Friday, February 25, 2011

WDYTYA - Kim Cattrall - Deja Vu!

I had a tremendous sense of deja vu watching Who Do You Think You Are? tonight.  Here's why:  Last March, Linda and I took a three week holiday in Australia and New Zealand.  We flew on an A380 (the biggest commercial aircraft) on Qantas Airways from Los Angeles to Sydney - a really long flight.  The aircraft had a wonderful entertainment system, even in coach, and I quickly found several British Who Do You Think You Are? episodes, and watched two of them.

One of those episodes was Kim Cattrall, searching for her grandfather.  I didn't remember all of the details I saw tonight, but I did recall many of the scenes and the family members shown tonight.  By 15 minutes into the show tonight, I knew that it was essentially the same show as I'd seen last year on the airplane.

It appears to me that almost all of the scenes we saw in tonight's episode were from the English show which was probably produced two or three years ago.

I really enjoyed the show tonight - again - because it shows how difficult it is to track people who lived during the 20th century.  There are records available, but they are not always easy to find because of our mobility.  A man in 1939 could run away from one family and start another in a city just 150 miles away and live with some confidence that he would never be found.  In the worst case, they could change their name and never be found. 

Some comments about the show:

*  It was never said how they knew that this was the same George Baugh.  It turned out to be, but it would have helped if they had corroborated the birth date or his parents names as being identical to prove that it was the same person.

*  It was amusing to me that the best clue to the second family was a telephone book in a pub.  Kim was lucky to have known the Oliver name, and to have looked for it.  It was also good luck that Maisie had not married again.  Serendipity... they didn't mention it, but it played a part in this show.

*  I was really confused by the "Cattrall Family" family tree on Ancestry.com which showed that George Baugh had died in 1974 and Isabella had died in 1990.  Was there another Cattrall researcher who owned the tree and knew these facts?  Or was this added by the show's researchers after some research in Australian records? 

*  Why were the three Baugh sisters in Vancouver at the end of the show?  Is that where Shane really lived?  Didn't Kim confer with them in Liverpool at the start of the show? 

*  I wasn't surprised that the graphic at the end noted that the three sisters had been in contact with their half-siblings in Australia.  After all, it's been two or three years since the show was filmed. 

10 comments:

Banai Lynn Feldstein said...

To answer a few of your questions/comments... The original was aired in August 2009. They did use the exact same footage. The Ancestry plug at the end was added to the US version, so there's no telling when it was looked up. And the epilogue graphic was also in the BBC version.

JenS said...

Hi Randy,
Kim Cattrall and her family emigrated to Canada when she was an infant. She grew up in British Columbia - her mother must still live there. As a Canadian, I was happy to see at least a little of that connection, though they certainly didn't make it clear.
Jen

Banai Lynn Feldstein said...

Was it not in the US version why they started in Liverpool and ended in Vancouver? I was trying to watch both at once to compare. Pretty sure they mentioned that at least one of the three sisters lives in Liverpool and the other(s) were visiting, and then vice versa in Vancouver.

EricJ said...

Her mother was mentioned (at least in the BBC version) as "over from Canada, visiting her two younger sisters", so by the end of the episode, those two sisters were visiting her "back home" in Vancouver.

Also, one of the two major deleted scenes (both on the NBC site as extras) was about finding George Baugh by name and birth year having emigrated at the time he "disappeared" to the US as a stowaway and sent back to England.

The same on-screen line about having made contact with the half-siblings was also shown in the BBC version, so it wasn't a real update from the original.

I really missed the second deleted scene, stating historical context about divorce laws and potential punishments for the bigamy crime.

EricJ said...

Also: I'll have to watch the online version to catch the Ancestry.com tree you mentioned to be positive about this...

But skimming through the BBC version, the only Ancestry(.co.uk) portion was searching ship registers during the stowaway clip, the search part of which is not on the website extra clips. The NBC site extra shows only the single "correct" hit after finding three possibles and narrowing it down, and no clip of a failed second search to see if he had tried it again later).

A Cattrall tree wasn't in the BBC version that I remember or saw during a sped-up scan; maybe that was a two-year delay "update" portion.

Anonymous said...

I thought this was a lousy WDYTYA episode. I did not like it. They really left a lot out. Don't ww have any American's we could have researched?
Not the best show. Why the old repeat?

Kevin said...

I have to say, I really disliked the show tonight. So far, the other shows really came off as a discovery of ones passed, or an explanation of why something happened, this one just seemed to be a character assassination. Not trying to defend the guy [for bagging on his family], but did we need an entire show about it (just the one the one guy)?

dee-burris said...

I was disappointed that WDYTYA US did not advertise this as an encore showing, only leaving out relevant information from the BBC version.

Valerie Craft said...

I watched the BBC episode a few months ago and, comparing the two, thought that the BBC episode was better.

Like EricJ said, the US version cut out a very interesting piece where George stowed away to the US once and returned before he finally left his family. This really helped to show the type of guy George was. Also, the online family tree was not in the BBC version. Instead they talked more about what George did in Australia and showed photos of his life there. I wonder if they put the tree in to make up for them taking out the stow away piece where they had used ancestry.com

Geni Grant said...

It's probably very frustrating for fans of the UK version, but I'm really pleased that we're seeing some of the footage here in the US. Don't wanna miss out.