Tuesday, 3 August 2010

A decent episode of Who Do You Think You Are at last

After a fairly average opener with Bruce Forsyth, and an absolutely appallingly produced edition with the very unwatchable Rupert Everett last week (which should have been retitled Who Does He Think He Is!), the programme makers appear to have finally remembered how to make Who Do You Think You Are. This week, the BBC arguably showcased one of the best ever episodes of the long running UK series, with this week's celebrity being Irish actress Dervla Kirwin.

I was fairly wary of this one - the publicity as usual was sensationalising a link to someone famous, in this case, Dervla's link to her great great uncle, IRA man Michael Collins, who was responible for negotiating the Anglo-Irish Treaty that saw the partition of Ireland. On past form with Irish programmes in the series, I thought we were going to get another preachy lecture about how good it would be to be awfully nice to one another in Ireland (ahem, David Tennant!). In fact, it very bravely side-stepped the temptation to dwell on Collins, and instead looked at the life of another IRA volunteer, Dervla's grandfather, a nephew of Collins. Again, following the last two weeks' efforts, I was worried we would get another hour long programme on just one person, but in what was a brilliant change of direction, the programme suddenly decided to venture deep into a very deeply entrenched story of bigotry in Ireland - except it wasn't anti-Catholic or anti-Protestant in nature, it was the Irish Ascendancy dominated bigotry towards Jews in the late 19th century and early 20th century. It was as unexpected as it was a rollercoaster of a ride - and felt genuine throughout.

All I ever ask for with my BBC license fee is a good story well told, that doesn't treat me like an idiot. It's been a while, but the Beeb got it spot on tonight. If you haven't seen it, and you are in the UK, head for the BBC iPlayer right now - you won't regret it!


Professional genealogical problem solving and research
Researching Scottish Family History (New book)

1 comment:

Caroline Gurney said...

Couldn't agree more. The programme was greatly helped by Dervla Kirwan's intelligent and thoughtful response to the unfolding story.