Wednesday, 10 October 2012

WDYTYA review - Celia Imrie

Tonight's Who Do You Think You Are episode, back after a break, featured actress Celia Imrie. The first big surprise was to hear she was in Star Wars - turns out in a very minor role as a pilot, but you live and learn!

There was a very different pace and feel tonight. For one thing, we went up a class or three to deal with the hoi polloi. That's not necessarily a bad thing, particularly this week, as there wasn't so much a long line of blue blood being chased (sorry Matthew Pinsent, the document was impressive, but only the document!), but particular stories, of which there were two. We also went back four hundred years - something which does not happen in the series so much these days.

The first half looked at William Lord Russell, an eight times great grandfather who was a Whig politician accused of plotting to kill a Stuart king. I warm to anyone with a dislike of the Stuarts, so was happy to listen in! He lost his head, and seems to have been deified somewhat in the history of democracy since then, though my own take on what democracy might have meant back then compared to now may have caused problems back then if I'd met him! But an interesting tale, particularly with its links into the Glorious Revolution.

The second half was a much better sequence though, looking at his own granny's tale - crikey, we had it all here! Murder, hanging, drawing and quartering, an unconsummated marriage, sneaky toffs, the Tower of London, more sneaky toffs, the lot. Fascinating twists and turns, and proof that it doesn't matter so much if you find blue blood in the tree, as to whether they had interesting stories worth pursuing.

The thing that struck me though was that the pace was much slower, because this wasn't a pair of stories you could Google or look up on a records site - this was a God honest get-the-documents-out-from-the-vault based family history. In some weeks WDYTYA winds me up with sequences painfully made to look complicated when a couple of clicks on Ancestry will sort it. This week, there were no gimmicks, just a story revealed from one document to another. It was worth the wait.


Scottish Research Online - 5 weeks online Pharos course, £45.99, taught by Chris Paton from 26 SEP 2012 - see
New book: It's Perthshire 1866 - there's been a murder... (from June 12th 2012)


  1. I found this to be one of the most interesting instalments for a very long time. The 10g granny's story could be turned into a good book.

  2. I thought this one felt a bit more like a history lesson than an episode of WDYTYA but it made a good contrast with other episodes in the series and plenty of juicy details!

    Do wonder if anyone actually checked out the accuracy of that hand-drawn family tree before they started though....

  3. Hope so, slightly problematic if they didn't! lol