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Alan Cumming

Discuss last year's series of Who Do You Think You Are?, which featured Bruce Forsyth, Dervla Kirwan, Monty Don and six more famous faces as they traced their family trees

Alan Cumming

Postby Matt Elton » Mon Sep 13, 2010 3:36 pm

The Scottish actor rounds out this year's series of Who Do You Think You Are? with an episode uncovering some tragic family secrets. Come back here after the show has aired to share your views – and don't forget to catch the unseen footage on our website!
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Re: Alan Cumming

Postby FamilyHistoryAddict » Mon Sep 13, 2010 9:20 pm

A great story because it was a Skeleton in the Cupboard. As soon as I heard that that Tom Darling had died accidentally with a gun, I said to my hubby, "I bet he killed himself," and I turned out to be right. If you are a soldier or a policeman you are pretty familiar with guns and I shouldn't think many soldiers or policemen die accidentally misusing or cleaning them.

Combat stress had obviously given Tom Darling a Death Wish, and when I saw that he and his wife were separated that told me he hadn't been able to return successfully to civilian life.

The bit about Russian Roulette reminded me of Christopher Walken in the film The Deer Hunter.

I felt sorry for Alan Cumming - that was powerful stuff for him to discover on camera and the scene where he is reading that his Grandma couldn't afford the £4 carriage fee was heart-wrenching.

Excellent programme to end the series because you won't forget that story in a hurry!

Cheers, FHA
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Re: Alan Cumming

Postby ksouthall » Mon Sep 13, 2010 10:12 pm

This was a very interesting programme. I am glad Alan Cumming learnt what a brave and well respected man his grandfather was. The interview with his grandfather's fellow soldier, David Murray, was very moving, particularly when he said he genuinely respected Tom Darling.

The programme even held the attention of my children - not that they should be up that late - which is a first as they are not yet particularly interested in family history.

Although he had a short life, Tom Darling achieved a lot and saw and experienced so much. Perhaps he did have a death wish, or maybe he also felt that he had survived such horrors in the war that his luck would continue. Ironic, really, as Alan Cumming's catchphrase in "GoldenEye" was "I am invincible!"
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Re: Alan Cumming

Postby Jeeps » Mon Sep 13, 2010 11:10 pm

Oh it was brilliant imho! Alan Cumming dealt with the information so sensitively and although it was only about his grandfather rather than an extended tree, I really enjoyed the whole show. How wonderful to find people who actually knew his grandfather (the soldier David was an amazing man) and even more wonderful to find the Walk and play area named after him. A lovely tribute to a man who clearly had to live his life on the edge.

Fascinating to see the paperwork at the end too. I thought the letter telling Granny of his death was very well written and so nice that she was spared the details. Hers in response was particularly poignant and as for not being able to pay the £4, that's the price of a magazine or cup of coffee these days; how times have changed.

More please BBC!
~~Jeeps~~
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Re: Alan Cumming

Postby clara » Tue Sep 14, 2010 11:35 am

Loved this one
It had me crying
My favourite one yet

I just hope his Mother was ok with it
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Re: Alan Cumming

Postby stevekc » Tue Sep 14, 2010 11:46 am

Either the post mortem report is inaccurate or there is more to this than meets the eye.

To shoot yourself 3 inches behind your right ear would be difficult to say the least, and no powder burns???
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Re: Alan Cumming

Postby FamilyHistoryAddict » Tue Sep 14, 2010 11:58 am

See this website. The powder burns would depend on the size and type of gun.

http://blogs.howstuffworks.com/2009/08/ ... hen-fired/

Cheers, FHA
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Re: Alan Cumming

Postby callbrian » Tue Sep 14, 2010 3:17 pm

Hi.
I definitely agree with most of the comments and I think they saved the best until last. The interview with David Murray was very moving.
I just cannot believe the series has finished. Where have the nine weeks gone?
Brian
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Re: Alan Cumming

Postby lesley.mazey » Fri Sep 17, 2010 11:44 am

Like many people, when Alan Cumming discovered his grandfather had "accidentally" shot himself I immediately thought "suicide". But although i guess this is technically correct the true story was much more shocking.

It was good to explore the life of a man who prompted discussions in my family about PTSD and the horrors of war and helped me understand better about the many soldiers who were executed for "cowardice" when they had probably been to hell and back.

Alan again proved to be a very gentle man and I do not envy him the job of explaining to his mum what really happened. I guess the respect shown to his grandfather's memory in Malaysia could only have helped a little bit to sooth the pain.

A rivetting episode!

Lesley.
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Re: Alan Cumming

Postby ksouthall » Fri Sep 17, 2010 4:40 pm

stevekc wrote:Either the post mortem report is inaccurate or there is more to this than meets the eye.

To shoot yourself 3 inches behind your right ear would be difficult to say the least, and no powder burns???


Perhaps someone else was holding the gun, in which case it would have been reported that Thomas was holding it to avoid someone else being charged with murder.

Alternatively, Thomas must have either been turning his head towards the gun or holding the gun upside down in order to shoot himself 3 inches from his right ear.

I have an inquest report for my 1st cousin thrice removed who "accidentally" shot himself. It is quite shocking reading so it must have been even worse for Alan Cumming reading his grandfather's post mortem report, especially in front of the cameras.
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