Well-known Australians play detective as they go in search of their family history, revealing secrets from the past. Taking us to all corners of Australia and the globe are six stories of individuals seeking to find the definitive answer to where they came from. Along the way secrets are uncovered and histories revealed - from resistance fighting to murder, from child abandonment to adoption, and from nineteenth century abortion to twentieth century shell shock - with each individual discovering that their ancestors form an integral part of not only their own identity, but that of the nation.
Considering Australia’s multicultural background, this is a global story, with each celebrity tracing their ancestors around the world. They travel to the places where their forebears would have lived, loved and died, and learn about the hardships and hurdles their ancestors overcame. This is a fascinating chronicle of the social, ethnic and cultural evolution of Australia’s national identity.
Comedian and Actress
Magda is the actor behind many of Australia’s most loved comic characters including Sharon in “Kath & Kim” and Mrs Hoggett in the internationally acclaimed “Babe” and “Babe: Pig in the City”.
Magda has always been a fearless performer but where is that courage from? Magda was born to a Polish Father and a Scottish Mother. The family migrated to Australia when Magda was a child.
To better understand how world events have shaped her family, Magda will trace the lives of two ancestors. Both were forced to make grim choices and both were forced to confront the brutality of war.
Writer / Director: Kay Pavlou | Post Director: Russell Vines | Editor: Peter Pritchard
Director Of Photography: Ulrich-Stephan Krafzi | Assistant Producer: Ewa Dobrowolska
“ ...Magda Szubanksi is a superb choice to open the new season. Terrific viewing...” – (4 Stars) Sunday Age 28/11/10
Great Australian Cricketer
Cricketer Rod Marsh trawls the records, overturning long held secrets and pieces together the dramatic circumstances that led to his father’s adoption. For the first time he discovers who his biological grandparents are and why his Dad was given up for adoption into the Marsh family. And by uncovering a pioneering Marsh ancestor, he finally discovers where he gets his drive and focus from.
Writer / Director: Russell Vines | Editor: Roland Smith
Director Of Photography: Ulrich-Stephan Krafzik | Assistant Producer: Diana Pepper
What Rod Marsh had to say about the experience on WDYTYA? “ It’s a hell of a yarn, I tell you. There were a lot of surprises there for me and a few skeletons in the closet as well. ”
Singer Tina Arena has always wanted to find out more about where her Italian-born parents came from, a subject that has never really been talked about in her family. She is driven to find out the truth behind some family secrets and heads off to Sicily to explore her Italian roots.
At the end of her journey Tina realises that the issue of abandonment has been running through her family tree for generations and she now understands more about the drive and struggle that her Sicilian ancestors had and the impact this has had on her parents and grandparents.
Writer / Director: Jane Manning | Post Director: Robert Marshall | Editor: David Fosdick
Director Of Photography: Ian Pugsley ACS | Assistant Producesr: Bridget Curran & Anthea Bulloch
“ Ultimately what resonates is the way history repeats....Another engaging instalment of a wonderful series." (4 stars)” – Sunday Age 12/12/10.
Actor & Comedian
Actor and comedian Shane Bourne is best known for his role as a senior detective in City Homicide and as presenter of the comedy improvisation show Thank God You’re Here.
Shane is a single Dad and lives with his 19 year old daughter Ruby in Melbourne. He grew up living with his mother, sister and younger brother Danny. His father, Stan Bourne, was also a well-known comedian and entertainer and largely absent from Shane’s life during his childhood and formative years. Shane is aware that his mother, known as Pixie, also grew up never knowing her father – indeed she met him for the one and only time when she was 18.
He sees a pattern of absent fathers in his family tree and is keen to investigate the absence of his mother’s father, AP Freeman, his grandfather about whom he knows very little.
Writer / Director: Catherine Marciniak | Post Director: Alan Carter | Editor: David Fosdick
Director Of Photography: Ian Pugsley ACS | Assistant Producer: Eliot Buchan
“ Another delightful episode of this excellent series....If you thought Mr Bourne was a colourful character, you should meet his family" (4 stars) ” – Sunday Age 19/12/10.
Actor, Dancer and TV Chef
Actor, dancer and TV chef Paul Mercurio is probably best known for his role in “Strictly Ballroom”. In “WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE?” he embarks on a journey into his ancestry to investigate rumours of a mafia connection and discovers a political kingmaker leading a double life.
After his parents divorced when he was six, Paul and his siblings were raised in Western Australia alone by his Mum. He never got to know his father Gus until he was an adult. Gus immigrated to Australia from the US in 1956 and Paul knows little about the family that Gus left behind . Along the way Paul learns of a rumoured mafia connection, violence, murky political patronage and innocents caught in the crossfire.
Writer / Director: Jane Manning | Post Director: Alan Carter | Editor: David Fosdick
Director Of Photography: Ian Pugsley ACS | Assistant Producer: Eliot Buchan
“ Who Do You Think You Are? will offer fresh insight into Mercurio and his family background. This series is outstanding." (4 Stars) ” – Sydney Morning Herald, Entertainment. 24/04/12
Georgie Parker has created some of the most memorable women in Australian television, with long running roles on a Country Practice and All Saints. The women in her own family are all big personalities and this is the puzzle she sets out to solve: where does that female strength come from?
Georgie says she’s not afraid to hear any of her family history, but the journey ahead will test her out.
Writer / Director: Belinda Mason | Post Director: Victoria Midwinter Pitt | Editor: Beckett Broda
Director Of Photography: Ian Pugsley ACS | Assistant Producer: Janine Boreland
“ A stirring close to another enthralling series ” – Armidale Independent, Best of the Box 29/12/10
The Who Do You Think You Are? format is devised by Wall to Wall and based upon a program originally produced by Wall to Wall for BBC1.
Format licensed by Warner Bros. International Television Production.
Based on the smash hit BBC series Who Do You Think You Are?, each episode will profile an Australian celebrity tracing their family tree.
'Who Do You Think You Are?' is a Serendipity Productions and Artemis International Production in association with SBS, ScreenWest, Lotterywest and Screen Australia. © Copyright 2010.
Format Licensed by Wall to Wall Media Ltd
"We welcome the return of the impeccable Who Do You Think You Are?"
"A documentary that confronts, questions and raises many issues:medical ethics,personal choice and funding priorities - but none more so than the rights of the disabled, and of a mother and father."
"… is full of emotion,heartache,frustration and determination."
"… essentially a story of courage"
‘The filmmaker creates a perceptive, multilayered understanding of the young refugees’ experiences’
‘It is hard to remain dry-eyed as the schools multicultural soccer team sings Advance Australia Fair in the bus home from a match.'
"... already acknowledged as the world's most exciting visual and physical theatre company...the reason to go and see Stalker is the way they marry jaw dropping spectacle with real purpose."
"This is engaging and entertaining telly that also has something important to say"
"Set in WA, this is one reality series we all should watch."
"Setting this documentary apart…is the effort it makes to humanise the poachers and explain the circumstances which compels them to hunt."
"A dose of Reality TV without the hype"
"All three groups of fishermen feature in Lobster Tales, an ABC documentary that will change the way you look at these delicious crustaceans forever."
“The great achievement of Lobster Tales, a delightfully oddball WA-made documentary on the lucrative local crayfish industry ... strikes such a lovely balance between the lobsters and fishermen that it’s more like a well-wrought tragi-comedy than a traditional nature doco"
“Even for non-lobster-lovers, this quirky feature provides plenty of interest ... the highlight is the underwater photography by Leighton de Barros which is up-close and stunning."
"shows ordinary people doing extraordinary things ... the program usues the magic of TV to bring an important WA story to life"
“Though it’s not easy to watch a widow finally open up about her murdered husband (nor is it comfortable watching local Iraqis genuinely praise Saddam Hussein), Salam Father is yet another reason why the terms "SBS" and "quality documentary" fit like a hand in glove."
“A sense of reconciliation emerges in the program and there's considerable poignancy as elements of a family torn apart by war, politics and circumstance are reunited…"
“This is the compelling story of a family torn apart by war, envy, corruption and greed and how a quest for answers also helped heal old wounds. It might also help people look beyond the descriptions "refugee" and "asylum seeker" to see the person and their story…A powerful piece of television, made more authentic by Ziusudras' first-hand narration of this tale.”
"This documentary never becomes bogged down in legalese and is a compelling tale of one family's devotion to their son"
"A remarkable story and a clever and affecting piece of storytelling"
"An emotional journey...unflinchingly captured on camera"
Koori queens proudly get out and about in this high-spirited and affirming documentary."
"We get a rare glimpse into the world of indigenous gay men in tonight's Sissy ... an energetic, inventive and occasionally touching Western Australian-made documentary that looks at the lives of three colourful drag queens."
"Considering the double whammy served up by homophobia and racism, Sissy insists on having a good time while handling thought-provoking material."
[Shaun Micallef’s] quest to discover if there is ‘‘greater purpose than being a semi-professional Australian TV personality’’ makes for a funny and watchable journey.
Filled with wit, warmth and revelations, Stairway To Heaven will intrigue even non-believers.
"It's a compelling story and you made a compelling film out of it. Just terrific."
"A fascinating insight into the world of the night"
“Surprising, raunchy, hilarious, crazy! Expect the unexpected!”
"Puppetry most certainly is an art from and some of the performances here will take your breath away"
“I have been directly or indirectly involved in WDYTYA productions in the U.S., Canada and the U.K …I must say that this one [Andrew Denton's episode] of the very best I have seen”
"...it's the most engaging detective series in years"
"... surprising, extraordinary and often moving"
"A compelling, lovely adaption of an excellent British format"
"One of the reliable pleasures of this series is just how great it looks. The production values are always first-class and wherever we are in Australia or the world, you can't quibble with the scenery. Who Do You Think You Are? is about much more than looking pretty, though, blending history and biography to create a package that's accessible, entertaining and educational. (FOUR STARS)"
“It's the perfect mix of history and celebrity..."
"... this program has about it a quiet authenticity that allows the subject’s story to unfold of its own accord."
"The series is more than a peek into the backgrounds of the famous; it also chronicles the social and cultural evolution of our national identities via these celeb family histories. 4/5 stars"
"Each episode is essentially a feature documentary, well-researched and produced, and presented usually with a humorous or deeply emotional touch... This show is seriously habit-forming"
This series is fascinating and so well done...
(pick of the week)
"... explores the family histories of its subjects with class and humour. Verdict: A Hit."