Kevin Whately, famous for playing working-class characters, in fact has a surprisingly affluent family history. Kevin begins his journey in his home town of Newcastle where he investigates the career of his grandmother Doris, a singer whom he believed failed to fulfil her true potential. Doris' father was the self-made 'fishing king' of the north-east and Kevin next tries to discover what became of his fortune and the business empire he built.
Delving much further back into his family history, Kevin uncovers an 18th century ancestor who was a turkey trader. Intrigued that he could descend from a 'Georgian Bernard Matthews' Kevin investigates further, but the truth he uncovers is even more surprising. The trail leads him to the Bank of England, the Royal Exchange and finally to a vast country estate in Surrey.
Kevin then pushes his family tree even further back into the 17th century, where he's amazed to discover that his ancestors, the Thomson brothers, were amongst the richest and most powerful men of their time. Not only were they close associates of Oliver Cromwell, but their fortune, made in the new colonies of America and the West Indies, helped fund the Parliamentarians in the English Civil War.
Visit this page after the show on Monday 2nd March to find out more about Kevin's story.
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