Who Do You Think You Are?-UK Series 1 (2004)
Featurette-First Steps to Researching Your Family
|Year Of Production||2004|
|Running Time||560:39 (Case: 540)|
|RSDL / Flipper||
Multi Disc Set (3)
|Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||4||Directed By||
The Music Sculptors
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)|
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||1.78:1|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.78:1||Miscellaneous|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
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:
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.
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.
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.
|Surround Channel Use|
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.
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.
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.
|DVD||Pioneer BDP-LX70A Blu-ray Player, using HDMI output|
|Display||Pioneer 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 Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.|
|Speakers||JBL 5.1 Surround and Subwoofer|