The Radio Times logo

Jodie Whittaker says Who Do You Think You Are? was an "emotional rollercoaster"

The Doctor Who star has said she "had no idea" that her dad's uncle had fought in World War I.

Who Do You Think You Are
Published: Tuesday, 6th October 2020 at 12:01 am

Star of Doctor Who Jodie Whittaker has opened up about her experience on BBC One's Who Do You Think You Are?, revealing she went on an "emotional rollercoaster" whilst learning about her dad's side of the family.


The 38-year-old actress said ahead of tonight's episode that she discovered the military history of her dad's uncle whilst on the show.

"We follow my grandma Greta, who's my dad's mum, and she is the youngest of nine, and has been named after her eldest brother. Her middle name is named after him in a way and to discover who he was and what journey he went on – and being so close in history to mine," she said.

"I mean, literally my dad's uncle, and we had no idea the journey he went on and the hurdles he faced. The actual, literal battles he was in," she added. "That side of it was an emotional rollercoaster because it was so close."

"It wasn't like four generations ago, he was my dad's uncle. And now because I'm 38, he's like a young boy to me. He was a young lad, with so much life and I think these stories of WW1 were all historical stories to me, or films, but nothing that was within the grasp of my own family history."

Whittaker, who is best known as the Thirteenth Doctor in Doctor Who and for her roles in Black Mirror and Broadchurch, also said she was nervous about her history being "properly beige", adding: "I thought, there's got to be some drama somewhere! I was really nervous that it was going to be like, 'Well, that's boring, isn't it?'"

More like this

Docuseries Who Do You Think You Are? has been a BBC staple since 2004, with Jodie Whittaker starring in the first episode of the show's 17 series.

Britain's Got Talent's David Walliams, Silent Witness' Liz Carr and Gavin & Stacey's Ruth Jones are also set to dive into their family history in the upcoming series.


Series 17 of Who Do You Think You Are? begins Monday 12th October at 9pm on BBC One. Check out what else is on with our TV Guide, or take a look at our new TV shows 2020 page to find out what’s airing this autumn and beyond.


Sponsored content