FOL­LOW­ING FAM­ILY TIES

The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - TV Guide - - Front Page -

BE­TWEEN the UK se­ries air­ing on Fox­tel and the new Aus­tralian sea­son on SBS, I am fully im­mersed in the his­tor­i­cal drama that comes from this ge­nius ge­neal­ogy for­mat, show­cas­ing the fas­ci­nat­ing fam­ily his­to­ries of some of our most cel­e­brated stars. Tonight’s episode had me glued to the screen from the open­ing cred­its to the fi­nal, tear-soaked cli­max of this ut­terly com­pelling climb into the fam­ily tree of Master­mindAus­tralia host, Jennifer Byrne. With­out a hint of hubris, Byrne is hon­est about the world of priv­i­lege she was born into – the grand­daugh­ter of for­mer Vic­to­rian gover­nor Sir Regi­nald Dal­las Brooks; grow­ing up with five but­lers and all the trap­pings of an up­per-class life. But it was not with­out its heartache and scan­dal, with Byrne clearly still trau­ma­tised by her par­ents’ di­vorce; when her mother left the mar­riage for an­other woman. As the for­mer jour­nal­ist ad­mits, she has “con­spic­u­ously avoided” ex­plor­ing her fam­ily’s past but when she does it’s a re­mark­able tale – tak­ing her back to Tu­dor time and the court of King Henry VIII; be­fore head­ing to China, where her fa­ther Robin was born and lived un­til he was nine (he was sent to board­ing school in Eng­land when WWII broke out). His re­la­tion­ship with his own fa­ther, Ernest, will touch your heart and then break it, as Jennifer reads his fi­nal let­ter, writ­ten from a Ja­panese in­tern­ment camp, just weeks be­fore his death. Don’t miss it.

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