Wednesday 10 August 2011, 13:55
The most exciting time for me on Who Do You Think You Are? is always the last days in the run up to transmission of the first episode. This year's 10-part series has taken over a year to make, so being able to see the finishing line is a moment to cherish and enjoy.
As the executive producer on the series, I'm responsible for every aspect of the production - from liaising with the celebrities taking part, to overseeing the research for each episode, to approving scripts, to viewing the programmes as they're being put together in an edit suite.
The great thing about WDYTYA is that every episode is completely different - and when we start researching stories, we literally have no idea what we might unearth.
Alan Cumming discusses his maternal grandfather
Alan's family weren't aware of this - knowing only that he'd died in a "shooting incident".
We, as a team, felt an enormous responsibility to Alan and his mum, but we also knew that they really wanted to know the truth.
The moment of discovery for Alan was, I think, hugely shocking, disturbing and upsetting - but ultimately brought his family the knowledge they'd desperately craved.
Luckily, it's not always tears and tragedy. It's fantastic to feature stories of great triumph and heroism.
Larry Lamb's film this year is very special to me as we managed to unite Larry with a relative he never knew he had - on the other side of the world - and there's real humour in this year's series too.
Alan Carr brings a fantastic sense of fun to his episode - even when there's bad news, he just keeps laughing.
So, with 10 extraordinary stories which cover four centuries, three continents and a year of research, filming and editing, I can't wait to hear what you make of the new series - and for everyone to discover the secrets and revelations that we've had to keep to ourselves for the past year.
Tom McDonald is the executive producer of Who Do You Think You Are?
Comments made by writers on the BBC TV blog are their own opinions and not necessarily those of the BBC.
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