Who Do You Think You Are 2021: when is BBC series on TV and who is the cast - from Joe Lycett to Josh Widdicombe

The BAFTA award winning show returns to BBC One for its 18th series with a celeb lineup including Alex Scott and Judi Dench

Who Do You Think You Are? That’s the question posed to well-known British faces in the latest series of the BBC One show.

The award-winning ancestral history docu-series returned in October with a star-studded lineup of celebrities intrigued to find out more about their past and where they come from.

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‘Who Do You Think You Are?’ has previously uncovered surprising, heartwarming and historic stories about the likes of actress Anne Reid and GBBO judge Paul Hollywood.

So, who will take part in the upcoming series and when is it on TV? This is what you need to know.

When is ‘Who Do You Think You Are?’on TV?

The 18th series, consisting of seven episodes, launched on BBC One at 9pm on Tuesday 12 October.

The series runs weekly, across seven successive weeks on Tuesdays at 9pm.

Who are the 2021 participants of Who Do You Think You Are?

Labour politician Ed Balls, actress Dame Judi Dench, singer Pixie Lott and comedian Joe Lycett are among the celebrities delving into their family histories in this series of the show.

Also in the lineup is former footballer and BBC pundit Alex Scott, Youtuber and singer Joe Sugg, and comedian and presenter Josh Widdicombe.

Josh Widdicombe

Josh Widdicombe finds out he has royal roots (Picture: Getty Images)

In the first episode, Widdicombe discovers that he has some royal roots when he traces his lineage back to the Elizabethan and Tudor Courts.

Dame Judi Dench

In episode two, Dame Judi Dench discovers her Danish roots, facts about her father’s experience of World War I and discovers acting runs in her lineage, as she uncovers Shakespearean connections.

Dame Judi Dench has Shakespeare connections (Picture: BBC)

Ed Balls

When Ed Balls takes a dive into his family’s ancestry, he discovers bravery and some less favourable conduct. He also finds out how his family survived the agricultural depression of the 1820s.

Labour’s Ed Balls features in the upcoming series (Picture: Getty Images)

Alex Scott

BBC Sport presenter Alex Scott rediscovers her Jamaican and Jewish heritage, as she learns of the trials and tribulations of previous generations.

On her mother’s side, her Jewish ancestry takes her on an exploration of her great granddad’s fight against fascism in London’s East End in 1936. When she travels to Jamaica, she discovers the hardships and upsetting history of her father’s family.

Presenter Alex Scott discovers more about her Jewish and Jamaican heritage (Picture: Getty Images)

Pixie Lott

Pixie Lott expects to find out more about her Italian ancestry from Verona - but the reality isn’t what she expected. She discovers three generations of musical talent, as well as her great grandfather’s harrowing experiences in the First World War.

Singer Pixie Lott has music in her genes (Picture: Getty Images)

Joe Lycett

Comedian and presenter Joe Lycett manages to find humour everywhere, but he discovers a darker family history as he finds out that his two-times-great grandfather was a boy chimney sweep in the 1850s who later joined the Royal Marines and travelled the world, but struggled to process his experiences.

Comedian Joe Lycett discovers some dark family history (Picture: Getty Images)


YouTuber, actor and Strictly runner up Joe Sugg ventures down his ancestral path with the help of his big sister and fellow celeb, Zoe. They discover a great-great-great grandfather who was involved in the earliest days of communication by telegraph and records dating all the way back to the Great Fire of London.

Joe Sugg enlists the help of sister Zoe, as he discovers more about his heritage (Picture: Getty Images)

Ahead of the upcoming series, Executive Producer Colette Flight told the BBC: “The incredible personal stories [the participants] unearth of their ancestors’ lives - from royal love triangles to labourers fighting for their rights, from Victorian child sweeps to battling fascists in London’s East end - reflect and illuminate all our collective history.”

Where can I watch other celebrities’ ‘Who Do You Think You Are’ episodes?

The acclaimed series has been running since 2004 and has featured some of the biggest names in television, film and print.

You can catch up on 50 episodes from previous series, featuring the likes of Kate Winslet, Daniel Radcliffe, Anita Rani, Graham Norton and David Walliams, on BBC iPlayer.