BBC One announces Meet The Izzards

Date: 05.10.2012     Last updated: 18.03.2014 at 17.57
Category: BBC One; Factual
Comedian and actor Eddie Izzard is about to set out on a very personal and epic journey in a new travelogue documentary series for BBC One.

In Meet The Izzards - two one-hour specials - Eddie will use his own DNA to tell the story of modern humans and the Izzards. The latest cutting-edge DNA science means that the secrets of Eddie’s family history across 10,000 generations, locked in his genes, can now be revealed.

Eddie is going to explore his family’s 200,000 year story from its origins in Africa right up to the present day in Britain. Tracing his ancestral footsteps, he will follow the exodus of the tiny group of intrepid explorers who left the continent 70,000 years ago and populated the rest of the world. Along the way he will meet lots of his modern DNA cousins, learn how much sex we had with Neanderthals, discover why he has blue eyes and ginger hair and ask questions like why do we share 40% of our DNA with onions?

Eddie Izzard says: "I was very keen to film a documentary following my own DNA because it not only tells me who the hell I am, but also, as we go back thousands of years, who everyone else is."

He’ll explore the landscapes that shaped the human experience, and the key moments on the human journey that took the Izzards from hunter-gatherers to farmers and comedians who witnessed the rise and fall of our great civilisations. For Eddie it’s a great way to meet as many of his DNA cousins as he can and bring back home a deeper understanding of how we all became who we are and how Eddie became Eddie Izzard.

The series was commissioned by BBC One Controller, Danny Cohen, and Head of Documentaries, Charlotte Moore, and is executive produced for the BBC by Clare Paterson and for Western Front Films by Eric Harwood. The series producer and director is Harvey Lilley.

Charlotte Moore, Head of Documentaries, says: “We’re thrilled that Eddie will be fronting this very special two-part series on BBC One. It’s a fascinating project - a unique travelogue with a strong science proposition and all underscored by Eddie’s wit and humour."

Eric Harwood, Creative Director of Western Front Films, says: “Meet The Izzards gives Eddie the chance to follow the incredible journey that his hunter-gathering forefathers and mothers made as they travelled from Africa into the Middle East and eventually into Europe."

“Eddie will be the first person to complete this epic exploration based on a simple saliva swab that after analysis reveals the route-map of his DNA family tree.”

Meet the Izzards is expected to air in early 2013.

SS