Who Do You Think You Are? (Irish TV series)

Who Do You Think You Are? is an Irish genealogy documentary series that first aired on RTÉ One in 2008. It is made by the production company Mint. In each episode, a celebrity goes on a journey to trace his or her lineage through a family tree. The series is based on the original version of the franchise, broadcast by the BBC in the United Kingdom. A third series started on 9 September 2018 with six new episodes.[3]

Who Do You Think You Are?
Who Do You Think You Are? (Irish TV series).png
Directed byIngrid Gargan
Imogen Murphy
Mark Warren
Gerry Hoban
Narrated byArthur Riordan[1]
Composer(s)Mark Sayer- Wade
Country of originIreland
No. of seasons2
No. of episodes12
Executive producer(s)Steve Carson
Miriam O'Callaghan
Producer(s)Isobel Nolan
Marie Eschenbach
Editor(s)Gerry Hoban
Running time60 minutes
Production company(s)Mint Productions
Original networkRTÉ One
Original release15 September 2008[2] –
14 October 2018
Related showsBritish version of Who Do You Think You Are?
External links

Notable discoveriesEdit

In the first episode, RTÉ news reporter Charlie Bird discovered his great-great-grandfather had been involved in the Battle of the Nile (1798) and served under Admiral Nelson himself, whilst Bird also discovered that his grandfather was a bigamist.[4]

In the fifth episode, RTÉ presenter Pamela Flood travelled through "19th-century Dublin, taking in red light districts, millionaire solicitors, pawnbrokers, contested wills, illegitimate children and murder". She met historian David Nolan, who has written a history of Corballis House, where her granny was sent to stay; they subsequently discovered she was born out of wedlock.[5]

In the first episode of the second series Ryan Tubridy discovered he was a descendant of Edward III.[6] Geneticist Adam Rutherford criticised the series for misleading its viewers into thinking that such descent was rare, noting that "almost every Briton" was descended from Edward III.[7]

List of episodesEdit

First seriesEdit

No. Featured celebrity Original air date Details
1 Charlie Bird 15 September 2008 Outline (archive link)
2 Joe Duffy 22 September 2008 Outline (archive link)
3 Dana Rosemary Scallon 29 September 2008 Outline (archive link)
4 Ardal O'Hanlon 6 October 2008 Outline (archive link)
5 Pamela Flood 13 October 2008 Outline (archive link)
6 Linda Martin 20 October 2008 Outline (archive link)

Second seriesEdit

No. Featured celebrity Original air date Details
1 Ryan Tubridy 14 September 2009 Outline (archive link)
2 Ivan Yates 21 September 2009 Outline (archive link)
3 Rosanna Davison 28 September 2009 Outline (archive link)
4 Diarmuid Gavin 5 October 2009 Outline (archive link)
5 Fionnula Flanagan 12 October 2009 Outline (archive link)
6 Simon Delaney 19 October 2009 Outline (archive link)

Third seriesEdit

No. Featured celebrity Original air date Details
1 Damien Dempsey 9 September 2018
2 Pat Shortt 16 September 2018
3 Samantha Power 23 September 2018
4 Bertie Ahern 30 September 2018
5 Laura Whitmore 7 October 2018
6 Adrian Dunbar 14 October 2018


The first series was criticised for its attempts to mimic the original BBC version. The Irish Independent remarked that: "Our [the Irish nation] pool of talent is so small that the entire country knows exactly what Charlie Bird's lifestyle and personal circumstances are. He is an RTÉ "personality", to be wheeled out in each and every situation ... ad nauseam. He is meant to be a working journalist, not a personality star. It muddies the waters of credibility when supposedly serious journalists become personality acts".[8]

Just before the first episode was broadcast, the Evening Herald ironically compared RTÉ's "awkwardly titled" Where Was Your Family During the Famine? (also broadcast in 2008), in which celebrities traced their family histories back to the darkest period in Ireland's history, to the BBC version.[9]

Mention was also made of the high proportion of RTÉ employees involved in the series (Bird is a news reporter, Duffy a radio broadcaster, Flood a television presenter and Martin appears frequently on RTÉ), with a suggestion that the series ought to be renamed Who Do RTÉ Personalities Think They Are?[10]


  1. ^ Credits
  2. ^ "Who Do You Think You Are? begins on RTÉ One". RTÉ. 15 September 2008. Retrieved 21 September 2008.
  3. ^ Kelly, Aoife (16 August 2018). "RTE's new schedule - Podge & Rodge return, Bertie Ahern does Who Do You Think You Are, and the Late Late goes to London". Irish Independent. Retrieved 31 August 2018.
  4. ^ "A Bermuda triangle of Bird family mysteries". Irish Independent. 14 September 2008. Retrieved 21 September 2008.
  5. ^ "16 Blocks". Irish Independent. 11 October 2008. Retrieved 2 November 2008.
  6. ^ McBride, Caitlin (9 September 2009). "Revealed ... Tubridy's secret relation is Edward III". Evening Herald. Archived from the original on 17 February 2013. Retrieved 9 September 2009.
  7. ^ Rudgard, Olivia (27 June 2017). "It's not just Danny Dyer who is related to royalty - we all are, geneticist says". The Daily Telegraph.
  8. ^ "RTE should prepare to stretch the boundaries". Irish Independent. 14 September 2008. Retrieved 21 September 2008.
  9. ^ "RTE cooks up an appetising drama". Evening Herald. 9 September 2008. Retrieved 21 September 2008.
  10. ^ "Cullen rightly plays Trump card". Irish Independent. 28 September 2008. Retrieved 22 February 2008.

External linksEdit