A DNA journey with Joel and Tom

DNA Journey With Joel Dommett and Tom Allen (ITV, 9pm)
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The series that crosses Who Do You Think You Are? with Antiques Road Trip – it’s more of the former but takes the form of two mates driving around the country and needling one another much like the latter – continues, and the penultimate episode of this run promises to be very entertaining indeed.

Two stand-up comics whose stars have definitely risen thanks to them crossing over to mainstream presenting are Joel Dommett (The Masked Singer/Dancer) and Tom Allen (Bake Off: The Professionals/An Extra Slice). Not only do the pair move in similar circles thanks to their successes, they are also longstanding friends.

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They also, it seems, have something else in common: surprising family histories. Here the two embark on a revealing road trip around the UK, uncovering all sorts of remarkable stories written on branches of the family trees they never knew existed.

The series began three weeks ago with another pair of rib tickling best mates, Rob Beckett and Romesh Ranganathan, and there’s sure to be some competition between the two pairs as to whose episode has the biggest revelations. Tonight we get to see whether the high bar set by Rob and Rom is met.

During his presenting career, Joel hasn’t always seem to take things seriously, but he’s clearly stunned when he hears about one ancestor who not once, but twice, produced inventions that saved thousands, if not tens of thousands, of lives – and that could even be said to have helped end the First World War.

Joel has long felt rootless, not knowing where his family truly belongs. It’s thanks to his DNA that the pair take a trip up north to learn more, where Joel’s in for a big surprise.

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Plummy Tom, meanwhile, has some mysteries of his own. He often felt like a fish out of water growing up in south London, and now, after losing his beloved father, he hopes that learning about his own past will help to secure his dad’s presence.

Through a combination of in-depth genealogy and cutting-edge DNA analysis, the Bake Off cynic learns of a possible reason that explains his feelings of not fitting in. An Irish connection is discovered, leading to the emotional story of his great-grandparents who went from a criminal past to a successful career on the stage.

However a tragic turn meant that the couple had to give up their baby girl, Tom’s beloved grandmother, for adoption.

Then Tom, Joel and the researchers all get the shock of their lives when it’s revealed that Tom is in fact related to true TV royalty.

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Granted it’s not quite as headline-grabbing Danny Dyer finding out he is actual royalty or Josh Widdecombe discovering that he is the 15 times great-grandson of King Henry VIII, but for an entertainer such as himself it must be immensely satisfying to say the least.

Some people just have funny bones – and Tom at least has very entertaining genes indeed.

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