I've never liked fair-haired blue-eyed blokes very much so this is not the reason why I like Rupert Penry-Jones. He happened to be the hero in my favourite TV show, Spooks, for several seasons and being I not blind and him so handsome and a good actor, I couldn't avoit being interested if not attracted. More in his Adam Carter than in the man himself.Then I saw him in the uniform of my favourite Austen hero, Captain Wentworth, and he was so charming! "Too beautiful" many commented. Beauty is never too much!
I didn't know much about him, I had never seen interviews or read about him on line, but thanks to a friend living in England I heard he had taken part in this real life show, "Who do you think you are", so I started wishing to see it. Till last night, when I finally saw it. 
It was a very good programme, so interesting, and an emotional watching. In this show, celebrities go hunting in search for new about their ancestors. The previous week it had been the turn of Rupert's wife, Dervla Kirwan.

 At first Rupert visits his mother, actress Angela Thorne, (his father, Welsh actor Peter Penry-Jones died last year) and they talk about her parents, especially her father/his grandpa. There is a period in Mr Thorne's life, he didn't like to talk about and Rupert and his mother would like to discover more: as a doctor in the British Army, William Thorne served  as a doctor with the Indian Medical Corps at the Battle of Monte Cassino in Italy  when the Allies were forcing the Germans out of our country. So Rupert leaves  England for Italy (Cassino,  centre of Italy, Lazio, not far from my town) to search for news about his grandpa. There he meets an old British officer who was at Cassino at that time, who didn't know his grandfather personally but saw the atrocity of the war with his own eyes. "It was like watching a horror movie, only you were inside, you were part of the movie".

It was touching. I've told you somewhere in this blog   (HERE) that I was brought up and lullied at night NOT with fairy-tales by parents but with true, war stories by my own granpa. So, you can imagine how touching the situation sounded to me. Well, Rupert was astonished and moved when he discovered his grandfather had taken care of and saved 1500 wounded soldiers!
 Then in the second part of the programme Rupert goes to India, where his mother lived until the age of 5 (his mother was born in  Karachi, in what is now Pakistan from British parents). Rupert often heard from his mother that there was Indian blood in their veins but he couldn't believe that: "just look at me! Do I look anything Indian?"
So he starts a new quest  to discover more. He is really fascinated by the ancient documents he can touch and read. He succeeds in going back to 8 generations before himself to know more about his Indian roots. From time to time, he had some difficulty while reading the documents they showed him, not only for the peculiar handwriting. He candidly admits he is dyslexic!
Rupert resulted a very likeable  man and it was good to see him actually taking notes as the stories unfolded.
Many people prefer stars or  public figures remain behind the screen of their glamorous facade  and keep their private lives and personalities secret. I'm not one of them. I love to discover these people we think so special and heroic are just very human, just like us. I appreciate them even more. 
P.S. An additional value to the show: narrator - Mark Strong! 

Guess what? Now I've added a new wish to my already endless wishlist! I've started dreaming of a very special issue of  "Who do you think you are"... Please BBC, can you try to get Richard Armitage for your next series ? He certainly has interesting ancestors. One was even a cotton-mill owner like his character , John Thornton!


Traxy said...

I'd love to see RA on that show! There are a few shows I'd love to see him on, actually - need to start writing them down, I think! *giggle*

I didn't know RPJ and Dervla Kirwan were a couple! That's fascinating! Watched the episode with RPJ but have to admit I was probably on my computer at the time and didn't follow it very closely. The episode with DK was on the other week and I caught half of it when it was on and watched the other half online. But then, I did come into the programme in the middle of discussing her being related to Michael Collins and the time of the Irish civil war which immediately grabbed my attention and didn't let go! :)

Anyway, RPJ seemed like a really nice guy and his Captain Wentworth was just about the only redeeming quality of the horrid 2007 Persuasion adaptation. (Just couldn't get into what on earth the man saw in that dreadful, wooden plank of a woman!)

Very good post! :)

MaryKwizMiz said...

the only other thing apart from Spooks I saw him in (I think :)) was Whitechapel. and I quite liked his performance (and the show). I guess it's for the same 'blondes too bland (?)" reason that I never really got into him (by the time I discovered Spooks a certain dark-haired one was taking over and I had to 'back-watch' the other seasons.. no good it did him that I always compared him with Mr. A.
Must try and check out some of his other films.

lunarossa said...

What a great review of Who Do you Think You are! I'm so glad you liked it. It's my and my husband's favourite documentary on the BBC and I don't think we've ever missed any episodes. As you know, I love RPJ and I love him even more now after "getting to know" the man beyond the actor. If you haven't seen Whitechapel, pls do. He's excellent in it. And I liked The 39 Steps (2008) too, although a lot of "purists" didn't. But my favourite role of his is and will always be Adam in Spooks. I cried like a baby when he dies in the car explosion! Hope the BBC will do an episode about RA too....Ciao. A.

Adriana Sales Zardini said...

Ciao Maria!
your blog is really great! lots of information and Richard on the right side was a great discover!! thanks!

I saw you have a blog with your students.
I used blog with my students in the past too! Now, I'm starting a new blog with my beginners students.


Adriana Sales Zardini said...

Sorry... I forgot the link: www.englishexpedition.blogspot.com

Anonymous said...

Oh! I must check this out. Thanks.
I do really like Adam Carter in Spooks. Sure, he seems to fall in love with every woman he sleeps with, but it's ok. He's still a great spook. :-)

Also, I did think he was too hot for Sally Hawkins (in that hairstyle) in Persuasion.

Phylly3 said...

Sounds like a wonderful show! I too would very much enjoy an episode where RA discovers his ancestors.
I have seen a similar series on CBC called "Ancestors in the Attic", and another one on a U.S. channel, but I can't remember the name. Genealogy is such a wonderful way to learn about history!

Alessia Carmicino said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Alessia Carmicino said...

saw it when I was in London last week!!I like it very much and I wish i could watch other episodes thanks to internet!

Anonymous said...

Loved RPJ as Adam in Spooks and in 39 Steps. He's the role model for Poli in Shifu Cloth, my latest manuscript. Who do you think you are is fascinating although we are quite far behind the UK version.

On the topic of genealogy, I've just discovered that I am descended from a convict who was transported to Tasmania in the 1830's for stealing a sheep. He was incarcerated at Port Arthur which was hell on earth for English, Irish and Scots criminals in the nineteenth century. Fantastic history to have within the family.

Lua said...

I loved this post Maria- thank you so much!
Captain Wentworth is my #1 Austen hero so you can guess my obsession with him, to me he is a very handsome man; charming, forgiving and dreamy :)

Marg said...

I love watching Who Do You Think You Are?, but I don't think I have seen the RPJ version yet. Would love, love, love to see a RA version!

Becky said...

Wow, what an interesting family history he has. Thanks for sharing the contents of the show with us, as many of us will never get to see it. Thanks!

AnnikaD said...

What a great program which interesting family-tree Rupert have. I would also have a desire to see Richard Armitage in his family tree as you. It would be fun with Sean Bean and Fiennes brothers what do you think about it?