‘Who Do You Think You Are?’ Returns This October With Dame Judi Dench, Pixie Lott, Joe Lycett, Josh Widdicombe & More

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14 Sep 21

‘Who Do You Think You Are?’ Returns This October With Dame Judi Dench, Pixie Lott, Joe Lycett, Josh Widdicombe & More

The brilliant genealogy show Who Do You Think You Are? is set to return for an 18th Season this October on BBC One, and will feature a lineup including Dame Judi Dench, Pixie Lott, Joe Lycett, Alex Scott, Joe Sugg, Josh Widdicombe and Ed Balls unravelling their family history.

“We are very excited for this new series of Who Do You Think You Are? and for viewers to share in the extraordinary mix of personal celebrity histories taking us across the world, and which together reflect our rich collective history,” commented Emily Smith, BBC Commissioning Editor for Documentaries.

Pundit and former footballer Alex Scott learns about her Jewish and Jamaican heritage, and ancestors that suffered tremendous hardships. YouTuber Joe Sugg discovers a remarkable family history as far back as the Great Fire of London, and comedian Josh Widdicombe traces his lineage back to the Elizabethan and Tudor Courts.

At first, it looks like Ed Balls will uncover an heroic story when he looks into the life of an assistant ship’s surgeon, but the grim reality isn’t quite what he was hoping for. However, he uncovers a more inspiring story when investigating the life of an ancestor who lived through the agricultural depression of the 1820s.

Shakespearean actor, movie star and national treasure Dame Judi Dench seizes the chance to find out about her forebears in ‘Who Do You Think You Are?’ starting with her father, Reginald – who never spoke of his experiences during the First World War. Travelling further into her family history, Judi’s investigations lead her to Denmark and nobility, where to her delight she discovers some incredible Shakespearean links.

Pixie Lott hopes to find the truth of the family story – that she has Italian ancestry from Verona – but the reality isn’t quite what she was searching for. She also learns of her great grandfather’s harrowing experiences in the First World War, along with discovering musical genes on her mother’s side of the family.

Comedian and presenter Joe Lycett manages to find humour everywhere, but he discovers a darker family history as he finds out that his two-times-great grandfather was a boy chimney sweep in the 1850s who later joined the Royal Marines and travelled the world, but struggled to process his experiences.

Alex Scott explores the Jewish ancestry on her mother’s side and learns that her great-grandad faced down fascism in London’s East End in 1936. She travels to Jamaica to uncover history on the other side of the family and learns of tremendous hardship and suffering, as well as some uncomfortable and upsetting history.

YouTuber, actor and Strictly alumnus Joe Sugg enlists help from his big sister and fellow YouTuber Zoe to explore their family tree. He discovers a great-great-great-grandfather who was involved in the earliest days of communication by telegraph, ancestors who fled religious persecution in France and a relative who survived the Great Fire of London.

Amongst his family history, Josh Widdicombe discovers an ancestor cut out of the family fortune and a courtier with intimate access to the King’s commode, whose story ends disastrously during the Civil War. From there it’s a dizzying journey back to Elizabethan and Tudor nobility, culminating in an incredible ancestral line.

“Who Do You Think You Are? is back with another line-up of Britain’s best-loved celebrities exploring their family histories across the UK, Ireland, Denmark and Jamaica,” adds Executive Producer for Wall to Wall, Colette Flight. “The incredible personal stories they unearth of their ancestors’ lives – from royal love triangles to labourers fighting for their rights, from Victorian child sweeps to battling fascists in London’s East end – reflect and illuminate all our collective history.”

Who Do You Think You Are?‘ Season 18 premieres on BBC One in October 2021 (exact date/time TBC). If you want to keep track of this or any other show, you can add it via our Never Miss system, and you’ll be notified when it gets a UK premiere date.