Who Do You Think You Are: “Derek Jacobi”

What I watched: Who Do You Think You Are“Derek Jacobi” (original air date: August 27, 2015)

How I watched: Streamed

Snacks: Cookies


Synopsis: Derek Jacobi‘s father is of German descent and he knows a bit about their history, so he turns to look into the history of his English mother and her ancestors. He discovers a wealthy and well-connected French financier in his ancestry who came to England as a Huguenot refugee in the early 1700s and married into the British gentry.

Why I watched: I thought I had seen this episode and started watching it to double-check, turns out I hadn’t seen it after all.

Notes: I know almost nothing about the period of history examined in this episode. One thing that bothered me was that the episode began with Jacobi describing his very ordinary, middle class, London east end childhood and adolescence. Then the episode immediately throws up his French ancestry and then much time is spent on the life of one of Jacobi’s ancestors (6th great-grandfather) they discussed the whole of his adult life, and he married and had his first child past the age of 70. They establish the connectedness of that child (5th great-grandfather) to the British crown through the Duke of Devonshire and then the story ends! I wish there was a second part to the episode, where they discuss how a family who was so powerful diminishes to the middle class status Jacobi found himself in as a child.

I found it interesting I think because so often this show gives the guest an optimistic start only to see it diminished and end in poverty (or the reverse) they rarely leave such a gap between a period 200+ years ago and today.

Recommend: If you are interested in history, yes.


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