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Christopher Ecclestone

A place to chat about the 16th series of the genealogy programme, which will feature stories from Kate Winslet, Daniel Radcliffe, Sharon Osbourne and more.

Christopher Ecclestone

Postby junkers » Tue Oct 01, 2019 3:51 pm

It has been reported (Daily Mail) that he was going to be in the series but after researchers found he was from a working-class background he was dropped by the BBC. Deja-vu per Michael Parkinson, we wouldn't like to think that the elitist, we don't all want stories linking people to royalty.
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Re: Christopher Ecclestone

Postby JaneyH » Tue Oct 01, 2019 5:24 pm

I think the problem here is that as family historians we think pretty much every story is interesting. However, the TV programme is ‘entertainment’ for a much broader section of society. It therefore has to tick what the producers deem to be the right boxes in making each episode ‘interesting’.

I guess there’s a balance to be struck between how big a draw a particular celebrity is and how interesting their story is.

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Re: Christopher Ecclestone

Postby AdrianB38 » Tue Oct 01, 2019 6:31 pm

Dropped because he had a working class background??? Are you implying that people with a working class background have never appeared on WDYTYA? Danny Dyer? As I recollect his descent from Royalty was via a very working class background. Sue Johnston? Ricky Tomlinson?

What Christopher Eccleston actually said was (paraphrasing) that his ancestry was working class, none of them got out of it and no one had an interesting story.

Yes our working class ancestors were hugely important - there wouldn't be any industry and trade without them. That doesn't mean that every working class individual has an interesting story. Indeed, most of them won't even have a story beyond family names, an address and an occupation every ten years. You really can't make an interesting program by reciting a list of names and occupations. (History is littered with failed genealogy programs)

If someone is going to tell the story of the working classes who weren't union activists, soldiers at Gallipoli, working class magistrates, etc, then it simply can't be done by listing a few names - you need to work at a broader level. Maybe like A House Through Time, both series of which have run up and down the social scale.

Incidentally, as far as Michael Parkinson goes, the researcher on that felt so guilty about failing to find enough of interest, that he kept plugging away at the job on his own and eventually found one chap of interest in the extended family, who he wrote up for WDYTYA? Magazine - although I suspect it would have made all of 10m on the screen.

Interest for the general viewing audience is the starting point. Always.

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Re: Christopher Ecclestone

Postby ksouthall » Mon Oct 07, 2019 12:11 am

junkers wrote:It has been reported (Daily Mail)...

Of course, The Daily Mail never lies or distorts the facts, does it?

And we all know what a love the Mail on Sunday has of family history which is why it publishes private letters without the consent of the letter writer...
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Re: Christopher Ecclestone

Postby MysticDave » Sat Oct 12, 2019 5:52 pm

Adrian is right. It is also usually the case that their homes and workplaces have been massively altered or knocked down. There is also usually no surprise either (having had an Alistair McGowan moment myself).

It is also true that it depends on the subject’s celebrity - Lineker was probably the most desperate one.
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