Third celebrity revealed for this year's WDYTYA? Live

By Deputy Editor, 5 March 2015 - 12:06pm

Deputy editor Claire Vaughan is looking forward to hearing Alistair McGowan's experiences of making his episode, at WDYTYA? Live

Claire Vaughan is the deputy editor of WDYTYA? MagazineThursday 5 March 2015
Claire Vaughan, deputy editor
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Alistair with his father, George, who brought the McGowans to England from India

Actor and impressionist Alistair McGowan has been named as the third celebrity to sign up for this year's WDYTYA? Live, says deputy editor Claire Vaughan

The office is buzzing today as we’ve just had confirmation from our colleagues working on WDYTYA? Live that Alistair McGowan will be coming to this year's show in Birmingham NEC on 17 April.

He’ll be chatting to our very own Sarah Williams about his experiences and surprise at uncovering his unexpected ancestry on the Friday morning in SoG Studio 1.

I have a real soft spot for Alistair and his family history journey. We ran a feature on his episode in issue two of the magazine. It was the first piece I worked on when I joined the company and I remember editing his story vividly, it was so fantastically surreal.

He had no idea he had Indian heritage. He thought he was Scottish and his father had always told him that his dark colouring was down to Portuguese ancestry! He suspected that all wasn't as it seemed when he spotted the words Anglo-Indian on his father’s birth certificate after his death, and was keen for WDYTYA? to help him uncover the truth.

The McGowans in India, including Alistair's great great grandfather, Ralph (seated)

To his amazement, he discovered he was descended from an Irish Infantryman John McGowan “an intrepid and gallant soldier”, who went out to India in the mid 18th century. Here he met and married Maria de Cruz, a local or Eurasian woman and this is where Alistair’s Anglo-Indian story began.

Alistair's great grandparents, Richard and Isabelle McGowan

It includes a mix of East India Company soldiers, a religious rebel with the flamboyant name Suetonius who married a “Mohammedan woman of nobility”, the Raj, mixed marriages, clerks and a fitness fanatic – and highlights the fluctuating fortunes of the Anglo-Indian population in India. You can read more about it here.

Cecil, Alistair's grandfather, was a keen wrestler

If you want any back issues of the magazine, contact our back issues department on 0844 844 0939 or come and see us on the stand at WDYTYA? Live. We’re running a great show offer: quote WMS2426 on the online booking page or by phone, and you can benefit from our special ‘two for £26’ offer until 7 April.

Meanwhile, if you have any questions you’d like Sarah to put to Alistair at the show, then email us or let us know via Facebook and Twitter and she’ll do her best to fit them all in!

 

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