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Questions about how WDYTYA is made

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Questions about how WDYTYA is made

Postby Editor » Thu Nov 13, 2008 6:46 pm

I'm visiting the makers of Who Do You Think You Are? next week to ask them questions posed by readers on how the series is made. Does anyone have any questions they would like me to ask?

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RE: Questions about how WDYTYA is made

Postby margaretabram » Fri Nov 14, 2008 1:26 am

I'm sure you'll get lots!

Some of mine:

How long is the process from picking the lucky celebrity to the programme being shown?

What happens when you hit a "brick wall" in someone's research? Do you just skip that part of the family for the show?

Do you publicise the fact you are going to be filming in a certain area so people can let you have suitable photographs etc.?

Could you consider holding a competition for an ordinary member of the public to get the full WDYTYA treatment for their family tree?

Once the programme has been shown, other relatives sometimes come up with new information, could there be a follow-up programme in these circumstances?
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RE: Questions about how WDYTYA is made

Postby FamilyHistoryAddict » Fri Nov 14, 2008 4:30 am

How do you choose which celebrities to use? Do you talk to well known genealogists like Anthony Adolph and Nick Barratt who may have already done some genealogical research for celebrities?

You couldn't just pick a celebrity at random surely because their family tree might be a tad dull! [;)]

Do you ever get celebrities who say [b]No[/b] that they don't want their family history televised?

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RE: Questions about how WDYTYA is made

Postby Editor » Fri Nov 14, 2008 6:40 pm

Great, keep them coming everyone. I'm meeting the team on Wednesday so I need questions before then.


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RE: Questions about how WDYTYA is made

Postby ksouthall » Sun Nov 16, 2008 2:03 am

Would they consider letting amateur family historians help with the research ? It would be a really good competition for magazine readers to be able to win the chance to help out.

Or ould they advertise which family names they are researching in case members of the public have lots of records already ?
I remember a follow up to the Jeremy Clarkson episode in the magazine that questioned the accuracy of what was mentioned on the programme, as someone had a different birth or marriage date (I can't remember exactly which).
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RE: Questions about how WDYTYA is made

Postby Annie08 » Mon Nov 17, 2008 1:56 am

My question is:

What about a 'Making of' to follow the main programme, either on the same Channel afterwards or we can turn over. A bit like the 'Confidentials' and 'Declassified' we get with Doctor Who and Torchwood.

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RE: Questions about how WDYTYA is made

Postby paulberyl » Mon Nov 17, 2008 4:26 am

Like FHA I would like to know how they select the celebrities. Do they do some basic research on a number of celebrities and select the interesting ones? If so are the celebrities approached first on the basis that only the "interesting" histories will make it into the series? Assuming that some celebrities are not chosen because their family histories (like mine) only include servants, agricultural labourers and brass founders is it possible for these to be published in the magazine for the general interest of family historians? Also have they every uncovered a fact which a celebrity did not want revealing?

I would also be interested in just how how long the research takes and how many researchers are typically used. It is obvious from the series that a lot of pre-research is undertaken - "... here's a newspaper article we have found on your ..." which, if my experience is anything to go by, is not a five minute job to trace.

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RE: Questions about how WDYTYA is made

Postby patsavdd » Fri Jan 09, 2009 12:13 am

Re.the"ordinary members of the public" question, I must confess I delayed subscribing to WDYTYA,(to my subsequent regret!),precisely because of the apparent obsession with "celebrities". To play "devil's advocate", Jamie, I am not particularly concerned about "wanting to understand them".Frankly,for me, the success of the programme depends on whether the subject is sympathetic, whether his/her ancestry is interesting and whether the unravelling of it presents a significant genealogical challenge. My enjoyment of the programme has not been in any way diminished where the chosen "celebrity" has been completely unknown to me. To save embarassment, I will not name him/her!
I join with many others in congratulating you on the latest series. Happy New Year to you all.
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