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

Who Do You Think You Are? is a British genealogy documentary series that has aired on the BBC since 2004. In each episode, a celebrity traces their family tree. It is made by the production company Wall to Wall. The programme has regularly attracted an audience of more than 6 million viewers.[1] More than ten international adaptations of the programme have been produced.

Who Do You Think You Are?
Narrated by
Theme music composerMark Sayer-Wade
Country of originUnited Kingdom
Original languageEnglish
No. of series17
No. of episodes149+2 specials
(as of 2 November 2020)
11 July 2007:
Adoption Special
6 August 2014:
10 Years, 100 Shows Special (list of episodes)
Running time60 minutes
Production companyWall to Wall
DistributorWarner Bros. Television Productions UK
Original network
Original release12 October 2004 (2004-10-12) 
External links


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, as of Series 14 in 2017, is Phil Davis. Mark Strong took over from David Morrissey after the first series, which was nominated for "Best Factual Series or Strand" in the 2005 BAFTAs. Cherie Lunghi was the narrator between Series 10 and 13.

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.[2]

The theme tune was composed by Mark Sayer-Wade, who also provided the background music for earlier episodes.[3] The music for later episodes is provided by Julian Hamlin and Edmund Jolliffe.

Awards and nominations

The programme was nominated for the 2010 BAFTA Television Award for Best Factual Series.[4]

Media releases

Series 1–11, 13 and 15 of Who Do You Think You Are? are available on DVD in the UK. 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.[5]

Other countries

The TV format of the series has proved popular around the world, and the BBC has licensed it to many foreign television companies, who have produced their own individual versions. TVP1 has aired a Polish version, called Sekrety rodzinne, which was broadcast from November 2006 to March 2007. In September 2007, a series of a Canadian version, consisting of 13 episodes, aired on CBC Television. In 2015, Radio-Canada produced a French-language version called Qui êtes-vous ?[6] 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 three series of Irish version of Who Do You Think You Are? in autumn 2008, 2009 and, after a considerable gap, 2018. The Irish version has included internationally recognised names such as Ardal O'Hanlon, Dana, Rosanna Davison, and Diarmuid Gavin.[7][8]

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. On 31 May 2009, South African station SABC2 premiered its own version, split into two parts, featuring local personalities.[9] An American adaptation of the programme premiered on 5 March 2010 on NBC. In Britain, this began airing on BBC One on 13 June 2010.

In 2010, the Dutch version called Verborgen Verleden ("Hidden Past") of the programme started. Thus far, thirteen series have been produced between 2010 and 2020. From 2005 to 2008, four series of the programme 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?. On 1 September 2010, France 2 aired two episodes of the French version, Retour aux Sources, featuring Vincent Pérez and Clémentine Célarié [10] Since then, four other episodes have been filmed and aired, starring François Berléand, Sonia Rolland, Barbara Schulz and Franck Dubosc[11]

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, called Kuka oikein olet?, in which local public figures searched for their origins.[12] 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. In January 2013, Czech broadcaster ČT began broadcasting their version of the programme, called Tajemství rodu ("The secret of the lineage").[13]

Starting on 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 series featured 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.

International versions

Country Local Name Network Air Dates
 Australia Who Do You Think You Are? SBS One January 2008 – present
Who Do You Think You Are? CBC Television 11 October 2007 – 31 January 2008
Qui êtes-vous? (Who Are You?) ICI Radio-Canada Télé 8 November 2013
 Czech Republic Tajemství rodu (The Secret of the Family) ČT1 9 January 2013
 Denmark Ved du hvem du er? (Do You Know Who You Are?) DR1 15 September 2010 – 17 March 2012
 Finland Kuka oikein olet? (Who Are You?) Yle TV1 9 January 2012
 France Retour aux Sources (Back to Basics) France 2 1 September 2010
 Germany Das Geheimnis meiner Familie (The Secret of My Family) Das Erste 31 March 2008 –
 Ireland Who Do You Think You Are? RTÉ One 15 September 2008 – 19 October 2009; 6 September 2018 – Present
 Israel מי אתה חושב שאתה? (Mi Ata Hoshev She'ata) Channel 1 4 February 2010
 Netherlands Verborgen verleden (Hidden Past) NPO 2 29 September 2010 – present
 Norway Hvem tror du at du er? NRK1 January 2011 – present
 Poland Sekrety rodzinne (Family Secrets) TVP1 November 2006 – March 2007
 Romania Dorință Mortală (A Death Wish) Național 24 Plus 1 January 2019 – present
 Portugal Quem É que Tu Pensas Que És? RTP1 15 January 2013
 Russia Моя родословная (My Family Tree) 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 (2010–12)
TLC (2013–present)
5 March 2010 – present

Similar programmes

BBC Cymru Wales has a similar series called Coming Home, made by Yellow Duck Productions, which features celebrities with a Welsh background.[14][15] In 2007, Wall to Wall Media 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 programme featured in the first series of the Armstrong and Miller Show in which Alexander Armstrong plays a fictionalised version of himself, discovering that his paternal grandfather and maternal grandmother were a child molester and a brothel-owner respectively.[16]


  1. "6.4 million uncover Davina's family history". Digital Spy. 16 July 2009. Retrieved 2 May 2010.
  2. "Who Do You Think You Are? with Nicky Campbell". Who Do You Think You Are. 11 July 2007. BBC. BBC Two.
  3. "SoundVault - Mark Sayer-Wade - Case Study". www.soundvault.tv. Retrieved 27 January 2018.
  4. "Television Awards Winners in 2010". BAFTA. 10 May 2010. Archived from the original on 23 August 2010. Retrieved 6 June 2010.
  5. "AcornMediaUk.com is coming soon". Archived from the original on 19 January 2016. Retrieved 7 December 2015.
  6. Médias, Groupe des Nouveaux. "Radio-Canada.ca | Information, radio, télé, sports, Arts et divertissement". Radio-Canada.
  7. "Who Do You Think You Are%3F (Irish TV series)". RTÉ. Archived from the original on 18 August 2010. Retrieved 2 May 2010.
  8. About The Show {Series 2} Archived 3 March 2015 at the Wayback Machine Who Do You Think You Are? RTÉ
  9. "Who Do You Think You Are? (SA)". TVSA. Retrieved 2 May 2010.
  10. "Retour aux sources, TV Show", Facebook.
  11. "Retour aux sources (émission de télévision)". 8 June 2018 via Wikipedia.
  12. "Sarja: Kuka oikein olet? Ohjelmat Yle.fi". YLE. Retrieved 18 March 2012.
  13. "Tajemství rodu" [Secrets of the family] (in Czech). Ceskatelevize.cz. 2013. Retrieved 7 August 2014.
  14. "Coming Home, Coming Soon". South East Wales. BBC Wales. 11 July 2007.
  15. "Coming Home Coming Soon". Mid Wales. BBC Wales. 28 January 2008.
  16. YouTube Armstrong and Miller - Who Do You Think You Are Spoof Published on 18 Nov 2007 accessed 15 July 2017


This article is issued from Wikipedia. The text is licensed under Creative Commons - Attribution - Sharealike. Additional terms may apply for the media files.