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Frances de la Tour's episode

Chat about the 12th series of the landmark TV programme, which features the likes of Paul Hollywood, Jerry Hall and Gareth Malone

Frances de la Tour's episode

Postby Jon Bauckham » Fri Oct 23, 2015 9:29 am

Frances de la Tour's episode was shown last night – the final instalment of the series! It's all come around very quickly...

As ever, let us know what you thought below.

Best wishes,
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Re: Frances de la Tour's episode

Postby AdrianB38 » Fri Oct 23, 2015 12:05 pm

Hate to say this but I'm afraid I was underwhelmed. In retrospect I'd rather have spent the hour in Lucy Worsley's company on BBC4 (who does their scheduling for goodness sake? )

It wasn't Frances' fault - she came over as a thoughtful "presenter". Rather virtually all the genealogy was known from the start, so there was no thrill of the chase. Now that doesn't matter if the story of the known people is sufficiently gripping or important - such as Anita Rani's episode. But while the lack of freedom for women is an important story, somehow the two subjects didn't seem that gripping. Especially since the first may have been at least partly responsible for her own situation. The second segment was also clumsily directed and / or edited. We seemed to go from Frances receiving the total for the apothecary's bill in the North East to her getting the details and the explanation back in London. Which seems to be a bit over the top especially since she finished up at Seaton Delaval again. And I did think that not explaining why the Hall was in the peculiar state that it was, was actually a bit disrespectful to the place - it was burnt out in the 1800s and acquired a roof but no intermediate floors in the 1900s.

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Re: Frances de la Tour's episode

Postby Jeeps » Fri Oct 23, 2015 2:22 pm

I have to agree with being underwhelmed. I felt the whole programme was disjointed and just plodded along with no continuity whatsoever.

I don't like the format where subjects are merely handed a letter or document to read aloud. At least give an indication where that paper has been held or how it came to be found!

I was so looking forward to this episode and was very disappointed - not with the subject but the way it was produced.
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Re: Frances de la Tour's episode

Postby AntonyM » Fri Oct 23, 2015 3:01 pm

I think a problem WDYTYA have always had, and which is more noticeable in some episodes than others, is the direction of the narrative.

As researchers we understand the need to work backwards, finding new information as we go to make the necessary links, and because the programme is about the discovery process that is the way the story is told.

But most people find a story involving families very much easier to follow if it starts with the earliest ancestor and works forward, it makes much more sense that way. WDYTYA can't really do that in the current format, although here are ways they could probably give it a try without losing the basic theme of the series.

In some episodes that have a clear single thread ( like Anita Rani maybe), it isn't a problem - but this episode had quite a complex set of family relationships over a number of generations and to try and show those links, at many different locations, in a limited time was difficult to achieve.
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Re: Frances de la Tour's episode

Postby KayFarndon » Fri Oct 23, 2015 6:25 pm

Oh dear, if this had been the first in the series then I would have thought twice about watching it at all. I always look forward to the new series, wondering who they will choose for subjects, but I was so bored, it had no gusto to it at all and there will be those who might say this programme has possibly run its course.

I feel it has been dumbed down somewhat, too many repetitions ie: my, however many times grandparents etc, when we already know that, we are watching it unfold and I am wishing they would get on with it. Documentation with no explanation as to where it was found, thereby not helping beginners at family history at all.

There must be a wealth of celebrities with interesting backgrounds and no family history is ordinary, there is generally someone along a line who will be worth learning about.

It might be worth for the producers to look back at the earlier series and go back to what I feel was a tried and trusted format.
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Re: Frances de la Tour's episode

Postby junkers » Fri Oct 23, 2015 7:56 pm

I thought the episode was good, no crying, and went over a few interesting issues like women having to give up what they owned when they got married at least until mid-1850s. On the series I think the issue of work already done (assuming it was done thoroughly and correct!) can be off- putting but if that is what they want to do who are we to say no to that.

I don't understand the issue with 'where was the information found' it is usually clear in the programme and if not try The National Archives, if they don't know how to research subjects then they will I am sure direct you to someone who can.
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Re: Frances de la Tour's episode

Postby meekhcs » Sat Oct 24, 2015 6:36 pm

I, too , was really looking forward to this episode, and did find it one of the more enjoyable ones. However, by and large,the whole series generally has appeared somewhat lacklustre compared to last year.
I understand that in order to find an interesting subject within the Family Tree, and to explore as many facets of Family History as you can, you feel it is sometimes necessary to jump between the male and female lines, but in a couple of cases it has led to a line of study being left in mid air.......and the programs very disjointed.
I hope WDYTYA hasn't run it's course because I for one look forward to each series.

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Re: Frances de la Tour's episode

Postby Gilly72 » Sun Nov 01, 2015 12:27 pm

I am glad (if that's the right word) that a lot of people feel the same as I do about this series and previous ones as well. I think the best were the first seven. I really think WDYTYA should go back and watch the earlier ones and think about going back to how they used to do it. Bill Oddie, for example, the very first one, had me hooked and I can still watch it again and again. It had the pace and the balance just right. He went back many generations and yet the programme still pivoted around the tragic story of one person: his Mum. it was very emotional and fascinating at the same time. Frances de la Tour's episode was one of the better ones of this series, and she does come a cross as likeable and intelligent (I used to love Rising Damp). However, the pace is slow and repetitive, and I have to admit I got a little bored, but I don't think that was the fault of Frances or even the story. As has been said, it lacks the 'gusto' it used to have.
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Re: Frances de la Tour's episode

Postby pete25 » Wed Nov 18, 2015 4:20 am

I stopped watching...need to show us where and how records were accessed.

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