Saturday 21 October 2017

Big Brother's Emma Willis shocked to find violent relative tortured Irish men on tonight's Who Do You Think You Are

Emma Willis, Who Do You Think You Are? BBC1, 9pm, Aug 3
Emma Willis, Who Do You Think You Are? BBC1, 9pm, Aug 3
Aoife Kelly

Aoife Kelly

Big Brother presenter Emma Willis is shocked by a disturbing revelation about her ancestors on tonight's Who Do You Think You Are?

The award-winning genealogy show sees the 41-year-old Brummie star trace her roots beyond Birmingham to Ireland.

Before she embarks on the search she says, "I come from a kind family and I hope that has been history repeating itself.

"I know nothing past my grandparents on either side and I think I've got to a point in my life where I want to know more.  I want to know more about me.  I want to know more about where I came from. 

"I don't know what's about to unfold.  Hopefully it's a positive outcome.  We all want to have a nice story, right?"

emma willis family.JPG
Emma Willis (bottom right) with her father's parents, Bill and Edna, her mother Cathy and sister Sharon. PIC: BBC

Unfortunately, one aspect of Emma's story turns out to be the opposite of what she had hoped.

The Sun reports that Emma finds out that her five times great grandfather Richard Fowler attempted to kill an Irish blacksmith and his son - and tortured them - in the late 18th century during a time of upheaval in Ireland.

Fowler, who was Protestant, broke into the Catholic blacksmith Michael Egan and his son Thomas's home and stabbed them with a bayonet before torturing them as he believed they were making weapons for the United Irishmen who fought British rule.

The men were only rescued from Fowler and his two accomplices when their screams were heard by another man.

Willis is reduced to tears over the news and says, "That’s horrific. How can you defend doing that to somebody? That was exactly what I didn’t want to find out.”

Who Do You Think You Are? airs on BBC1 at 9pm tonight.

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