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Share your thoughts on the most recent series of the show, which features the likes of Sarah Millican, Nick Hewer and Gary Lineker
Thu Aug 22, 2013 6:29 pm
l'm not certain what people expect from WDYTYA? It is a television series, it should surely be entertaining as well as informative. In this series we have seen a wider selection of research, the workhouse, law writers and the stationers guild are areas that have impressed.
Surely it would be terribly boring just pawing through reams and reams of census information.
I'm certain we will see a lot more tears in future programmes, if that is what is required to make it a 'watchable' episode.
Thu Aug 22, 2013 7:31 pm
Brummie on Exmoor wrote:... Why wait so long into the programme before making the point that this was about James feeding himself and his family. And the view of snow-covered fields should have been used to underline the point that poached rabbits or game birds may well have been all that stood between the family and starvation. ... This point should have been SHOUTED, underlined in red three times. It was the critical point - James probably had no choice....
No. This is a FamilyHistory program, not a political commentary. The point about necessity was made, should have been made, and was well made. But actually - I heard it
. I do not need it hammered into my consciousness three times, because I can
listen and think for myself.
The problem with moralising about the past is twofold. Firstly, what about those families who were as badly off and did not
resort to poaching?
Secondly, if we moralise rather than simply state the facts, we open ourselves to criticism from people in the future. How many contemporary platitudes have I read about the Irish Famine that sicken me now? Our current moralising will be a target for future generations who will criticise us for... oh, take your pick... Not being vegetarian? Keeping computers as pets? Frankly I'd rather simply write the facts down, then someone in the future might not automatically dismiss me.
Keeping your own personal opinions out of your historical accounts is a valuable skill that few of us learn.
Thu Aug 22, 2013 10:05 pm
I thought that the programme was good, not great, but good. I was put off by the fact that the genealogist had done a lot of work beforehand and that was a let down. Perhaps we expect too much from the programme as we know how to research our families and it is an entertainment programme after all. I thought someone might have helped Gary with the indictment records, they are difficult to read and to find.
I agree about modern-day views and that it was a matter in some cases of survival, we may not approve but we may understand.
Fri Aug 23, 2013 2:56 pm
Lineker's episode reminded me of Patrick Stewart's episode: it was clearly designed to tell a particular story that produced some variety from the other episodes. In this case, the story was of two boys born poor, one of whom had an opportunity to escape poverty and one of whom didn't, and how they lived their lives.
The giggling at someone called Pratt also reminded me of the worst aspects of Top Gear, but let's not go there.
Overall, it wasn't the best episode ever, but in the context of the series, it succeeded in providing the needed variety.
Fri Aug 23, 2013 3:17 pm
Has this series got a new producer? This episode was not very good. The information was sound enough but we felt that it was being dragged out to make it expand into the time allotted. The "thrill of the chase", the oohs! and ahs! of information being unearthed, just wasn't there. Whilst the narrator spoke beautifully, the narration was very slow and deliberate, it restated too many facts. Is this series intended for adults or was it first screened on CBBC? We felt that we were listening to an infants school teacher giving instructions to her class.
I didn't mind whether a researcher was used, some of the jokes were not very funny but so be it, that wasn't the end of the world, but I do think that the sparkle and feeling of "being on a journey" is missing from this series.
Fri Aug 23, 2013 6:29 pm
Thank you "Brummieonexmoor", I have a lot of Christmas day marriages in my tree and being naïve just thought it was romantic. I have a lot to learn about research, which is why I read the forum because I pick up little tips which sometimes strike a chord like this one. I still have some of the episodes on Sky plus - just need a few more hours in the day to watch them!
Sun Aug 25, 2013 2:14 pm
I enjoyed this episode and, as a few other people have said, I felt that it covered some areas that haven't been done before.
I didn't have any problem with the genealogist presenting the family tree at the beginning. Usually the initial steps of parents and grandparents are covered by a visit to a cousin or an elderly relative who has some photos or old documents or can fill in the details, but it's possible that either Gary doesn't have anyone in his family who knew this sort of information, or that they didn't want to be seen on camera. So the only way to get past the research on the first few generations and get quickly to the more interesting stories was to have someone present the information to him.
There have been complaints that there has been too much concentration on 20th century ancestors in recent episodes/series, and obviously both of the stories that Gary looked at were from several generations back, so it would not therefore have been that interesting or relevant to just watch him plough through the census and bmd certificates until he got back to the "meaty" tales.
Yes, there may have been a bit of padding with the Match of the Day stuff and looking at his house (although actually I was fascinated by the rabbit-warren of staircases and the evidence of old decor) but it sort of emphasised the differences between his life and the lives of his ancestors, especially the Pratts, and also made his jokiness more understandable as being part of his character.
All in all I thought it was quite an interesting episode - and one bonus for me was that a relative of mine was a kitchen maid at Christ's Hospital School in 1911, so it was nice to see the buildings and grounds!
Wed Aug 28, 2013 5:24 pm
I think that the Gary Lineker WDYTYA? episode has seen the most controversial comments of any of the trees featured. Like others I feel the programme is losing its way.
The original concept of the programme was tracing the ancestry of celebrities, showing how to do this, the resources available and along the way uncovering fascinating items. This series has not been doing that and for those who have no idea of even how to begin, it must have been most frustrating to see Gary Lineker's ready made tree appear.
The programme has always had a certain amount of padding and this was a well padded one!
It would be a shame for the series to finish, so how about using 'ordinary' people and discovering the hidden celebrity within their tree? I have one in mine, plus unanswered questions which I can't solve myself and I am sure there are many family trees which would make interesting viewing.
Family history programmes will always draw an audience, but getting back to basics would be a good idea and much appreciated by those just beginning to trace their family history. I would certainly have like help when I began 15 years ago!
Wed Aug 28, 2013 7:17 pm
KayFarndon wrote:The original concept of the programme was tracing the ancestry of celebrities, showing how to do this, the resources available and along the way uncovering fascinating items.
It's not done that since the first series when there was a 5 minute coda with a usually awkward Adrian Chiles and that week's resident expert. WDYTYA is not, and never has been, a genealogy-teach-in program. It depends on the stories that are uncovered, stories that have to be gripping to succeed. Sometimes the story is about the celebrity and the "journey" they go through (e.g. Bill Oddy, Patrick Stewart), sometimes the story is about the relatives from long ago. If it were a methodology program, with interesting items "along the way" simply as a by-product, it would never have got beyond the pilot.
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