Sir Ian McKellen discovers an ancestor who campaigned for workers’ rights in Who Do You Think You Are?

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16 January 2017
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800px-Ian_McKellen_-_1-3-38081.jpg Sir Ian McKellen
Actor Ian McKellen, the latest celebrity to be featured on Who Do You Think You Are, discovers strong links to his own career and beliefs in the first 2017 episode of the popular family history TV show.

Actor Ian McKellen, the latest celebrity to be featured on Who Do You Think You Are, discovers strong links to his own career and beliefs in the first 2017 episode of the popular family history TV show.

In the latest episode of Who Do You Think You Are, screened on 25 January 2017, Sir Ian McKellen meets experts who share with him the story of his family’s past. Sir Ian learns that his ancestors include a political activist who fought for the rights of workers in a campaign that spread across the UK; a theatrical ancestor; and a forebear with links to an ancient Lake District landmark.

The life of Sir Ian McKellen

Ian McKellen was born on 25 May 1939 in Burnley, Lancashire, to Dennis Murray McKellen and Margery Lois (nee Sutcliffe). Ian is of both Irish and Scottish descent and lost his mother at the age of twelve, after which the family moved to Bolton.

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Sir Ian McKellen CH CBE is recognised as one of the UK’s finest actors, having received a host of awards and prizes, including six Olivier Awards, two Oscar nominations and four BAFTA nominations. He received a CBE in 1979 and was knighted for services to the performing arts in 1991.

A campaigning ancestor

According to The Telegraph newspaper, Sir Ian’s episode of Who Do You Think You Are will include an exploration of the achievements of his great-great-grandfather Robert Lowe, who campaigned for Manchester workers to be given Saturday afternoon off work, prompting one of the programme’s experts to call him ‘the grandfather of the modern weekend’.

Before the programme, Sir Ian spoke to the Radio Times about his hopes for what he would find out from the show: “What I had always hoped was true about the McKellens, was an attitude to life – doing good and helping other people.”

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Episode six of Who Do You Think You Are is screened on 25 January at 8pm and available on BBC iPlayer thereafter.

 

 

 

 

 

(Image copyright Southbanksteve)