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Who Do You Think You Are - Whitehalls

Posted: 09 Aug 2019 20:30
by amuse
Didn't know where to postulate this, but it has been nagging at me ever since I watched the programme on Monday.

Granted that not all family rumours are true or accurate, but usually I find there is a grain of truth that has been stretched to make the person more important or to cover up a misdeed.

The Whitehall's ancestor was supposed to have died in a 'pony and trap acccident' whereas the horrible truth was a death from a sexually transmitted disease.

Has anyone else jumped to the possible theory that the 'pony and trap' was rhyming slang for clap?

OK there didn't appear to be a cockney connection, but euphamisms and rhyming slang abound around the world - my Australian friends freely use 'German Dancer' as a substitute for cancer.

Sorry! Just living up to my pseudonym of A.Muse

Re: Who Do You Think You Are - Whitehalls

Posted: 09 Aug 2019 21:41
by Gowermick
Haha, my thoughts were the same when I saw the programme. Rhyming slang does have its uses :D

Re: Who Do You Think You Are - Whitehalls

Posted: 10 Aug 2019 08:21
by gwilym'smum
That is really interesting, not being from "down south" I hadn't thought of that.

What I did notice was that when a relative supposedly presents a certificate, which was presumably in their possession, it had been purchased around the time the programme was made.
Ann

Re: Who Do You Think You Are - Whitehalls

Posted: 10 Aug 2019 11:01
by Gowermick
Ann,
They never let the truth stand in the way of a good story. They regard us as gullible numpty’s most of the time :D
It does pay to read any documents you can see though, that is how I found out one of Len Goodman’s ancestors was sister to one of my direct ancestors. I spotted a familiar name and address on one of the certificates being looked at!

Re: Who Do You Think You Are - Whitehalls

Posted: 10 Aug 2019 16:15
by gwilym'smum
Mike
That was a good spot.
Like you say it is all about a good story but it then makes it a story and reality becomes hidden. I have started to like A House Through Time much better.

Re: Who Do You Think You Are - Whitehalls

Posted: 10 Aug 2019 16:54
by Gowermick
That programme suffers the same. They see children missing from home on a census, living with grandparents, and assume they have taken over caring for the children. They can't see that as it is a snapshot for one night, the children may be just visiting their nanny and granddad!

Re: Who Do You Think You Are - Whitehalls

Posted: 11 Aug 2019 07:04
by gwilym'smum
Mike
We will have to make a new programme "No assumptions Made" :D

Re: Who Do You Think You Are - Whitehalls

Posted: 11 Aug 2019 09:09
by mjashby
Then, of course, there is the list of 'celebrities' whose WDYTYA programmes were abandoned because their ancestors were, after some initial research, considered to be too ordinary, boring and unworthy to justify a TV programme including:

- Eamon Holmes
- Michael Parkinson
- Cherie Blair
- Stephen Mangan

This perhaps reflects the fact that the programme makers have no interest whatsoever in explaining genuine approaches to family history research; and maximum interest in sloppy and lazy attempts to cash in on celebrity.

Mervyn

Re: Who Do You Think You Are - Whitehalls

Posted: 11 Aug 2019 09:27
by ColeValleyGirl
WDYTYA is not a genealogy programme -- strange as it may seem to those of us who research Family History as a hobby, there is not an audience for programmes showing the (to most people, tedious) process of research. (It might have started off showing a little more of the process, but I suspect that audience research disabused them rapidly of the notion that that was a long-term recipe for success).

It's a "here are some family stories that might interest or entertain the general public, hung on the hook of a celebrity looking into their family tree". And boring stories about ag labs who didn't murder anyone, catch some nasty disease or participate in a major historical moment are never going to make the cut.

Re: Who Do You Think You Are - Whitehalls

Posted: 11 Aug 2019 14:50
by MarkB
Plenty of ag labs in my family, I'll never make it on to TV!
But where would we be without our ag labs?

Re: Who Do You Think You Are - Whitehalls

Posted: 11 Aug 2019 15:25
by AdrianBruce
ColeValleyGirl wrote:... It might have started off showing a little more of the process, but I suspect that audience research disabused them rapidly of the notion that that was a long-term recipe for success. ...
It did - 5 minutes at the end of Adrian Chiles doing his everyman schtick and looking even more bored than usual. (That's not meant to be an insult to Mr. Chiles - no-one called Adrian can be all bad...)

As I recollect the programme makers said that there had been several attempts at genealogy programmes before - all had sunk without trace until these guys hit the winning formula of the star as a hook and social history, rather than family history.

I only really start muttering into my beard when the relatives or experts come up with (newly printed) certificates, when they've obviously been planted on them by the makers - just an initial little phrase like "Here's something you need to see..." would help to explain where they've come from. Though actually I think they've improved on that aspect a bit.

Re: Who Do You Think You Are - Whitehalls

Posted: 11 Aug 2019 18:28
by SunnyLady
I have a vague memory of the first series having an add on programme with Nick Barrett, not on BBC1, showing ordinary mortals how to do their family history...