Comedy stars take part in Who Do You Think You Are?

Thursday 24th September 2020, 9:01am

  • Ruth Jones, David Walliams and Liz Carr will feature in genealogy show Who Do You Think You Are? Series 17
  • Walliams discovers his great-great-grandfather, after going blind, forged a career as a travelling entertainer
  • Jones says: "Filming Who Do You Think You Are? was one of the best experiences I've ever had"
Ruth Jones.

Ruth Jones, David Walliams and Liz Carr will star in the new series of genealogy show Who Do You Think You Are?.

The BBC says of the upcoming Series 17: "This highly anticipated series of Who Do You Think You Are? will deliver laughter, tears, tragedies and shocks, as the celebrities uncover and share emotional stories and surprising revelations about family members both beloved and unknown."

Ruth Jones

Gavin & Stacey star Ruth Jones learns that her paternal grandfather was a key player in the Medical Aid Societies of South Wales, which provided a model for the National Health Service. She also discovers a lineage of world-travelling mariners on her mother's side.

She says: "Filming Who Do You Think You Are? was one of the best experiences I've ever had. I feel so privileged to have been taken on this spectacular journey into my heritage and to have discovered so much about my ancestors. I've probably been guilty of assuming people from by-gone generations were stuffy, two dimensional and a bit dull. But my trip on Who Do You Think You Are? has proved the opposite to be true. I feel like I've got to know the real people behind the fading sepia photographs and it's made me want to find out more. Ancestry is where it's at!"

David Walliams

David Walliams.

From his home town in Surrey to the First World War battlefields in Belgium, David Walliams delights in discovering a great-great-grandfather who, after becoming blind, forged a career as a travelling entertainer. Walliams also uncovers a more tragic story surrounding his paternal great-grandfather's experiences following WWI.

He comments: "I'm delighted to have taken part in the series. I started off the journey knowing very little about my ancestry. In making the programme I found out lots of family history I would never would have learned of. I was pleased to discover that being an entertainer runs in the family."

Liz Carr

Liz Carr.

Comedian Liz Carr, who is well known to TV viewers for her acting role in Silent Witness, learns of her paternal grandfather's experiences in the Royal Navy's Northern Patrol. Carr also travels to Co. Armagh, Northern Ireland, and gets forensic, exposing an ancestor's role in an attempted murder.

She says: "I've watched Who Do You Think You Are? over the years so to be selected to have the show research my family history has been a wonderfully surreal experience. An armchair genealogist, my mum has dragged us around graveyards in search of our ancestors but to no avail so I'm hoping this will now all stop (probably not - knowing my mum!). I have loved every moment of discovery, of following in the footsteps of my ancestors and learning how the past really has informed my present. All of the experts were generous and fascinating as they guided me back in time to introduce me to my family. Before doing Who Do You Think You Are? all I really knew about my ancestors was that they had died but now I know that they lived and how they lived. I like knowing that, I like knowing who they were and I feel very proud to be related to them."

Commissioner Abigail Priddle comments: "We're so excited about the return of Who Do You Think You Are?, one of our most watched history series. Viewers have much to be excited about too, with an amazing line-up of celebrities set to delve in their ancestries and uncover lost connections and unfamiliar histories."

Executive producer Colette Flight adds: "Who Do You Think You Are? is back with more of our best-loved celebrities discovering incredible ancestors in their family trees. In these challenging times, the stories of courage, sacrifice and resilience they uncover are all the more resonant, but there's also plenty of humour along the way too."

The four-part series, which will also feature Doctor Who and Broadchurch actor Jodie Whittaker, begins on BBC One in October.

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