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 eight stories of individuals seeking to find the definitive answer to where they came from. Along the way we meet a fifteenth century Maltese medieval magnate and a seventeenth century British Royal Musician. We learn about harrowing tales of Australian nineteenth century mental asylums and child mortality, through to twentieth century Hungarian cold war politics and families separated by war and racism. We meet bushrangers, artists and soldiers. People who left their mark on Australia and their descendants.
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 Adam Hills retraces the desperate journeys undertaken by his migrant ancestors, from Central Europe and Malta. With their families torn apart by war and prejudice, both his Great Grandfathers risked everything for a new life in Australia. He also discovers a medieval ancestor who made his fortune from a barbaric business.
Writer / Director: Claire Meech | Post Director: Steve Peddie | Editor: Roland Smith
Director Of Photography: Ian Pugsley Acs | Assistant Producer: Katherine Barrett
“ It just makes me really humble. My people before me put themselves on the line and went through some really dark times.” – Adam Hills, TV Tonight, 03/02/13
Actress Asher Keddie sets out to find the origins of her creative passions, discovering that she comes from a very long line of artistic performers.
These include an acting ancestor whose story shares eerie parallels to her own life, and a nineteenth century musician who played a part in some of the most significant moments of his time.
Writer / Director: Steve Peddie | Post Director: Steve Peddie | Editor: Beckett Broda
Director Of Photography: Ian Pugsley Acs | Assistant Producer: Cath Trimboli
“ ... as is so often the case with this show, it's an engaging, surprising and emotional journey” – Age Melbourne, The Green Guide, 04/04/13
On the trail of his ancestors, actor Don Hany journeys to the heart of Europe, to investigate his controversial Hungarian grandfather, caught up in a Cold War flashpoint, and uncovers a labyrinth of secrets and lies that still divide his family.
Writer / Director: Ili Baré | Post Director: Alan Carter | Editor: Beckett Broda
Director Of Photography: Ulrich-Stephan Krafzik | Assistant Producer: Matthew O’donnell
“ This show is always so fascinating ... Keep the tissues handy.” – Sunday Age, Melbourne, 14/04/13
Actor Michael Caton has an iconic place in Australian screen history often playing characters of dubious repute. Could this be a case of art imitating life? Are these types of characters part of his DNA? To find out Michael will retrace the lives of his forebears, uncovering a family tragedy and an ancestor’s involvement in one of Australia’s greatest crime sprees.
Writer / Director: Russell Vines | Editors: Roland Smith & Beckett Broda
Director Of Photography: Ian Pugsley A.C.S. | Assistant Producer: Jessica Pradera
“ This episode of this popular series on multicultural broadcaster SBS makes for fascinating viewing and is heartwarming to watch.” – Sunday Mail Brisbane, Brisbane, 21/04/13
On the trail of his ancestors, actor Lex Marinos journeys into Australia’s colonial past to investigate an ancestor wrongly accused of a terrible crime. And in a one horse outback town he discovers that a revered relative is not all he seems.
Writer / Director: Kay Pavlou | Post Directors: Alan Carter & Steve Peddie | Editor: Beckett Broda
Director Of Photography: Ulrich-Stephan Krafzik | Assistant Producer: Cath Trimboli
“ This has been a particularly good season of Who Do You Think You Are? The quality continues in this episode about Lex Marinos...” – Daily Telegraph, Sydney, 26/04/13
Actor Susie Porter delves into her grandmother’s mental illness, unpicking a thread that reveals mental illness extends further back in her family than she knew. Susie faces the past head on and in a deeply personal way, her family story charts dramatic advances in the field of mental health treatment in Australia.
Writer / Director: Robert Wilkins | Post Director: Ruth Cullen | Editor: Peter Pritchard
Director Of Photography: Ulrich-Stephan Krafzik | Assistant Producer: Katherine Barrett
“ a poignant personal journey and a fascinating – and horrifying – look at the treatment of mental illness in Australia over the centuries” – Sunday Age, Melbourne, 05/05/13
Television presenter and comedian
Entertainer Rove McManus is in for a ride that will test even his famous appetite for the unexpected. Rove uncovers the truth that his beloved Pop kept to himself about his Second World War experience. He pieces together the shocking story of his Great Grandfather’s role in the violent frontier of the Kimberley, and the ironic twist of fate that brought him undone. And then there’s Rove’s own life long question – why am I the black sheep of the family, the only creative one? In the pages of a little book that’s been thoroughly defaced, he finds the astonishing answer.
Writer / Director: Victoria Midwinter Pitt | Editor: Beckett Broda
Director Of Photography: Ulrich-Stephan Krafzik | Assistant Producer: Katherine Barrett
“ Each of the episodes in this excellent series delivers something a little different but the best – like this ... leave the participant changed.” – Melinda Houston - Sunday Age, Melbourne, 12/05/13
Actor John Howard follows his Grandfather’s trail through the horrors of the Great War, finding a promising military career ruined by a single regrettable act. And he discovers a kindred spirit, an ancestor who fought for social justice - all the time battling his own demons.
Writer / Director: Steve Peddie | Editor: Beckett Broda
Director Of Photography: Ian Pugsley Acs | Assistant Producer: Joffa Hardy
“ This revealing series bows out in a flurry of emotion as legendary actor John Howard delves back into his ancestry.” – Sunday Times, Perth, 19/05/133
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.
The original UK series was created and produced by Wall to Wall Media.
'Who Do You Think You Are?' is a Serendipity Productions and Artemis International Production in association with SBS, ScreenWest, Lotterywest and Screen Australia. © Copyright 2012.
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."