The long-awaited 2021 series of Who Do You Think You Are? has been announced – with a celebrity line-up including Dame Judi Dench and Ed Balls.


Series 18 of the two-time BAFTA winning programme is due to start broadcasting on BBC One in October.

Executive producer Colette Flight said: “Who Do You Think You Are? is back with another line-up of Britain’s best-loved celebrities exploring their family histories across the UK, Ireland, Denmark and Jamaica.

“The incredible personal stories they unearth of their ancestors’ lives - from royal love triangles to labourers fighting for their rights, from Victorian child sweeps to battling fascists in London’s East end – reflect and illuminate all our collective history.”

Oscar-winning actor and national treasure Dame Judi Dench will begin her episode of the programme by uncovering her father Reginald’s experiences in the First World War, before continuing her family history journey in Denmark – and discovering a link to William Shakespeare.

In other episodes of the programme, former shadow chancellor Ed Balls traces an ancestor who worked as a ship’s surgeon and another who lived through the agricultural depression of the 1820s; footballer Alex Scott discovers that her great grandfather faced down fascism in the East End in the 1930s before travelling to Jamaica to research her mother’s side of the family tree; and comedian Josh Widdicombe traces his ancestry back to Tudor nobility.

Read on to discover more about the complete celebrity line-up for Who Do You Think You Are? 2021, and what you can expect from each episode…

Who is on Who Do You Think You Are? 2021?

Josh Widdicombe

Josh Widdicombe Who Do You Think You Are?
Ferdaus Shamim/WireImage

Comedian Josh Widdicombe is best known for co-hosting Channel 4’s The Last Leg. He won the first series of Taskmaster in 2015.

Episode topics: Banking, the Civil War, Tudor royalty

Dame Judi Dench

Judi Dench Who Do You Think You Are?
Juan Naharro Gimenez/WireImage

National treasure Dame Judi Dench is one of Britain’s best-loved actresses, with eight decades of acting on stage and screen and accolades including one Oscar win and six nominations.

Episode topics: First World War, Denmark

Alex Scott

Alex Scott Who Do You Think You Are?
Joe Maher/Getty Images for Bauer Media

Alex Scott is a former professional footballer who played for the England women’s national football team. She is now a football pundit for BBC Sport and Sky Sports.

Episode topics: Jewish East End, Jamaica

Joe Lycett

Joe Lycett Who Do You Think You Are?
Tom Van Schelven/Comic Relief/Getty Images

Joe Lycett is a comedian and TV presenter. He’s best known for standing up for consumer rights on Channel 4 show Joe Lycett’s Got Your Back.

Episode topics: Royal Navy, chimney sweeps

Pixie Lott

Pixie Lott Who Do You Think You Are?
David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images for Just Eat

Singer-songwriter Pixie Lott has released three albums, spawning six Top 10 singles. She was also a contestant on the 2014 series of Strictly Come Dancing.

Episode topics: Military musicians, London Irish, First World War PoWs

Joe Sugg

Joe Sugg Who Do You Think You Are?
Tom Van Schelven/Comic Relief/Getty Images

Joe Sugg is the YouTuber behind the hit channel ThatcherJoe, and was also a finalist on the 2018 series of Strictly Come Dancing.

Episode topics: Jersey, Huguenots, Great Fire of London

Ed Balls

Ed Balls Who Do You Think You Are?
Jeff Spicer/Getty Images

Ed Balls served as a Labour MP from 2005 to 2015 and as shadow chancellor from 2011 to 2015.

Episode topics: Ships surgeons, workhouse employees, Norwich, agricultural protests


Rosemary Collins is the staff writer of Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine