TV ‘Gold’

Did you see last night’s DNA Journey on ITV with Martin and Roman Kemp? If not, then I urge you to have a watch if you can on catch up, it’s brilliant.

The programme really got me thinking about lots of different aspects of my tree and the whole DNA journey itself and also the wider issue of presenting genealogy to a much bigger audience.

Genealogy is even more popular now and the hobby is growing faster now than ever before, possibly as a result of the situation we have found ourselves in, these last 12 months. People have had more time to indulge in pastimes and hobbies and what better time to start a new hobby than now! The negative spin on this is there has been a dearth of genealogy programmes on mainstream TV, I accept that these programmes need to attract a headline act, or a big name sponsor to be economically viable, but it’s good to see the DNA route being explored by two separate programmes recently.

The key thing to remember that behind the celebrity front, it always is and always will be about the “story”. Celebrity or no celebrity, the story has to connect with people and resonate with the audience, if not then it simply does not work. It doesn’t have to be about connection with Royalty either! Martin Kemp’s story about his Nan and what she went through as a young child, losing her Mother and then ending up in the Workhouse with her Sister was so emotional. It shaped her life and the life of her children and ultimately her grandchildren (Martin). What brings that home to the majority of us is we all have an ancestor that we can relate to, that went through a similar experience, we can connect Martin’s emotions with our own, that’s powerful TV. Brilliantly presented by Brad and Michala, sometimes as presenters, you just have to let the emotions of a moment speak for themselves and you both did that so well. Martin and Roman’s beautiful relationship also shone through, you can’t buy that, such a wonderful family.

The moment when they found Nan’s grave was also such a beautiful moment, the emotions they felt, we have all felt them, haven’t we? That incredible feeling is why we all search for our ancestor’s stories, every ancestor has a story to tell and it’s our job to be ‘their voice’. Family history is more than paper records and paper trails, of course, they are the nuts and bolts of what we do, but it’s bringing our ancestors stories together and sharing these stories in whatever way we can, that inspires me to continue. Every ancestor has a voice, some louder than others, but they all deserve a chance to be heard.

I hope that we get to see more genealogy programmes on mainstream TV, if the story connects with an audience it will always do well. Focus on the ‘story’ and bring your ancestors to life and you can’t go wrong!

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6 thoughts on “TV ‘Gold’

  1. I think dna journey, a light-hearted look at the story and so entertaining in the banter between the 2 people involved. BBC’s programme I watched -of course – but wasn’t struck on the format (sort of like Long Lost Family – but not as good). The good thing about all DNA programmes is it sparks an interest and more people will take a test, so more likelihood of closer matches but also more people who won’t respond to emails 😦

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  2. I have to say, working on the series has been brilliant. Especially considering the work that went in from VoltageTV to get it produced “In times of Covid” it’s been astonishing that it all came together so well. I have to say that they have got the format absolutely right, not maudlin, but not self serving towards the celebs, it took them on a real warts and all exploration of History, and their families part in it. I’ve got to say I found all the celebs I met during the series, very down to earth, and genuinely interested and excited by what was being uncovered. Let’s hope we get another series commissioned.

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    1. Thanks Paul and nice to hear from you. It always has to be about the story for me, the celebrity aspect is almost insignificant, the story always has to take the centre stage. It works so well because we can all relate the stories to our own story. My Grandfather grew up on Chrisp Street in Poplar and I also have at least 20 watermen and lightermen on my tree so could easily connect with Jamie’s story. Last night’s story was even more relevant when you heard Martin’s Nan’s story, that could be any of our ancestors. Martin and Roman had a really great relationship and they genuinely came across as being down to earth and very family orientated. Great series and I really hope that VoltageTV receive positive feedback and the figures justify another series. We only get a snapshot of their family history and I can certainly appreciate all the hard work carried out in the background by yourself, Brad and Michala!

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  3. I did enjoy the last episode more than the first two. I felt they seemed genuinely interested and I like that Martin wants to add a headstone for his grandmother. Something I’d like to do for my ancestors whose graves are unmarked.

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    1. Thats exactly what I would do if I ever won the lottery! Add a headstone to every family grave. I think I enjoyed this episode so much because Martin’s family mirrors a lot of our own families and the tough upbringing our own ancestors endured. It gave us a connection with his family.

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