Actor, writer and comedian Lee Mack is the creator of the longrunning BBC One programme Not Going Out, the will-they-orwon’t-they (they do, eventually) sitcom in which he stars as a slacker lodger besotted with his landlady. He’s also a team captain on Would I Lie To You?, a hugely popular panel show.
Lee has long been fascinated by his “jobbing comic” great grandfather, Billy Mac. His research reveals that Billy played the toughest gigs imaginable – entertaining fellow soldiers on the Western Front as a member of a concert party, the Optimists.
Lee also learns about his mother’s Irish forebears, a family saga encompassing emigration to Montreal, unlicensed booze and the upheavals of conflict.
THEMES: the First World War, the Irish Civil War, variety theatre