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Celia Imrie's episode

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Celia Imrie's episode

Postby Jon Bauckham » Wed Oct 10, 2012 12:56 pm


Just a quick reminder that Celia Imrie's episode WILL be shown tonight. The remaining episodes in the current series were postponed from scheduling last week after the BBC decided to make way for Panorama instead (I still have no idea why).

Known for countless roles on both stage and screen including Philippa in Dinnerladies and Miss Babs in Acorn Antiques, the actress discovers some very noble – but murderous – ancestors. Tracing her maternal line, Celia stumbles across one of the greatest scandals of the early 17th century.

As ever, let us know what you thought about the episode by posting in the thread below. The best response will go out in our e-newsletter tomorrow evening...

All the best,
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Jon Bauckham
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Re: Celia Imrie's episode

Postby eurogordi » Wed Oct 10, 2012 9:50 pm

I absolutely LOVED this episode because, as mentioned in a forum a few weeks ago, I am also related to the infamous Lady Frances Howard who is my fourth cousin nine times removed. My only regret is that the programme downplayed the supposed role of King James I in the murder of Sir Thomas Overbury. The King officially pardoned Frances because of her loyal parentage, and yet her father, Sir Thomas Howard, had defrauded the Treasury to build Audley End House in Essex.

Although I have yet to work out my exact relationship to Celia Imrie, I was intrigued by her son's interest in politics as the genetic focus on all things political goes back much further than William Lord Russell. Here is a short summary:

Lady Frances Howard

Mother : Lady Katherine Howard (nee Knyvett)

Grandmother : Lady Elizabeth Kynvett (nee Stumpe) - she was married to Sir Henry Knyvett, courtier of Elizabeth I and a cousin of both Queen Anne Boleyn and Queen Katherine Howard

Great-grandfather : Sir James Stumpe (of Malmesbury, Wiltshire) - he was elected as a Member of Parliament in 1553 and 1555. He was part of the Parliament that proclaimed Catholic Queen Mary I, yet he was subsequently knighted by Protestant Queen Elizabeth I

2x Great-grandfather : William Stumpe (of Malmesbury, Wiltshire) - he was elected as a Member of Parliament in 1529 and 1547, meaning that he was part of the Reformation Parliament which led to the Dissolution of the Monasteries and the establishment of the Church of England.

3x Great-grandfather : Thomas Stumpe (of North Nibley, Gloucestershire) - although his first name is not entirely certain, "Stumpe of North Nibley" was known to be a clothier and parish clerk. He was the father of William Stumpe (above) and John Stumpe (my 11x great grandfather), both of whom moved to Malmesbury in the early 16th century.
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Re: Celia Imrie's episode

Postby Jeeps » Thu Oct 11, 2012 11:23 am

It was a great programme and I wished there was at least another hour to it. I felt it had taken a step away from genealogy and played more to the historical side but what a great history lesson! To have a descendant of those involved in key historical moments certainly makes for avid viewing and Celia Imrie was a joy to watch with her obvious interest and comments.

I was particularly interested in Robert Devereux as he was my 8xgt.uncle. I am descended from his sister, Dorothy. :)
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Re: Celia Imrie's episode

Postby MrsT » Thu Oct 11, 2012 5:02 pm

As the whole basis for Celia's episode was the family tree created by a relative, I was surprised that the WDYTYA researchers didn't emphasise that facts should be verified before presuming accuracy. I have headed down wrong tracks in my own research by believing information to be accurate when in fact it wasn't. If WDYTYA researchers had indeed verified the accuracy of Celia's family tree, it would have been an opportunity to stress the importance of confirming facts by more than one source before proceeding on further research based on assumptions.
I enjoyed the British history of this episode, but it lost the family history element which I thought was the whole point of the series?
Loved the Gregg Wallace episode, and Alex Kingston's too - they were more true to the premise of the show. More of these in the next series please!
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Re: Celia Imrie's episode

Postby leslam » Thu Oct 11, 2012 5:33 pm

I agree with MrsT's first paragraph; I found I was shouting at the TV that they needed to verify it!

Having said that, I loved this episode; the history aspect was brilliant and I felt it illustrated that family history is about so much more than 'collecting' ancestors.

Has that initial tree been reproduced anywhere? The surname Blois was briely mentioned; I have one in my research and as it is an unusual name I would love to try to link to that.
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Re: Celia Imrie's episode

Postby junkers » Thu Oct 11, 2012 8:19 pm

Yes it was a good episode, even it most was researched by someone else. The point about checking information is right but the pedigrees were on hand and obviously it would take too long to check everything on screen. It would be interesting if the programme had a case of going down the wrong line, it is very easy!.
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Re: Celia Imrie's episode

Postby eurogordi » Thu Oct 11, 2012 8:20 pm

While I cannot dispute the importance of verifying facts using primary sources where possible, Celia Imrie's ancestry is well documented in Burkes Peerage, and the University of Hull has carried out extensive research into Royal Genealogy which includes Kings, Queens, Lord and Ladies and can be accessed at

I am fairly confident that WDYTYA would have verified the hand drawn family tree that was shown in the programme, particularly as the information is readily available in reputable publications. Having said that, most sources do not include the two or three generations immediately before Celia, but these can be easily checked by anyone at various online genealogical sites.

Celia's 'Blois' ancestors are also well documented in Burkes Peerage back to William Blois (c1625-1672). I imagine this family is somehow connected to the early 'de Blois' family whose most famous member was crowned King Stephen in 1135.
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Re: Celia Imrie's episode

Postby ritah » Fri Oct 12, 2012 3:48 pm

This was certainly a very interesting episode from a historical point of view. Have a look at the 'Unseen Footage 1 & 2' clips which give a small insight into the other side of Celia's maternal line.

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