Who Do You Think You Are, ITV? DNA Journey is a rip-off – iNews

DNA

DNA Journey is a cousin once-removed of the more venerable genealogical blockbuster Who Do You Think You Are? As with the BBC hit, we accompanied celebrities on a journey of discovery into their family history. All going well, they would uncover an ancestor packed off to the poorhouse or exiled to Tasmania and tears would flow with abandon.

The big gimmick with DNA Journey is that, rather than a solitary celeb wading through the archives, two A-listers with overlapping life experiences are paired up. And so in the final episode of the latest series, we joined gold medallist skaters and Dancing On Ice judges Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean for a pirouette through their family histories.

More on TV Reviews

The success or failure of these shows rests on the celebrities. And while Torvill and Dean were full value for their national treasure status, they could have done with some of the cheeky chutzpah of previous DNA Journey stars such as Ant and Dec. Instead, they smiled politely as it was revealed one of Dean’s ancestors was a trade union campaigner for better rights for miners. Torvill’s eyes widened with the revelation that a distant relative had captained West Ham to cup final glory at Wembley.

But if this were a twirl on the ice-rink, it would be bronze medals all around. The plodding pace quickened only once, when the duo took a spin past Dean’s old family home in Nottingham. He came close to tears as he recalled his mother leaving when he was six and his stepmother moving in immediately afterwards.

But the moment passed and off they drove. An episode that had the potential to tug at the heart-strings became just another box-ticking skate down memory lane.