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Monday, October 18, 2021

Josh Widdicombe’s Who Do You Think You Are? may just have topped Danny Dyer’s

Widdicombe? Well, His 12-times great-grandmother was in a love triangle with Elizabeth I, his “great, great, great… whatever aunt” was Anne Boleyn and his ten-times great-grandfather, Henry Rich, literally wiped Charles I’s bum. Oh, and his 23-times great-grandfather was Edward I, meaning he also has a direct blood line to French royalty. The more he unrolled the scroll the crazier it all became. Normally you expect some tears to be blinked back on WDYTYA but Widdicombe’s eyes just got wider and wider.

With a series as long-running and reliable as Who Do You Think You Are? there is inevitably a problem of diminishing returns. When Widdicombe began the programme saying he was concerned his family would be really boring, I can’t have been the only viewer muttering “like heck, Josh, it’s the first programme of a new series, bet you’re connected to royalty.”

How are Judi Dench or Pixie Lott going to cope in weeks to come when it turns out they’re merely the scions of refugees who cured smallpox while defying the Nazis, or 58th generation clones of robots from Alpha Centauri? Similarly, if Danny Dyer and Josh Widdicombe are both descended from royalty, might not all of us be if we only go back far enough?

Still, these are petty objections set against the simple wonder of a likeable man being filmed reading a plaque in a church that proves Mary Boleyn (the other Boleyn girl) was his great, great etc grandmother. It was terrific stuff, only improvable upon if Ann Widdecombe had turned out to be Josh’s long lost cousin. There must be a link somewhere.

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