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Rupert Penry-Jones

Actor Rupert Penry-Jones traces his family tree to learn about his ancestors, an investigation which takes him all the way to Allahabad in India.

Actor Rupert Penry-Jones has made his name playing dashing, quintessentially English heroes. But his family background is very different. His mother, actress Angela Thorne, was born in Karachi, when it was part of British India.

Rupert doesn't know much about his Raj relatives, but there is a family story that there is Indian blood in the family. Rupert is keen to find out the truth. He remembers his grandfather on his mothers' side, Bill, who was a doctor in India, and decides to start his search there.

Bill was a doctor in the Indian Medical Service and saw action in the Second World War, in the Italian Campaign at Monte Cassino. Rupert is keen to find out more about the Field Ambulance corps that Bill commanded, who were supporting the 8th Indian Division at the battle. He travels to Italy, and is humbled and impressed by his grandfather's unsung heroism.

Rupert wants to know when the Indian connection with his family first started. A trail of documents reveal that his great-great-great-great grandfather, Thomas, was the first Thorne in India. Rupert decides to follow in his footsteps to India. He travels to Allahabad, and discovers that Thomas was involved in the Great Indian Rebellion… but Rupert will have to go back even further if he's to discover the truth.

1 hour

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Credits

Role Contributor
Director Kate Scholefield
Producer Carrie Britton
Participant Rupert Penry-Jones

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