A Day at Who Do You Think You Are Live

Day one of Who Do You Think You Are Live show today, now relocated to the NEC. We leave our caravan in good time to run the gamut of rush hour traffic and arrive in a car park some considerable way away from the NEC. I should stress that we have an exhibitor’s car parking permit but ten minutes’ walk away is as good as it gets. Our impending visit to Russia means that we have been advised to be injected to protect ourselves from Hepititis A. Ever law abiding, we have just done this, meaning that we each have an arm that hurts when you try to carry anything heavy. We have books, seventeenth century regalia and other precious possessions to transport. There is a shuttle bus but we have form for taking trollies full of books on public transport, so we opt for walking.

On arrival, I do a reccy of where I am to be speaking and the helpful tech guy loads my presentation on to the lap-top. I start the rounds of saying hello and showing my face at the four stands where I have a connection. Great to see copies of my ’Til Death us do Part: causes of death 1300-1948 book for the first time.


Photo by Julie Goucher

Then it was time to give the talk that was actually not about creating your family. Pleased to find that the capacity audience did not all walk out when I explained the mistake. I was speaking in studio 4. For those who have never been to these events, ‘studio’ is somewhat of a misnomer. It basically means a screened off part of the arena. The problem with studio 4 is that it is dangerously near to studio 3. The decidedly weird headset and the PA system to which I have been wired-up means that you can’t hear what you are saying. To make matters worse every word uttered by the speaker in studio 3 is loud and clear; it is interesting and makes it very difficult to focus. After a few minutes I have learned to zone out studio 3 and my session seemed to go well.

Then it was time to give way to Mistress Agnes and I hasten to the ladies to make the transformation. The queue is probably the longest I have seen since I went to a pop festival in Hyde Park in the 1970s. If I wait at the end of this Mistress Agnes will not be putting in an appearance toady. I shuffle past all these ladies, many of whom have crossed legs, muttering ‘I am not going to the toilet, I am just getting changed’. I then entertain the queue by struggling in to shift and bodice whilst squashed between wash basins and hand dryers. Mistress Agnes and Master Christopher attract a fair bit of attention from the show’s official media types, still we don’t do this to keep a low profile. Spent some time on the Unlock the Past stand, advertising our Baltic cruise. After eight hours on our feet we call it a day but of course we get to do it all again tomorrow.

Back to the van to find a Swords and Spindles’ booking in my inbox – busy times.



3 comments on “A Day at Who Do You Think You Are Live

  1. Brenda Turner says:

    Your presentation was excellent Janet. Every time I hear you speak I write down a few gems that will help my research. It is SO worthwhile hearing from an expert. I would never have thought of estate agent’s details on an ancestor’s house!
    I wish I had known you were getting into costume: I would have stuck around. Will be attending today’s session as well, if it’s not sold out as yesterday’s was ……

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