Who Do You Think You Are?-UK Series 1 (2004)

If you create a user account, you can add your own review of this DVD

Released 16-Sep-2008

Cover Art

This review is sponsored by

Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category TV Series Unseen Footage
Featurette-First Steps to Researching Your Family
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 2004
Running Time 560:39 (Case: 540)
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered
Multi Disc Set (3)
Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Christopher Bruce
Archie Baron
Simon Chu
Rieta Oord

Madman Entertainment
Starring None Given
Case Amaray-Transparent-S/C-Dual
RPI ? Music Mark Sayer-Wade
The Music Sculptors

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.78:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    What lies buried in our past? Royal blood, dashing heroics, the shame of traitors or just unceasing plain and uneventful generations?

The innate desire to understand where we come from in order to understand where we are at now is the reason for the great success of Who Do You Think You Are? a British documentary series which is now digging into its 8th series and has launched a raft of regional franchises - the Australian series, now going into a second season, being a great example.

It began here, with the first series of Who Do You Think You Are? which has been released on DVD in Region 4. The show follows a similar formula - take a celebrity through the process of discovering, or re-discovering, their past. Along the way we get an insight into the celebrity themselves and the value they place on family and the sense of generational place. For Region 4 viewers some of the celebrities in this season, and in the seasons to follow, are not immediately recognizable. The show mentions their history but usually obliquely and without pandering to the international audience. For some that may be off-putting but to my mind the excitement of the show is more than just in seeing famous people, who could no doubt afford to pay for a genealogist, make deep discoveries but rather to just see how this person or that is touched by their past.

The First Season consists of the following celebrities:

  1. Bill Oddie - The Goodies(54.35)
  2. Amanda Redman - New Tricks (53.39)
  3. Sue Johnston - The Royle Family(54.20)
  4. Jeremy Clarkson - Top Gear (54.24)
  5. Ian Hislop -(54.10)
  6. Moira Stewart - Newsreader (54.07)
  7. David Baddiel - Comedian(54.46)
  8. Lesley Garrett -Opera Singer (53.56)
  9. Meera Syal - The Kumars at No 42(54.33)
  10. Vic Reeves -(54.35)

The episodes are long enough to allow for a real insight into the subject without running out of steam. For it is a show of interest but rarely one of shock or horror. The overriding theme is of the hard choices made generations ago which shaped the people we see today. So Bill Oddie, fresh from a bout of mental illness, traces his mother through her tragic past and forced commitment to a mental institution.

A prime attraction of the show is sometimes in the gentle flow of the stories moving from an expected destination to another. So actress Sue Johnston, a devoted admirer of her working class grandfather, comes to a deeper understanding of his roots and the supposedly patrician great grandparents.

Each of the episodes is worth a watch and although the level of emotion varies the excitement of discovery remains consistent.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality


Who Do You Think You Are? was filmed on high definition digital video.

It is a native widescreen production and that aspect ratio has been preserved for the DVD release. It is 16x9 enhanced.

The show consists of interview footage and a whole lot of "ducking in and out of libraries" footage as well as occasional rostrum camera work. All is rendered cleanly and with minimal imperfections. There is slight video noise to be seen at times and the series lacks the crispness of the finest TV cinematography.

The colours are bright and stable and the flesh tones are accurate.

There are no subtitles.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


    Who Do You Think You Are? comes with a Dolby Digital 2.0 English soundtrack running at 224 Kb/s.

This track is perfectly adequate for the show, which is really a series of interviews and monologues. The voices are clear and easy to understand although some of the English regional accents require a bit of concentration.

There are no technical problems with the soundtrack.

The voices are in audio sync.

The show is narrated by David Morrisey in a direct, no-nonsense fashion. He would finish with this season allowing Mark Strong to take over the microphone for future seasons.

Music for the show is by Mark Sayer-Wade. The opening theme crisp and jaunty , combined with the image of the tree in the field, is a curious reminder of Six Feet Under!. The score varies appropriate to the tone of the piece and is interesting and varied throughout.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


There are only two extras on the DVD.

Unseen Footage (8.19)

This is a short but interesting featurette.

A group of the subjects is caught in a moment of reflection about their involvement in the show and the revelations that they have encountered. The feelings are mixed - for example, Bill Oddie is sad and relieved to find out more about his mother but Jeremy Clarkson finds it difficult to feel a connection with his ancestors. The most telling comment, and one understandably not used in the series, comes from Ian Hislop who wonders whether he should be digging around in family secrets if the family members themselves didn't feel it appropriate to pass on the information.

First Steps to Researching Your Family (10.35)

Although this piece is relevant to UK genealogical records the thrust of the guide is relevant to a search in any country. It is hosted by the genealogical consultant to the show - Nick Barratt. It starts with identifying the oldest registers of information (births and deaths registers start in 1837 in the UK) and try to follow the records as far back as you can until the national records cease, Then the search turns to local records, such as parish marriage registers. Short but interesting.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    Who Do You Think You Are? comes in an identical version in Region 2.


    Who Do You Think You Are? is a fascinating show for anyone at all intrigued by family history. The fact that the show focuses on celebrities adds a bit of spice to the mix but I enjoyed the segments on people who I was only vaguely aware of.

The DVD presentation is perfectly adequate without being stellar.

The extras are brief but worth a look.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Trevor Darge (read my bio)
Monday, September 21, 2009
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer BDP-LX70A Blu-ray Player, using HDMI output
DisplayPioneer PDP-5000EX. This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.
AmplificationOnkyo TX-SR605
SpeakersJBL 5.1 Surround and Subwoofer

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add) NONE