The Radio Times logo

Who Do You Think You Are?

  • 2017
  • Season 13
  • 10 episodes
  • History

Summary

Celebrities trace their ancestry, discovering secrets and surprises from their past.

Advertisement

Episode 6: Ian McKellen

Summary

As the `last of the McKellens', award-winning actor and civil rights champion Ian McKellen admits to a degree of melancholy as delves into his family history, but the results pay off greatly. On his journey back through his family history, he discovers one of his ancestors was a Victorian political activist, and another relative was linked to the theatre. Finally, Ian learns that previous generations of his family have a surprising link to an ancient druidical landmark in the Lake District.

Review

A star rating of 4 out of 5.

There’s a sweet moment in Sir Ian McKellen’s voyage through his family when he acts out a scene from a melodramatic play that his ancestor appeared in on the Bolton stage of the 1870s. Because, yes, Sir Ian is delighted to discover a thespian he never knew about in his family tree (“An actor? Oh stop it!” he cries, seeing the census entry) and the first half of the programme touchingly charts the progress of his great-great-uncle Frank Lowes’ career through passing mentions in playbills and newspaper reviews.

Behind the revelations there must have been – as usual on this series – formidable archive research to unearth the traces Frank’s work left behind. McKellen revels in the story – as he does when he finds another ancestor who was a campaigner for workers’ rights, and who set Britain on the road to something we now take for granted, the weekend.

How to watch

Next showing

There are no live broadcasts scheduled for this show. But it is available via the streaming provider below.

Streaming

Details

Formats
Colour

Credits

Cast

rolename
PresenterIan McKellen

Crew

rolename
DirectorLeo Burley
Series producerSarah Feltes

All episodes

  • Episode 6

    Ian McKellen

    Summary

    As the `last of the McKellens', award-winning actor and civil rights champion Ian McKellen admits to a degree of melancholy as delves into his family history, but the results pay off greatly. On his journey back through his family history, he discovers one of his ancestors was a Victorian political activist, and another relative was linked to the theatre. Finally, Ian learns that previous generations of his family have a surprising link to an ancient druidical landmark in the Lake District.

    Review

    A star rating of 4 out of 5.

    There’s a sweet moment in Sir Ian McKellen’s voyage through his family when he acts out a scene from a melodramatic play that his ancestor appeared in on the Bolton stage of the 1870s. Because, yes, Sir Ian is delighted to discover a thespian he never knew about in his family tree (“An actor? Oh stop it!” he cries, seeing the census entry) and the first half of the programme touchingly charts the progress of his great-great-uncle Frank Lowes’ career through passing mentions in playbills and newspaper reviews.

    Behind the revelations there must have been – as usual on this series – formidable archive research to unearth the traces Frank’s work left behind. McKellen revels in the story – as he does when he finds another ancestor who was a campaigner for workers’ rights, and who set Britain on the road to something we now take for granted, the weekend.

    How to watch

    Next showing

    There are no live broadcasts scheduled for this show. But it is available via the streaming provider below.

    Streaming

    Details

    Formats
    Colour

    Credits

    Cast

    rolename
    PresenterIan McKellen

    Crew

    rolename
    DirectorLeo Burley
    Series producerSarah Feltes

News & features about Who Do You Think You Are?

Advertisement

RadioTimes.com is getting better. Fresh new look, redesigned programme hub, richer content…

FIND OUT MORE
Advertisement

Sponsored content