Lesley Manville’s family secrets revealed on Who Do You Think You Are?

Actor Lesley Manville is the latest celebrity to delve into her family history on Who Do You Think You Are? tonight.

The latest series continues this evening (Thursday, 27 July) at 9PM on BBC One.

Lesley Manville’s quest to uncover the truth about her family’s past takes her on a compelling journey that begins with a search through Brighton’s local archives.

Who Do You Think You Are? Lesley Manville. Credit: BBC/Wall to Wall/Stephen Perry
Who Do You Think You Are? Lesley Manville. Credit: BBC/Wall to Wall/Stephen Perry

The family rumours surrounding her maternal grandparents, James and Harriet, come to light, revealing a complex story of wartime separation, adultery, and the constraints of divorce laws that led to their unconventional family arrangement.

While Lesley and her sister Diana once perceived their grandfather as an unpleasant man, the historical records paint a different picture, portraying him as a kind and loving individual, leaving Lesley profoundly moved by this revelation.

As she delves further into her family history, Lesley turns her attention to her father’s lineage, and the discoveries become even more surprising. Her focus shifts to solving the mystery surrounding her three-times great-grandfather, Aaron Harding. With no death record available, the circumstances of his fate remain unknown.

Aaron was a widower struggling to support his large family as an agricultural worker in rural Hampshire during 1830 when he protested against poor conditions and wages, becoming involved in the infamous Swing Riots. His activism resulted in his arrest and eventual transportation to Australia.

Intrigued by this significant figure in her family’s past, Lesley embarks on a journey across the world, following Aaron’s trail to Australia, in search of the truth about his final days.

In this compelling exploration, Lesley’s quest leads her to uncover family members she never knew existed, adding more layers to the intricate tapestry of her ancestry. As she unearths the forgotten stories of her forebears, Lesley gains a deeper understanding of her family’s resilience, hardships, and hidden connections that have shaped her identity.

Who Do You Think You Are? continues Thursday night at 9PM on BBC One and iPlayer.

Other celebs featuring on the latest series include Andrew Lloyd Webber, Bear Grylls, Emily Atack, Kevin Clifton and Claire Foy.