Saturday, February 26, 2011

Who Do You Think You Are, Season 2 Episode 4

Celebrity: Kim Cattrall
Aired: 25 Feb 2011
Original Airing Date in the UK: 12 Aug 2009
This post will be different this week because I want to highlight the differences between the UK version of this show (where this episode originally aired) so there won't be an Pros or Cons for now. Presence: Two commercials and one mention for research purposes.


  • LEFT OUT: They left out a section that would have provided some context to the bigamy issue. Divorce required one party to be at fault and if one party contested it, the whole issue had to be brought to London no matter where they lived. In the year he married, there were 287 cases of bigamy brought to court in the year of 1938 so bigamy was seen as the easier and cheapest option apparently.
  • LEFT OUT: A researcher showed her a ship's record that showed George Baugh was a stowaway to America in 1935 and was sent back to Liverpool. This was three years before he permanently disappeared, and Cattrall reveals that her youngest Aunt was actually born after he got back to Liverpool so he must have given his wife some excuse!
    • I think that they left out those chunks because they wasted time talking about why Cattrall was famous. 
  • Music Here is an example of the UK theme music from youtube: Link 
  • They added a few bits of conversation, most of which didn't actually contributed to the actual information being given.
  • American narration with slightly tweaked differences in content but is primarily the same as the UK version. I guess they felt that the average American viewer wouldn't know what a Scouser was (p.s. Someone from Liverpool.) so they changed what she said to British.
  • Subtitles for English accents...was it really that hard to understand what they said? I mean, I know I lived there for a few months, but it just seemed silly to do it. 
  • A major difference of the show is how people are introduced during the course of the episode. In the original UK version, the narrator mentions the names of the relevant people like the archivist, the historian, etc. They never bothered telling you the name of the woman who lived next door to Cattrall's relatives or the pub owner let alone showing it on the screen!
The Difference that Bothered Me the Most:

This is a glaringly obvious example of why I think the American version of WDYTYA is so manufactured and why it doesn't draw me in the way it should.

One of the biggest differences tonight was when Cattrall looked up what happened to her grandfather and his second family in Australia. She finds a family tree (whereas in the UK show the narrator just stated when her grandfather died) on that shows when George Baugh and Isabella Oliver Baugh died.

You want to know why this made me roll my eyes?

1. The family tree was titled "Cattrall Family Tree," so this wasn't posted by the Baughs that went to Australia or the Olivers that remained in England.

2. Given that the Aunts had no idea what had happened to their father and only one of them would have been a Cattrall anyway, I'm inclined to think they didn't post it themselves.

I'm very curious as to whether the US/ production team created this scene or this was something the UK episode chose not to show? I'd be interested in knowing the answer because it doesn't seem entirely aboveboard to me. 

Links: I thought I'd share a few links that the show brought to mind, alluded to, or in one case, was brought up in the UK airing of this show. 

  • Free BMD: Civil registration began in 1837 (which I greatly envy). The first step to ordering a birth, marriage or death certificate is to find your ancestors listing in a BMD index. This is a free site, but I know that the BMD index is on ancestry and findmypast.
  • Ordering BMD Records (National Archives UK)
  • Ancestors on Board (UK Outbound Passenger Lists 1890-1960) This would have been helpful had they shown the bit about George Baugh's attempted to immigration to America!

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 (This is all due to the fact that this was mostly what was showed in the UK and I thought it was an interesting episode. The UK version, once I get it on DVD would have gotten a 5.)

Next Week: Lionel Ritchie


  1. I swear I missed when they showed the Cattrall family tree. I will have to go back and check it out. I also think that after all that you have said and others it makes me want to see some of the UK version of the show. The problem would be trying to find it online. :)

  2. I feel the UK version draws you in more and I feel like I'm more involved with the show. If you're interested there are some clips for some of the shows on youtube. I've bought an all region dvd player so that I can purchase the UK dvds (which won't play on a normal US dvd player) and watch all of them.

    I'm hoping that since they showed this episode, they will purchase the Jerry Springer episode dealing with his Jewish relatives and the Holocaust. It made me tear up watching it and I thought it was a pretty interesting episode.

    I think I only noticed it because I've seen the original episode and so I could focus on what was different! :)