The genealogy show celebrates ten years and 100 episodes with a look back at the outstanding moments of the award-winning series.
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It's now been ten years since the first celebrity was asked
the impertinent question Who Do You Think You Are?
Since then, there have been shocks, surprises, laughter and tears
as more people discovered
they weren't quite who they thought they were.
Stone the crows!
-There she is.
-Wow! That's amazing!
He's buried directly under your feet.
Well, I'm rather lost for words.
That must be a first!
The need to know the truth has led all kinds of famous faces
to take a good look at themselves and their family,
and the total has now reached 100.
They have searched for clues across five continents,
thousands of miles and thousands of documents
to unlock family secrets
and bring history to life in the most unexpected ways.
100 unique stories from one simple question -
Who Do You Think You Are?
It's maybe a distant relative!
Oh, my God!
She married a dashing young drunk with a history of syphilis.
Who Do You Think You Are? has changed our view of British history,
and millions have been inspired
to take a journey of discovery into their own family.
I think Who Do You Think You Are? made genealogy actually quite cool.
They choose really interesting people.
But they are generally people who I think,
"Ooh, I want to know where they've come from".
People are nosy.
They love to know sort of where they came from,
and I think we're all inquisitive.
I think every family's got an amazing story somewhere.
He was playing Russian roulette.
-Oh, my God.
Well, I'm damned!
I had an exploding grandad.
You can't help me, but it's down in black and white.
A lion tamer?!
Food-hoarding, suicidal murderers.
Montague, what have you done?!
He bloomin' survived the Somme. He weren't even there!
I know the amazing one. Barbara Windsor was descended from Constable.
That's... That is a properly good celebrity juxtaposition.
There was a Golding Constable,
who was the father of the painter John Constable.
-Could that be anything to do with my side?
Well, we have done some research, and we think there is a connection.
-Ooh, goodness me.
Who Do You Think You Are? is a quest
to find the buried treasure of past lives,
but nobody knows what they will find or where they will find it.
"A goal scored by Carr after 32 minutes
"gave Newcastle a rather lucky interval lead,
"but on the resumption the home side kept up a constant attack
"and Carr completed his hat-trick"!
Get in, Will!
-That's great, innit?
-You know what a hat-trick is, don't you?
Brilliant, brilliant, brilliant, brilliant! I'm so happy!
I'm so happy about this information.
It's a sort of whodunnit, really,
because you're finding your way back through parish records.
It's detective work. You know, it's a mystery.
And we all love a mystery.
I feel like Miss Marple!
All this information, and it's mine. What am I going to do with it?
It's just the great skill of the programme,
and the great excitement of it is, yes, finding out about your family,
like you are... your own family detective.
Solving the puzzle of family history not only takes detective work,
determination and a pile of dusty documents,
it's also important to have
a pair of white gloves.
I'm afraid, before we can look at them,
-we have to put these gloves on.
-Oh, I see. Are they clean?
-Great. Thank you.
-I'm going to ask you to put those on.
How many times as Poirot have I put on white gloves
and gone into registry offices and gone down lists of people?
And that was the first thing, actually. Strange, isn't it?
The first thing I thought when I put on those gloves,
I thought, "Ah! How many times have I done this?"
What's that say? Dwyer? Esquire. That is incredibly amazing.
Right, let's have a look.
There he is in the list of the councillors. James Blair.
-Do I need the gloves, then?
-You don't, no. We can lose the gloves.
-I quite like the gloves.
-Yeah, if you like them,
you can keep them before you go. OK...
Funnily enough - you know what people on Twitter are like -
now if you do something where the gloves haven't been worn, you know,
everybody's an expert now, everyone's jumping up and down, going,
"I didn't see any, ahem, white gloves being used in the library scene".
It's actually the Hogwarts library to me!
Following the paper trail that everyone leaves behind
is the key to unlocking the past.
Is there, somewhere, a dusty piece of paper...
"Jeremy Clarkson is owed £42 billion"?
Pregnant, unmarried servant.
-That really says it all, doesn't it?
-I'm afraid it does.
Somebody goes, "It is all in this book. It is written."
And they go, "Psssshhhh!," and the dust comes out, and someone says,
"Wait! Wait, I think we have the parchment".
You know? And it is a bit like that.
AINSLEY HARRIOTT: 'When you see these documents,
'it makes you kind of think, "Wow!'
"This is me, this is part of me. This is part of my make-up here,
"right before my eyes." And, you know, it's recorded, it's all there.
I had no idea about my great-grandparents,
so to find out their names and what they did, it's just amazing.
Oh, my God. Talking about my great-great-great-great-grandfather,
you know, hundreds of years ago,
it's documented there that he was a stonemason
and he worked on Windsor Castle.
But how amazing to be able to find that information,
that we still have it in our archives.
I mean, what a treasure trove.
The census, conducted every ten years since 1841,
inadvertently reveals intimate details of our ancestors' lives,
and birth, marriage and death certificates
can send shock waves down the centuries.
Where's her husband?
Looks like she's on her own.
Hang on, this is a big line of lunatics.
-Where is she, in an asylum?
Where... Where is this?
I came across a marriage for him.
Oh, my God, he was an actor!
-And she was a variety artist!
I wondered when you'd notice.
I'm so happy!
Opera singer Lesley Garrett got a nasty surprise
from a death certificate of 1899.
She was 57 years old.
She was the wife of Charles Garrett, who was a butcher and a farmer.
"Death from poisoning by carbolic acid accidentally administered"?!
Oh, for goodness' sake! Wow!
The twists and turns of every story on Who Do You Think You Are?
rely on the information
recorded in all kinds of weird and wonderful documents.
-Rabbits, woodcocks, partridges and hares.
This is what my great-great-grandfather killed.
These are the Hearth Tax returns for South Yorkshire for 1672.
That's when they were taxing people on how many chimneys they had.
I just love that this book exists!
Somebody published it!
This is known as a seaman's discharge book.
-Wouldn't be in this day and age.
-No, no, it wouldn't!
This smutty day and age. It'd be something completely different.
Probably has a much nicer name now.
It was a really, really, very kind of innocent time, wasn't it?
Documents come in all shapes and sizes, and one of the smallest
was written by an ancestor of Alexander Armstrong.
"How to make a man to fly,
"which I have tried with a little Boy of ten years old in a Barn,
"from one end to the other, on an Hay-mow."
And the little boy came out fine. He was fine.
The longest document ever seen on the series
was found by Meera Syal in the Punjab,
where village records were kept on a very, very long piece of fabric.
It's like a sari, isn't it?
Kevin Whately couldn't believe
what he found - his ancestor's bank account details,
That's the date, not his PIN number.
We've actually still got his bank account to show you.
-It still exists.
Quite a busy account.
How extraordinary, to have his bank account 300 years later.
Bill Oddie found a strange set of rules
in a noisy cotton mill where his grandparents once worked.
Yes, off. Off. Off!
'The noise was unbelievable.'
"Boom, boom, boom, boom!" Everything's going all around you.
And it is such a row. It's just horrendous!
"Operator' notes." Real thing.
'Can you make it up?'
Extraordinary. It was 40 items of what you mustn't do,
and you don't understand one of them.
You know, "Make sure that your flop doesn't come in the bottle boots".
All right, OK, I'll make sure of that.
"Don't let oil accumulate on the contact block.
"Don't forget to see that stumblers are free to act.
"Don't let carbon dust or dirt accumulate on the commutator.
"Don't put stretch on Upper Warp Frame while still in the loader."
As if you would!
"Don't forget too much angle in loading, causing breaks."
It does! Too much angle in loading causing breaks.
You can't help laughing, frankly,
cos, I mean, you can't write that stuff.
40 unintelligible don't do this.
You say "DO try and understand what it means".
Who Do You Think You Are? has examined a million pieces of paper.
Oh, my God.
That's not short, is it?
But the real star of the archives is microfiche.
My heart's pounding, you do realise that, don't you?
No TV programme in the history of broadcasting has done more to
revive the reputation of this unfashionable material.
Without microfiche, Who Do You Think You Are? wouldn't
know who anybody was.
When you kind of wind up and you start looking at this stuff,
it's almost like watching a film from the 1930s
-or something like that.
-HE MAKES CLICKING NOISE
When you do suddenly find a name that connects with you,
you think of how much material is actually there
and then suddenly it just pops right up...
It just goes... It's almost like big words.
It's almost like you're watching some form of animation
because suddenly - bang - it's right there and that's your history.
Oh, wow. This... I knew it. I knew it.
I knew something was going to come out of this.
"Cannibalism at Tarbuck"? I hope it's not that.
-Can you read this?
-Yes? What does it say?
When I said, "Yes", I just said yes to be accommodating.
We've opened a whole can of worms here, Ken.
You just don't know who is going to turn up
when you start digging into the past.
There's no telling what they did or who they did it with,
as Alex Kingston found out.
So this street must be something different.
Something different about this street.
Something different. Something a bit out of the ordinary...
about this district or this street.
Oh, my... They're not hookers, are they? Are they prostitutes?
Oh! Are they?! Oh, my God! They're not! Are they really?! Oh, no!
They could well have been running what
-we call disorderly houses or houses of ill repute.
-Oh, my word!
They're weren't necessarily actively pursuant in being prostitutes
themselves, but running disorderly houses or houses of assignation,
-rather like motels, where people could...
-Rent a room.
-..by the hour, yes.
-Oh, my goodness!
All I can say is, this morning, I found my inner Jew and,
this afternoon, I found my inner whore!
I mean, it's like... I just... I was not expecting that.
Who Do You Think You Are?'s reputation for uncovering scandal
has inspired quite a few comedians.
Before appearing on the programme for real,
Alexander Armstrong did it for laughs.
I play myself deeply vain, you know, and I basically decided to do it
because it's been moved up from BBC Two to BBC One,
so that's my main reason for doing it.
I think it might be good for the career.
Therefore, having committed to it, I'm hoping...
I'm very much hoping that I will be
the discussion round the water coolers the following morning.
-Yes, she's here.
-This is the 1921 Census...
..and she's in here with her four sisters, your great aunts.
-Here we go.
-Oh, there they are.
Florence Agnes Davies of
14 Tanmartin Road, aged 20, whore.
And I discover, at every turn, my forebears were all prostitutes.
'It just gets worse and worse and worse.'
And what's also interesting is that all of her sisters are here,
so your great aunts as well.
Here we are. Edith Berther, aged 20, whore.
Victoria Mary, aged 19, whore.
Eliza Jane, whore.
And Susan Elizabeth, who's just 16...whore.
My main guest today is one of the genealogists
from BBC One's Who Do You Think You Are?
-Please welcome Henry Spring.
Alan Partridge also got a shock when the people from
Who Do You Think You Are? looked into the Partridge family tree.
Well, the coroner's report says the cause of death was syphilis.
Right. You can make eye contact with me when you say that, you know.
-I haven't got syphilis.
You're looking away, like that, like it's, you know...
You should careful, banding around causes of death willy-nilly.
Well, the coroner's report does state it, so we can be pretty sure.
If I was going on a man's radio show to accuse
one of his ancestors of having a sex disease,
I'd want to be more than pretty sure.
I'd want to be the next one up, which, presumably, is uber sure.
-OK, then, we're uber sure.
-Why are you doing this?
I... I have sponsors who will walk away like that
if they get a sniff of VD.
However optimistically the search begins,
those long-gone relatives so often fail to live up to expectations.
Now we have Thomas Irons of B Division.
"Absent from his beat for 30 minutes and found drunk."
He has 37 reports against his name.
Jeremy Iron's great-great grandfather was a policeman in 1839
who wasn't always well-behaved.
-37 times he was on report...
-He liked the beer. Well, well.
But he might have only had that to drink, so...
He apparently spent too much time in the pub.
But, of course, when he was a policeman,
there wasn't drinkable water, so you would drink, you know...
on a day like a hot day today,
wandering around the streets, you'd want to go in
and cool your thirst, and you should do.
But they didn't seem to appreciate that, so he was given the elbow.
From Jeremy Iron's drunken policeman to David Mitchell's
great-great great grandfather, the Reverend John Forbes,
who wasn't as forgiving as you might expect from a man of the Church.
I'd spent the best part of a week being told what a great guy he was,
and he seemed to be very respected and a very devout man
and a very learned man, and then I was given his will...
In which he basically slags everyone off, leaves nothing to his wife
because, he says, she's an alcoholic.
"To my beloved wife, personally, I cannot entrust anything
"because she has, during the last 18 years previous to this date,
"proved herself to be utterly unworthy of trust or confidence,
"being unfortunately addicted during this period to the
"vice of intemperance."
Stop smiling, this is very tragic.
-"Contracting debts without my knowledge or permission,
"imprudent and without any proper regard to necessary economy,
"generally disobedient to the admonitions,
"advices and directions that were kindly and faithfully given
"to her for her own best interest and that of her family,
"both by myself and also by my relatives and friends."
"Constantly trying to evade the vigilance that has been used
"to prevent her from going wrong."
To be honest, you read that and I'm not surprised she drank.
For many, exploring the lives of their ancestors has taken them
to the four corners of the Earth
using any available mode of transport.
Isn't that great? Isn't that fantastic?
I feel very at home here, actually. I do.
We're right by the Ganges, which is all dried up at the moment.
This is certainly not a place that English people hang out.
Rory Bremner looked relaxed on a nice little boat,
and Laurence Llewellyn Bowen tried to look relaxed
on a much bigger boat.
Some other people should probably have stayed at home.
Well, we're in Kaliningrad and I've just been incredibly violently sick.
One of those big sicks where
I just thought it was actually never going to stop.
And, rather unfortunately,
I've actually been sick on my nice document bag,
which includes the letters written by my grandmother.
Barbara Windsor sensibly decided to travel to Clacton by train.
Very easy getting on and off a train, if you know how.
You can see I haven't been on a train for a long time.
I stood there waiting, thinking the doors would open.
Having arrived at their destination,
the celebrity genealogist can still be faced with the most
Well, look, the car's in there. I can't...
I was really looking forward to finding out
why the Kilners went bust, but I'm afraid it's all over now.
I reckon you could jump over that...
with a good run-up.
Oh! Damn! Now look what's happened.
This is it. This is the ancestral home.
Thousands of miles I've gone round the world and here I am...
in the middle of a circle of stones that...
That I suppose I should call home.
And, actually, I want to leave! HE LAUGHS
You genuinely do not know anything.
You don't know what they've found out.
I knew what part of the world I was going to,
so I then had some idea, but that's all.
What was particularly hard was just kind of saying,
"OK, this is me. What's next?"
Because normally I'm slightly in control of my life.
On the morning that we began the first interview in London,
in my flat,
and they said, "And when you come to join us this afternoon
"at the Imperial War Museum, bring a change of clothes for four days
"and your passport."
And... Then my curiosity was really whetted by that.
I'm not used to not having all the information at my fingertips.
I hated sort of me going, "Well, when are we going to start?
"Are we having lunch? Where are we going to be for lunch?
"Where are we?"
And they'd just go, "You'll see."
And I'll be like, "Argh! I want to know! This is so frustrating."
I loved it because I never knew what the people were going to say
and I never knew what I was going to say.
Once the question is asked - Who Do You Think You Are? -
it's hard to say what the answer will be.
Some people know who they are and some people don't.
I like the ones where people are very, very sure that they're Irish
and then they find out they're not.
Was it John Hurt that wanted to be Irish and wasn't?
You see, knowledge is a frightening thing.
'Family legend has it that my great grandmother was the illegitimate
'daughter of an Irish lord.'
And there is something beguiling
about the Colleen from the west of Ireland.
There is something deeply beguiling about that.
He just wanted to be a bit Irish, almost everyone is a bit Irish.
He seems like he would be, he's got that sort of Celtic warmth. But no.
So, the whole...
The whole family story...is rubbish.
Poor old John. Delve into your past if you dare.
You know, there was John Hurt thinking
he was Irish, my friend Alistair McGowan who's thinking
-"I'm Scottish" - and
-more Scottish than Alistair.
When I first went to the Edinburgh Festival, I felt a great
connection with Scotland and every time I filmed in
Scotland, I thought, "This is home." I felt very much at home there.
So I was sure that with my name
and the number of people who seemed to accept me as a Scot and expected
me to be a Scot that that was where my family history lay. That's where
my time on the programme would be spent. Not at all.
Welcome to Calcutta.
You are Anglo-Indian.
So there we are.
He was so sure that he was Scottish, if he has to go anywhere,
it'll be up to Scotland where his great-grandfather was
the laird of the manor and all this, and he has to go back to India.
Meeting the McGowans in Jalalabad was extraordinary. There they
all were in that one little enclave, it was extraordinary.
And also in the middle of Jalalabad, which is just like any other town
in India now, and suddenly there was this tiny little bit - McGowan.
Very nice to meet you, I'm Alistair...McGowan.
-I'm Reggie McGowan.
-My son, Brian McGowan.
-Hi, I'm Alistair McGowan. You're what McGowan?
Cyril? Hello, I'm Alistair.
-Hello, you must be Aubrey.
-Hello, Aubrey, nice to meet you.
More McGowans. Hello.
Who Do You Think You Are? is a brilliant title.
There's an inherent joke in there - who do you think you are?
We're going to show you something different.
And who do you think you are? Kind of like an arrogant thing
about you think people are going to be interested in you, do you?
It's a perfect title for the programme.
It's a bit like going in for one of those procedures where,
I'll put this as delicately as I can,
where they put a camera up you, you know what I'm talking about?
It's a bit like that because it's something that's very personal.
Occasionally, there's a chance for a long-lost relative to meet their
new famous celebrity relative who maybe isn't as famous as we thought.
No, sorry, should I know you?
Not unless you're a Vic Reeves fan.
-I don't know Vic Reeves.
-I don't blame you.
-What, does he sing or dance?
-No, he doesn't do much.
Oh, are you?
Some people just don't do their homework before meeting
their famous relatives, like Rupert Everett's great-auntie.
-I like naughty boys.
-I like naughty boys too.
We've got something in common.
-You're not playing for the other side, are you?
-Now, I'm learning things now.
-Well, that's life.
But you're family tradition. Naughty but nice.
Naughty but nice, that's what I am. You are naughty, I like you.
I like you.
One thing our ancestors could never have expected was to end up on
the internet, and trying to track them down
has resulted in Who Do You Think You Are?
showing more celebrities on computers than any other
John, I bet you never thought I'd be finding out
more about you on something as devilish as this kind of machine.
I've found them.
French chambermaid, Elise.
Right, we're searching.
Come on. Come on, machine.
-So, there you go.
SHE SINGS JIG
He's a greengrocer.
He's a greengrocer, that's fantastic.
With the internet, a whole world of census details
and family records are just a click away. Maybe.
I don't know, it's not that clear what it is.
Lost it completely.
Useless from Leicester here is having a bit of a nightmare
on the computer.
I'm going to put in place names of Skye.
I sort of feel I should be able to kind of relax
and enjoy the fact that I'm just away from it all
and I can't contact the world, the world can't contact me
but I'm not enjoying that part of it.
I like the countryside and everything, the quiet,
but I don't see why that can't come with superfast broadband as well.
I don't know what it's like now cos obviously the technology moves
very quickly but five years ago, the Wi-Fi on Skye...
This could be a new folk song.
But five years ago, the Wi-Fi on Skye wasn't up to much,
certainly not in the little bit we were,
and that's frustrating when you're trying to
google about your ancestors who were only rotting just down the road.
But you need details.
Why didn't we green-screen all this?
Just done it at Shepperton, they've got exemplary internet access there.
Just scan in a postcard, stick it behind me.
We wouldn't have all the trouble we've been having getting lattes.
The dream of everyone searching through the generations
is to find a royal connection - a prince, a princess or a king.
Baronet, baronet, baronet, baronet
baronet, baronet, baronet, baronet
and eventually, you've got a crown and things, you see.
-So, tell me about...
-That's the Royal Family's coat of arms.
Gosh, do you think we've got royal blood in us?
I think... Don't get carried away now.
I think people are just fascinated by this subject
and I think we all secretly believe that we are connected
to each other and to historical figures in some sort of way,
if only we could find it out.
Boris Johnson travelled to Germany to see if his grandmother's
claim to royal blood was true or just a family myth.
We never believed a word she said.
Well, sorry, we took it with a huge pinch of salt.
Here are remarks made later by somebody.
Prince Paul von Wurttemberg.
-Ich habe der mystery cracked.
Natural father was Prince Paul von Wurttemberg.
This is all too good to be true.
I mean this stuff in pencil,
how do I know the BBC hasn't crept in and written this?
-To make this show more interesting.
-No, they did not do.
I'm sure, I keep the records.
After discovering his ancestor was the illegitimate daughter
of Prince Paul von Wurttemberg...
..Boris went on to Ludwigsburg Castle to be shown
a painting of Prince Paul's mother.
-She is, of course, Augusta Caroline, Princess of Brunswick.
And her mother is...
Her mother is...
Oh, look, Augusta Hanover!
Yeah, Princess Royal of Great Britain and Ireland.
I remember saying at the time you could've knocked me down with a feather.
I can't remember what I said but it was very, very surprising.
BORIS SPEAKS INCOMPREHENSIBLY
-I'm completely bewildered here.
Her father is Frederick Louis Hanover, Prince of Wales in Britain?
Well, yes, there is only one Prince of Wales.
I just want to nail this down.
And his father...
King George II of Great Britain and Ireland.
OK, so if you take this from the top here, Rafael,
he is my...
-Eight times, yes.
..more than surprised, I'm stupefied by this.
Boris' grandmother's claim to a royal connection turned out to lead
all the way back to King George II, more royal than even she realised.
We thought that she was wildly exaggerating her claims
and it was the subject of great amusement to us as children
and it turned out that she was right.
And so fair play to her.
To be able to trace a link to royalty,
it's essential to be descended from an uninterrupted line of toffs,
knights and money, just like Alexander Armstrong.
There is no period where Alex's family are not sufficiently
posh that all written records are about him.
I thought that was very, very funny.
This is from the late Elizabethan period.
This is vellum, so this is calf skin.
What a beautiful document, look at that.
-Here's Sir Charles.
Yeah, he was an illegitimate son of Henry who was the second
Duke of Somerset.
So his father, John Beaufort, Earl of Somerset and Duke,
this comes back down here to John of Gaunt.
-And he was the son of Edward III.
'It was fantastic, we got to the College of Arms'
and he had that wonderful vellum which had all the Stuarts and Tudors.
Here, we've got Edward III here, your direct ancestor,
and we can go back all the way here to William the Conqueror in 1066.
-I have reached the pinnacle of my line then, haven't I?
That is incredible.
It was funny - a number of people who followed me
on Twitter had said how smug I looked.
How smug I looked when I discovered that I had royal connections.
I wasn't feeling smug, I was feeling very excited. It is exciting!
I mean, it is! What do they want me to do, look miserable?
It's not every day you discover that sort of thing.
Olympic gold medallist Matthew Pinsent
traced his line ever further back,
making a link to William the Conqueror
look a little bit insignificant.
We're back into pre-history here.
And the dates have run out.
Yeah, just as well, I think, cos otherwise they'd be laughable.
We go back. There's King David.
You may get a sense of which direction we're going in here.
Back again, further and further.
And so we've got Cain and Abel.
Adam and Eve.
And at the top of your pedigree...
there is God.
So you are directly descended from God.
Well, we all are, of course.
It's very nice to find a distant royal connection.
But finding a hero closer to home is more of a reason to be proud.
Oh, don't, cos I'm going to start crying.
There's a portrait.
The pride that I felt when my great grandfather,
when I went to the museum and I saw his portrait on the wall...
It was really...
It was really amazing.
I mean, I felt such immense pride. Yeah, it's lovely.
JK Rowling found a heroic character in her family.
Her great grandfather Louis Volant
was a corporal in the French Army and fought in the First World War.
"With the greatest calm, he...
Oh, my God!
"He killed several German soldiers."
For protecting his position and defending his comrades.
Oh, my God!
For his bravery, your great grandfather won Croix de guerre.
The Legion d'honneur is an award for officer class.
So, Croix de guerre, it's an award for the fighter.
It's better. The Croix de guerre is much better
than Legion d'honneur, for me.
I have Croix de guerre with a bronze star.
Exactly the same that your great grandfather won.
And I will be very, very honoured if you accept it...
-Thank you so much.
-..in memory of your great grandfather.
-Thank you very much indeed.
You can be very, very proud of your father.
He was a fighter.
You can consider your father as army on its own.
-Goodness me. Gosh.
Who Do You Think You Are? can be an emotional experience.
And despite their best efforts,
for many the shedding of tears has become part of that journey.
I had absolutely sworn to myself that I wouldn't become emotional,
because I thought that might be indulgent in every way.
Which was maybe too strong a promise to have made to myself
when I was eight months pregnant and highly emotional about everything.
I was asked about my grandparents. Perfectly anodyne question.
Just to get the ball rolling. "Tell us about your family."
And even just talking about my grandparents,
I suddenly found I was getting a lump in my throat because...
I have no idea why.
Good lord, if I'm going to start welling up on day one,
what hope is there for us as we get through the fortnight?
It was very moving.
And I thought, "I cannot cry!"
It's too awful. I cannot cry.
But it was really difficult to not cry at times.
Emotions were also stirred when Jeremy Paxman discovered
an anonymous letter sent in 1901
had caused hardship for his great grandmother.
Some bastard writes an anonymous letter.
In June... The 8th of June and the 18th of June,
alleging pauper had given birth to an illegitimate child.
I was surprised by how viscerally I reacted.
I don't know what one learns from that, really.
There's a curious charge about the personal experience,
and the fact that it's someone in your family
gives it a life that it would never acquire if you simply read about it.
Because she's guilty of misconduct, she has...
her poor relief withdrawn.
So this is your great grandmother?
Hm. Committed a great sin.
Having a child.
Do we know what happened to her after that?
When you discover somebody's life story
and the adversity that they have had to face,
of course it has an effect upon you.
I was terribly moved.
The archives are a time capsule.
Recording the day-to-day lives of everyone's families.
The heroes and the villains.
"With that exorable villain George Hyde Clarke..."
That happens to be my great-great- great-great-great grandfather.
I've got your dad's criminal record here for you to have a look at.
His first arrest was at what age?
First arrest is in 1934, so he would have been 19.
This is fantastic.
"..an Incorrigible rogue."
To be charged with being an incorrigible rogue
is another one of these all-purpose charges
that you could just hoover people up.
He was an incorrigible rogue. He was a career criminal.
"£100 reward. Montague Leverson, solicitor, 66, Bishopsgate.
-Oh, the Jewish persuasion.
-Indeed, as I am.
"Charged with fraud."
That is worse than I ever thought.
He had an affair with...
With the servant girl.
And made her pregnant.
He just couldn't resist it.
Bit of a cad, really.
I've been playing those sort of part for years.
David Couch, you naughty boy!
-It looks as though he was telling lies on his application.
To put it sort of bluntly. Yeah.
"Food Hoarding Fines.
"Shipbuilder and wife to pay penalty of £600 and £100 costs.
"They were first of all charged with hoarding no less than
"1,148lb of flour."
So he pleaded guilty for Mrs Hodge.
Mr Hodge's reply, "He had nothing to do with the housekeeping,
"his time being occupied in building ships as fast as possible
"to save the country from disaster."
He blamed his wife. That's disgraceful.
"Go on, love. Take one for the team."
"On Tuesday last, at Westminster police court,
"W Morris Crouch, otherwise Morris Beethoven,
"late of Ebury Street, was brought up in custody..."
Oh, my God.
"On remand, charged with obtaining sums of money with attempted fraud."
"Six live tame fouls.
Oh, stop it.
It seems to me he's nicked a few chickens.
It's not crime of the century, is it?
Says here, "Pleads guilty."
I suppose if you've got a load of chickens on you,
you're bang to rights.
Loath to say it was murder most foul.
Clueless criminals pop up with great regularity.
But then there are the other villains
who left behind them a trail of emotional wreckage.
Kim Cattrall's grandfather George Baugh
disappeared from the family home in 1938.
So where is George Baugh?
Well, he's looking through the window there.
So didn't want his picture taken that he would not even come out
-for a family wedding photo.
George Baugh was a secretive man
who abandoned his wife and three daughters.
Nobody knew where he'd gone until Kim Cattrall tracked him down.
Son of a bitch.
To Isabell Oliver.
He's a bigamist.
Son of a bitch.
I knew he was gutsy, but this is just...
Now he's a criminal.
Bruce Forsyth's great grandfather also disappeared.
Leaving six children behind in London.
But where did he go?
What I did was, because you mentioned America,
so I crosschecked all the names on the passenger list.
-So those great liners that take people out to America.
And, in fact, Joseph does turn up in one.
-He is travelling with a woman.
Oh, dear, Catherine. Did you have to bring that up?
I never knew that if got on a boat,
a liner going across the Atlantic,
that everybody's name would be there, that was a surprise to me.
When they found out he was travelling with this young girl,
who we didn't know at the time was pregnant, I mean,
and she was a milliner who we found out before.
How could they find out that?
Frances - ditto - Johnson.
Same name. 26.
And look at that - wife.
So he was a bigamist?
I cannot find a divorce for Joseph and Elizabeth.
It's not there.
And I can't find a marriage either for Francis and Joseph.
-But we don't know exactly what happens when he goes to America.
He was elusive, to say the least.
How can you have a family of six...?
I mean, OK, I've had three wives,
but I could never have walked out on six children
and my wives the way he did.
I think that was quite amazing - which made him rather devious.
Who Do You Think You Are? has never been afraid
to explore the tragic side of history.
When tracing family roots in the Caribbean,
the trail inevitable leads to the horrors of slavery.
Moira Stuart searched for relatives in a register of slaves
from the 1800s kept in Antigua's national archive.
The slave register gives, yes, the first names of so many men and women,
but there is no surname.
So it is very difficult to know which -
in this case, Billy, or John, or Prudence - Prudence who?
..many, many names of many, many...
are my ancestors.
I'm thinking, what a travesty.
What an obscenity.
What an injustice.
I'm thinking that I'm very privileged...
..to at least read their names.
For Ainsley Harriott, the hardships endured under slavery felt very real
in a crumbling church in Jamaica.
When I started looking
at my three-times removed
who worked on this Wear Pen estate,
and I went there, I wanted to kind of discover where she actually slept.
And there was nothing there except a church.
And I'll never forget, just approaching this church,
genuinely feeling quite excited about -
maybe this was the place that she might have gone to worship.
But then getting inside
and seeing it completely crumbling to the ground, you know,
all the floorboards had been ripped up, there were no pews,
there was no crosses of Jesus Christ, there was nothing...
except a couple of plaques.
There's a Davy.
Died in London, 29 September 1863.
This man owned my great-great-great grandmother.
I felt a sense of anger, really.
I just wanted to just rip it down and I said - I think, even in the...
in the programme, I just wanted to spit at it,
I just wanted to do something.
I wanted to have a reaction for the hurt
that my ancestors had endured at that time.
I want to spit at it, really, you know?
I want to say, "Sod you, mate."
Let it stay up there, let people remember,
let this whole church just crumble around that plaque.
Let it fall to the floor and smash to pieces.
I don't even want to look at it any more.
The traumas of the Second World War
have also been explored by the programme.
When Natasha Kaplinsky looked at her family background,
she knew the holocaust would be at the centre of her story.
The first time I realised that...
we were really going to uncover some very dark secrets
was probably when I was met at the airport by Benny,
who is my father's cousin.
-Are you Benny?
-Oh, that's fantastic!
-So happy to meet you.
'And the team had rightly decided
'that the discoveries that I was going to make in Belarus'
were probably a bit much to do on my own, and so they needed
to bring somebody in to kind of share the burden of it.
Natasha travelled with Benny to a town called Slonim in Belarus,
where, in 1942, her father's cousins,
two little girls aged nine and two, were killed by the Nazis.
There was one particular moment in the filming
where I actually just thought I couldn't carry on,
and it was the discovery of what had happened to the two girls.
And how they had died.
The youngest child died on the 4th of February 1942.
How did they go about killing children?
I mean, you know about the death camps
and the liquidation process, but with children it's just...
-It's just so much more tragic, isn't it?
If you ask me about the mechanism, how they did it...
It was in the most brutal way.
They didn't use bullets for children.
They just did it with their hands.
It's beyond comprehension.
Just terrible, isn't it?
-Can you excuse me?
I couldn't carry on the filming, and I just had to leave the room.
And they were all very respectful, and just let me sob.
Because I just - I couldn't...
I couldn't get my head round the reality of killing children.
And that they were my relatives, I found it just...
It was just horrific.
Thank you very much.
Oh...how do you open it?
'One of the real moments of emotion in that film
'was when we were in a synagogue where our relatives used to worship
'before they had been burned alive in another synagogue.'
It's just such an incredible feeling.
We're standing possibly right at the very spot
where all our family came to worship.
It's an amazing feeling.
It was totally derelict,
and it was very eerie, and there were birds flying around,
and it was a very still place.
I didn't know what to expect.
And then, suddenly...
Benny started to sing.
HE SINGS IN HEBREW
And it was so emotional.
I mean, I just couldn't hold back the tears,
I'm still stopped in the street about that moment in my film,
because I think it struck a chord with everybody, it was so beautiful,
it was so emotional.
Yeah, it was a real moment of heartache.
During its 100 episodes,
Who Do You Think You Are? has changed the lives of many people.
It's an emotional experience that shows how important it is
to really know where you come from.
I feel so privileged to have been put into a position to discover
that stuff, you know?
Discover my family history.
It is so, so powerful.
It was an incredible opportunity,
and I'll always be immensely grateful for it.
It was just life-changing in so many ways.
The shaft of light that can be created by this sort of programme,
I think, is very revealing,
and very often tells you more about how human beings are.
That's the fascinating thing, isn't it?
The revelations have sometimes been distressing,
and sometimes uplifting.
Hello, my long-lost family!
I'm here, I'm here!
Whatever has happened in the past,
Who Do You Think You Are? proves one thing -
life goes on.
I think everyone should do this - it's very cathartic,
it's very good for the soul.
Families are fascinating, and they're full of secrets and surprises.
And there's no such thing as an ordinary family.
You know, family's family.
Dead or alive, family is family.
I suppose everyone feels like they need to come from somewhere...
to understand where they are.
If you have family,
it always goes on.
Cos there'll always be somebody that continues,
somebody to pass it on.
Someone to hold on to.
..so, who do I think I am?
I'm a link in the chain of a wonderful family.
The genealogy show celebrates ten years and 100 episodes with a look back at the outstanding moments of the award-winning series.
This one-off special features the shocks, surprises, tears and laughter that have marked the 100 celebrities' extraordinary journeys into their family histories. It remembers the dramatic highlights, from Jeremy Paxman's tears to Boris Johnson's astonishment at his incredible royal connections, as well as the sometimes inadvertently funny bits.