Who Do You Think You Are RTÉ One 15 September 2008 – present
 Israel Mi Ata Hoshev She'ata Channel 1 4 February 2010
 Netherlands Verborgen verleden Nederland 2 29 September 2010 – 2 March 2013
 Norway Hvem tror du at du er NRK1 January 2011
 Poland Sekrety rodzinne TVP1 November 2006 – March 2007
 Portugal Quem É que Tu Pensas Que És? RTP1 15 January 2013
 Russia Моя родословная Channel One Russia 1 July 2009 – 12 February 2011
 South Africa Who Do You Think You Are? SABC2 31 May 2009
 Sweden Vem tror du att du är? SVT1 Spring 2009
 United States Who Do You Think You Are? NBC (2010-2012)
TLC (2013-present)
5 March 2010 – present

Similar programmes[edit]

BBC Wales has a similar series called Coming Home, which is made by Yellow Duck Productions and features celebrities with a Welsh background.[25][26] In 2007, Wall to Wall developed You Don't Know You're Born for ITV1. The series saw various celebrities taking on their ancestors' jobs. UKTV broadcast My Famous Family in 2007.

A short parody sketch of the show featured in the first series of The Armstrong and Miller Show in which a fictional celebrity, played by Armstrong, discovers that his grandfather and grandmother were a child molester and a brothel-owner, respectively.[citation needed]


  1. ^ "From the office: the WDYTYA? countdown has begun...". Who Do You Think You Are Magazine. 1 November 2011. Retrieved 2012-10-20. 
  2. ^ "6.4 million uncover Davina's family history". Digital Spy. 16 July 2009. Retrieved 2 May 2010. 
  3. ^ "Who Do You Think You Are? with Nicky Campbell". Who Do You Think You Are. 11 July 2007. BBC. BBC Two. http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/familyhistory/get_started/wdytya_celeb_gallery_01.shtml.
  4. ^ Meet Sir Alan Sugar, the Del Boy business tsar, who faces storm over Apprentice 'conflict' Daily Mail, 10 June 2009
  5. ^ "Bruce Forsyth Traces Family History". BBC News. 17 June 2010. 
  6. ^ "Press Office – Network TV Programme Information BBC Week 35 Who Do You Think You Are? feature – interview with Larry Lamb". BBC. Retrieved 2012-10-20. 
  7. ^ [1]
  8. ^ [2][dead link]
  9. ^ "Featured Articles – BBC launching new series of Who Do You Think You Are?". TheGenealogist.co.uk. Retrieved 2012-10-20. 
  10. ^ Submitted by mattelton (12 April 2011). "This year's Who Do You Think You Are? celebrities revealed". Who Do You Think You Are Magazine. Retrieved 2012-10-20. 
  11. ^ Submitted by mattelton (9 February 2012). "Who Do You Think You Are? 2012: new series celebrities revealed". Who Do You Think You Are Magazine. Retrieved 2012-10-20. 
  12. ^ "Who Do You Think You Are? 2013: new celebrities revealed". Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine. 13 June 2013. Retrieved 13 June 2013. 
  13. ^ [3]
  14. ^ [4]
  15. ^ "Television Awards Winners in 2010". BAFTA. 10 May 2010. Retrieved 6 June 2010. 
  16. ^ Who Do You Think You Are? BS
  17. ^ "Who Do You Think You Are? Series Eight [DVD]: Amazon.co.uk: Alan Carr, June Brown, J.K. Rowling, Larry Lamb, Robin Gibb, Emilia Fox: Film & TV". Amazon.co.uk. 20 August 2012. Retrieved 2012-10-20. 
  18. ^ "Who Do You Think You Are? Series Nine [DVD]". Amazon.co.uk. Retrieved 11 May 2013. 
  19. ^ David, Greg (10 May 2012). "CBC cancels 'Jeopardy!' and unveils fall schedule". TV Guide. Retrieved 24 May 2012. 
  20. ^ "Who Do You Think You Are%3F (Irish TV series)". RTÉ. Retrieved 2 May 2010. 
  21. ^ About The Show {Series 2} Who Do You Think You Are? RTÉ
  22. ^ "Who Do You Think You Are? (SA)". TVSA. Retrieved 2 May 2010. 
  23. ^ "Sarja: Kuka oikein olet? Ohjelmat Yle.fi". YLE. Retrieved 18 March 2012. 
  24. ^ http://www.ceskatelevize.cz/porady/10312897742-tajemstvi-rodu/
  25. ^ "Coming Home, Coming Soon". South East Wales (BBC Wales). 11 July 2007. 
  26. ^ "Coming Home Coming Soon". Mid Wales (BBC Wales). 28 January 2008. 


External links[edit]