Who Do You Think You Are?: Aug 26

2014-08-24_2156It’s the season final of Who Do You Think You Are? this week, featuring Paul McDermott.

As reported last week, the SBS series is currently casting for its next season.

Entertainer Paul McDermott found fame with The Doug Anthony All-Stars and Good News Week. In more recent years he has stepped out of the limelight to pursue his passion for art. ButPaul’s family history remains something of a blank canvas.

Paul knows that his mum, Betty, was adopted and raised by relatives. But mystery surrounds the circumstances, and Betty’s adoptive parents died without leaving her any information. In the new Australian series of Who Do you Think You Are? Paul travels to his birth place in Adelaide, and follows the trail back to the early 20th century and a family torn apart by poverty and a decimating epidemic.

Paul’s quest begins with a trip to Canberra to visit his mum Betty. Her childhood was one of secrets and whispers. Betty shows Paul a photo of her as a child with two older women – her Aunt Hilda and the woman she knew as mother, Teresa Thomson. Teresa was in fact her great aunt. When Betty reached early adulthood she received an inheritance from her biological grandfather’s estate. It confirmed Betty’s adoption and revealed that her birth family surname was Williams. The only other thing Betty knows about her birth parents is that they met in an infectious diseases hospital for people with tuberculosis.

To find out more about his maternal grandparents, Kathleen Riley and Harold Williams, Paul travels to Naracoorte in regional South Australia and the home of second cousin Carol Bennier, Aunt Hilda’s daughter. Paul reads a recount written by Aunt Hilda of her early life which reveals the hardships the Riley family faced. Their father died young at 42 of an industrial disease and just two years later the State removed the children from their mother Edith.

7:30pm Tuesday August 26 SBS ONE.

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