As you might expect from the ruddy-cheeked, cantankerous Newsnight presenter, Jeremy Paxman was dismissive of the show even after agreeing to be on it, claiming to have pretty much no interest whatsoever in his ancestors. Little did he know that he would soon have the nation stunned after actually shedding a tear when he discovered the tragic poverty that his father's side of the family had to endure during the industrial revolution in Yorkshire. His mother's side had suffered just as much, with his great-great-grandmother trying to bring up nine children in the most unsanitary of conditions. As he reflects on his research, a clearly humbled and emotional Jeremy tells the camera: "We just don't know we're born, do we?"
For the renowned actress Sheila Hancock, her personal journey centred around the unravelling of something of a mystery. After her mother died, Sheila came into possession of a sepia-tinted photograph of a painting of a woman named Madam Zurhorst. The search for this exotically-named lady takes her all the way back to 1835 where she eventually discovers that her well-to-do great-great-great grandmother, one Ann-Judith Zurhorst, must be the wealthy women of leisure in the painting. In a touching conclusion, Sheila manages to locate Madam Zurhorst's grave so that she can pay her respects at the end of an amazing journey.
The revered comedian, writer and QI quizmaster might appear the quintessential posh and privileged Englishman, but it is soon revealed that Stephen Fry actually descends from East European Jewish stock. His grandfather Martin Neumann had come with his wife to Britain in 1927 to develop a sugar factory in Suffolk. However, the rest of those Neumanns who were unfortunate enough to stay behind in what is now modern day Slovakia suffered a tragic fate, killed during the Holocaust. Get the tissues at the ready - this is one of the most emotional episodes of Who Do You Think You Are? to date.
The episode featuring the camp comedian was one of those truly worthy of the word "journey". Julian Clary knew little about his family tree and begins to flesh things out as he learns how RAF mechanic grandfather Jack Clary struggled to cope with life after the First World War and became a voluntary patient at a psychiatric hospital in Hertfordshire during the 1930s. Further research reveals Julian's extended German ancestry on both sides of the family, much to his mother's surprise, as he travels to Trier - the birthplace of his great-grandmother Theresa.
For this northern star of stage and screen, Jane Horrocks research kept her much closer to her roots - the small Lancashire town of Rawtenstall she left aged 18 for the bright lights of London to become an actress. On the whole, her family had lived there for generations and Jane was particularly interested in her great-grandmother Sarah Cunliffe. This strong, working-class woman did not marry until her late 30s, having worked as a cotton weaver for years to support her family. Jane also comes across a long-lost "forgotten" sibling of Sarah called Ernest - the black sheep of the family who emigrated to Australia after his elder sister, who he had been living with, married a strict Methodist.