Who Do you think you are?
Thursday / BBC1
Strictly’s Craig Revel Horwood discovers there was a gold-mining pioneer among his Essex ancestors.‘i could have got a part in TOWIE, darling,’ he says.
Strictly judge Craig revel Horwood on tracing his roots and his delight at finding another dancer in his family
TV Times is witnessing something very unusual – Craig Revel Horwood is laughing! The famously stern Strictly Come Dancing judge can’t contain his glee, darling, after his discovery that he is not the only member of the Revel Horwood clan to have tripped the light fantastic.
In this week’s episode of Who Do You Think You Are?, Craig, 52, heads back to his native Australia where he learns that his great-great grandfather, Harry Macklin Shaw, was the champion clog dancer of Australasia in the 1870s.
Here, he tells TV Times about his twinkle-toed ancestor, and how he missed out on a family fortune…
Why did you want to take part? Because I knew nothing about my family history. As a professional dancer, what they call a ‘dance gypsy’, you’re constantly travelling around, you don’t have any ties, you feel alone and never really know where you are from. So I wanted to do it because I’ve settled down now, and I wanted to find out why I’ve felt at home from the moment I stepped onto British soil. I discovered that I’m from Essex, darling! I was shocked because if I’d known about it before, I could have got a part in TOWIE!
We’d love to see that! What else did you want to find out?
Well, I found a passion for dance
when I was young, but I couldn’t understand why, because it’s unusual for a teenage boy from Ballarat, as Australia is quite butch. It wasn’t the done thing there to put on ballet tights and tap dance; it’s like a Billy Elliot story. My paternal grandfather, Revel, who we called Moza, clowned around and my mum, Beverley, was a hoofer back in the day in an amateur group called The Sunshine Girls, but I thought I was the only one that really had showbiz blood and
I wanted to know why.
How did you feel when you learned that your great-great grandfather Harry was a champion clog dancer?
It was wonderful! He used to challenge people to a dance-off and he’d get up and give it a bit of clog work and became the champion. Now I feel that it’s in our blood and performance has run down the generations. Harry came from the mills in Greater Manchester and went to Australia to find out who he was and find his fortune, and I’ve done the same in reverse by coming to the UK. I wish I could tell him what I have done.
You had a go at clog dancing on the show, was it tricky?
I’ve never clogged before in my life and the shoes were extremely heavy, but I did get into it, and
I’ve kept the clogs. I’ve also got some fake sheep in my garden now to pay homage to the fact that Harry worked on a sheep station in Australia.
What was it like to find out about your paternal great-great-great grandfather, Charles Tinworth, who was part of the 19th-century Australian gold rush?
The suffering the family went through was heartbreaking. They came over from Essex and mined and panned for gold hoping to find the magic nugget that would change their life, but you forget about the hardships there. Their hospitals were literally a tent. But I feel my family gave me so much through all their hard work and
I’m here to continue that ambition.
The Tinworths got rich after discovering gold, but the money went to the boys in the family and not your great-grandmother, Lizzie Tinworth. Were you upset? It was devastating! If the law had been different darling, old Lizzie would’ve been rich and I could’ve had pools and mansions! At least there was money in the family, although I didn’t get any of it.
You already knew that your paternal great-great grandfather Moses Horwood was a convict, were you nervous about what you might discover?
I was worried about what he had done! Was it going to be murder? But it turned out he stole some money and jewels from a hotel and he was sent off to Australia and started a new life in Ballarat after serving his sentence. Later I discovered that half the family were convicts, but the other half, like Harry and Charles, just went to Australia for a better life.
In the show, you visit your 100year-old paternal grandmother Phyllis, who you call Phonse.
How amazing is she?
It was great to see her because she is the kindest, funniest person – she is absolutely brilliant. In February, when she turned 100, I couldn’t go out there because I was doing the Strictly Come Dancing live tour, but I recorded the whole audience in the Manchester Arena singing Happy Birthday to her on my phone, which was fantastic and she cried, so I felt like I was there.
craig ’s greatgrandparents, charles and lizzie craig (far right) with sister sue and grandparents phonse and Moza