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Sheridan Smith's episode

Discuss the brand new series of Who Do You Think You Are? featuring the likes of Julie Walters, Brian Blessed and Billy Connolly

Re: Sheridan Smith's episode

Postby GenealGenie » Fri Sep 05, 2014 7:46 pm

Sheridan Smith's episode was touching and absorbing - up to the point where I realized this episode too was going to circle endlessly round one topic, leaving as others have pointed out, many intriguing loose ends unanswered. It was a story floating like an orphan in a void. What about at least telling us the tale between Sheridan and Mr Doubleday? As Isobel pointed out there will be many non-celebs with stories that are far richer and more interesting. The worst of it was that I felt it got very repetitive; this was underlined by repeatedly showing us the photo of the banjo trio. I got to the point where I felt if it was shown one more time I would scream. All the secondary-to-the-story footage was just padding for what should have been a much shorter programme. I can only conclude that the BBC has seriously cut the budget for this series and I feel very short changed by the series so far, having looked forward to it enormously. I am generally glued to it but not this series.
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Re: Sheridan Smith's episode

Postby Dickon » Fri Sep 05, 2014 7:52 pm

I'm afraid I'm one of those who hates the new format. This used to be my favourite program but it's rapidly losing me completely. Its supposed to be about genealogy and playing detective back through the years to get a picture of everyone who contributed to making the subject, but now its just so much celebrity fluff. As others have mentioned, the banjo playing and ice cream making are more Blue Peter than WDYTYA. This series is awful.
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Re: Sheridan Smith's episode

Postby junkers » Fri Sep 05, 2014 9:58 pm

I agree with most of what has been said, I feel that the programme had run out of material even though there is plenty on ancestry including those for the West Yorkshire prisons, which I can't remember being shown. There is an interesting article in the Daily Telegraph suggesting that the programme is trying to link the celebrity with something their ancestor did and it certainly has that sort of ring to it. Whilst the celebrity might want to just learn about one ancestor, given the choice would you not want to know about another?. A good programme as far as it went.
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Re: Sheridan Smith's episode

Postby AdrianB38 » Fri Sep 05, 2014 10:17 pm

Dickon wrote:... Its supposed to be about genealogy and playing detective back through the years to get a picture of everyone who contributed to making the subject ...


Some people seem to be convinced that WDYTYA is an instruction program for genealogy or is supposed to document all somebody's ancestors. I've never seen it written down what the program is supposed to do. If Sheridan Smith was paying a professional genealogist to document her ancestors, then the coverage should be all the ancestors - but that's not what's happening. Seems to me that the idea of the programme is to tell a story to the audience and the scope of that story will be dictated by what's interesting, not by some (erroneous) view that all ancestral DNA contributes to the subject's life (most is lost).

For me, this was a good story that gained its impact from the close relationship between her GG GF's life in music and Sheridan's own musical life. Who Did She Think She Was? Someone with a passion for music - I think we saw that and how it was reflected in her GG GF's life.

I'm fairly certain that WDYTYA has always concentrated on certain branches - Jeremy Clarkson was, if I recall, not remotely interested in his boring Clarkson ancestors but very interested in one single branch of his mother's ancestors who invented the Kilner jar. Further, on some occasions when several branches have been covered, it's felt an arbitrary selection. For instance, I remember Fiona Bruce's story, which I was looking forward to as we share the same surname. However, after an interesting WW1 story, the Bruce part felt an add-on that was really not that unusual and was just there to make up the numbers. (Warning - it is years since I saw the episode).
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Re: Sheridan Smith's episode

Postby phsvm » Sat Sep 06, 2014 8:44 am

I stick by what I said earlier - that this was a good episode - but I do agree that it did have what could be considered 'padding'. However at least the 'padding' was relevent, unlike the Gary Lineaker episode which spent far too much time showing him in the Match of the Day studio which had no relevence to his ancestors. It does make you wonder if the makers bother to read any of the comments on this forum. If they did they should perhaps have taken notice of the comments about irrelevance in his episode and tried to steer away from it in this series!

Having talked a great length to one of the celebs from a previous series they had no idea about this forum and were very interested to hear about the support for them that had been expressed here. They had found the whole experince quie difficult and at times upsetting. They said had they known of the support they had here they would have been very touched.

By the way, Colin B, reports suggest that Mary Berry's episode traces a baker in her ancestors so I think we can guess where that one's going!
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Re: Sheridan Smith's episode

Postby Markymoomoo » Fri Sep 26, 2014 4:00 pm

A good episode that I found intriguing - love a Banjo - and Sheridan definitely has a new fan... ;)
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