Celebrities ranging from Gold medal winning Paralympian Jonnie Peacock to TV personality and barrister Judge Rinder will appear in the new series. Other celebrities confirmed to feature in series 15 include Olivia Colman, Lee Mack, Boy George, Marvin Humes, and Michelle Keegan, whose family history and links to the Suffragettes were explored in the show’s first episode.
The Paralympic sprint champion discovers why his sport maternal grandfather’s budding footballing career came to an abrupt halt in the dockside slums of Liverpool, and learns about four-times-great-grandmother revolutionary spirit.
What happened in Robert Rinder’s episode?
Robert Rinder (BBC)
Robert Rinder (aka Judge Rinder, criminal law barrister and TV personality) learns about his grandfather Morris, a Holocaust survivor who never discussed his experience in depth with his grandson.
An emotional Rinder also delves into the history of his maternal great-grandfather, who died in a London mental hospital.
What happened in Marvin Humes’ episode?
Who Do You Think You Are? Marvin Humes (BBC, EH)
Former JLS band member Humes traced his roots in England and Jamaica, where he learned that his four-times great-grandfather owned two slaves, despite his own parents having once been slaves themselves.
Strictly Come Dancing judge Shirley Ballas’ investigations take her to South Africa, where she hopes to learn something about her paternal great-grandfather.
Shirley Ballas goes back to her childhood and much further (BBC)
What happened in Boy George’s episode?
Boy George (BBC)
“It’s like a really sad song,” Boy George says of a particularly heart-rending chapter of his family’s life. “Like a traditional [Irish] lament.”
In the episode, George has just left the so-called hang house at Dublin’s Mountjoy Prison, where his great-uncle Thomas Bryan was executed having been convicted as an IRA volunteer. George also delves into the history of his maternal grandmother, which yields happier results.
What happened in Lee Mack’s episode?
Lee Mack (BBC)
Lee Mack looks into his paternal great-grandfather William McKillop, whose stage name was Billy Mac. A variety-show comedian after the First Battle of the Somme.
What happened in Olivia Colman’s episode?
Olivia Colman (BBC)
The series will take Colman on a journey to a remote part of India, where she will learn her great-great-great-grandmother Harriot’s story.
Told that Harriot was born in the city of Kishanganj in north-eastern India, a thrilled Colman whoops with joy. “My great-great-great-grandmother is Indian! This is so exciting! I’m much more interesting than I thought I was.”
Following her family tree, the show initially takes Keegan to Gibraltar where her great-grandmother was born. Then, after learning of her great-grandmother’s evacuation to London in the Second World War, she travels back to the UK and Manchester, where she unearths her connection to the suffragettes.
A BBC1 clip shows Keegan faced with her great grandmother’s birth certificate. She appears relieved to avoid yet another certificate of a family death as she reads the signature of Emmeline Pankhurst. As well as being one of the leaders of the suffragette movement, Pankhurst was also the registrar of the Chiltern upon Medlock district, where Keegan’s grandmother lived.