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Questions about how WDYTYA is made

Recently watched a repeat and discovered something new? Have a query about how the show is made? This is the place to have your say

Re: Questions about how WDYTYA is made

Postby ksouthall » Wed Jul 14, 2010 2:11 am

Tilliduff wrote:I'm not an enthusiast of the celebrity culture and I actually did not watch the first two or three series because of the celebrity thing. I want genealogy. Of course once I did start to watch I was hooked, but certainly not because of the celebrities.

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Re: Questions about how WDYTYA is made

Postby debsstock » Thu Jul 15, 2010 11:35 am

I think the reason for the decision that shows about "ordinary people" would not be so successful has to do with tv ratings. The tv companies are in the business of making money as well as providing information and entertainment, and they want to achieve the biggest audiences possible, as well as make the shows attractive for overseas networks to purchase. There have been some shows based around normal folk - "So you think you're royal" springs to mind - but I bet they wouldn't have brought in the same number of viewers in total, even if they were on prime-time BBC1.

I imagine that producers take a calculated guess that most people who are interested in family history are likely to tune in no matter who the subject is, whereas having a celebrity on board will probably pull in some non-genealogist viewers as well - I certainly know people who have watched episodes because they like the person, even though they don't do family history.

There is the added bonus for the producers that most celebrities will know how to work around cameras, directors etc, so won't take as much hand-holding in actually filming the show as "ordinary" people would, and they're likely to be less nervous and more natural when speaking to camera or being interviewed.

And when you come down to it, the majority of celebrities start out as "ordinary" folk, with ordinary parents and siblings, and only become famous later in their lives. The stories of their ancestors are just as interesting as the stories of anybody elses ancestors, and we can all learn a bit about sources and methods and history from watching these stories, whether the starting person is a celebrity or not.

I should hasten to add that I have nothing to do with WDYTYA or indeed any tv programme or company - I've just watched enough tv to know that "celebrity sells", and in the media business that's an important factor!

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Re: Questions about how WDYTYA is made

Postby jac9857 » Wed Aug 24, 2011 9:45 pm

When you see a celebrity type in a name to reearch on a computer website I would like to know what website it is because it doesn't look like or FindMyPast.


PS 25 Aug 2011
I have answered my own question by watching Seb Coe on BBC iPlayer and pausing on the image. He IS using!
Last edited by jac9857 on Thu Aug 25, 2011 4:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Questions about how WDYTYA is made

Postby Guy » Thu Aug 25, 2011 6:11 am

Back in February 2000 there was a series of 6 programmes called Blood Ties, presented by Martha Kearney with Dr. Nick Barratt doing the research.
It was very similar to WDYTYA but about ordinary people.
Unfortunately the last program of the series was dropped and a new series was not re-made.
That shows how popular such non-celeb shows are.
As we have gained from the past, we owe the future a debt, which we pay by sharing today.
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Re: Questions about how WDYTYA is made

Postby Millst » Thu Sep 13, 2012 10:54 pm

In the winter I did a course on writing up family history. This involved writing pieces about our ancestors which were read by all the course members. I found it fascinating to read about other people's families which were all so different. Also in these forums, people avidly contribute to helping people sort out family history problems and the magazine is brought alive by the stories of ordinary people's families. So why would viewers not want to watch programmes about ordinary people's family history?

I agree it is great to watch the programmes about celebrities, finding out so much more about them and seeing their reactions to the revelations on the programmes. Seeing Boris momentarily speechless when taken to his royal ancestor's enormous palace was priceless.

I agree with the person who said that the social history aspect is important. Getting to know more about how our ancestor's lived, the numerous occupations and the ways of life which have long since disappeared can only add to our heritage.
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Re: Questions about how WDYTYA is made

Postby Tabithabenef » Thu Sep 20, 2012 2:09 pm

Personally I would be interested in finding out about ordinary people & their research - as long as they can present a programme - I saw one once on Yesterday & the person just droned on & on & was so dull.

I am sure their research was good - but I just could not listen to them for very long & they were so pompous - as if no one else could do that kind of thing or have people in the family who did this kind of work. We all do that but keep it to ourselves.

I think thats what would stop me from watching "Normal" people on the shows - its like some of the articles in the magazine - some are good reading - others are dull & "look at what i have found syndrome" -

I am sure no one would be interested in any of my family as they were just ordinary people with nothing exceptional to report - I am just interested in them & the variety of work they did & places they lived let alone the variety of different names. No one would want me to do a programme.

Thats why I love hearing about the celebs - but dont like it when they just concentrate on 1 or 2 people only & no real research details - or they just stick to very recent history - also WW1 has been done so many times - can we have something different PLEASE

I would like to hear more about where to look for things and more about free places for research
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Re: Questions about how WDYTYA is made

Postby nhaveryhistory » Sun Feb 23, 2014 12:46 pm

How about having non celebrities on the show, someone like myself who has been doing it for awhile would love to see someone who is not famous

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