Jodie Whittaker: Doctor Who star gets ‘huge surprise’ on Who Do You Think You Are?

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Jodie Whittaker, 38, has addressed the surprising facts she uncovered while tracing her family tree on Who Do You Think You Are?. The Doctor Who star discovered a surprising story from her mum’s side of the family on the BBC programme.

She found out about the story while looking at a photo of her great-grandfather, Edwin Auckland, in which he is flanked by a group of policemen and four of his brothers.

Jodie’s family photo was taken in 1921, during the National Coal Strike.

She divulged: “My mum’s side of it was taken from a family photograph that I had that’s been pieced together through bits of information my mum and I knew, and we realised that it was a jigsaw piece, to a very big puzzle.”

Jodie went on to admit she was taken aback by one part of her family’s history.

READ MORE… Jodie Whittaker next TV appearance away from Doctor Who announced

She continued: “And actually, certain bits of that story we hadn’t got exactly right, and certain bits of it were a huge surprise – because that’s also in our immediate family history. 

“None of my stories stretch further back than the 1800s, it’s all at the end of the 1800s, turn of the 1900s, that we meet the Aucklands, and Bedfords (which is the Whittaker-Bedfords). 

“That story starts in the early 1900s, so everything is recent history.”

Jodie explained during her appearance on the show that she found out her relatives didn’t support the Coal Strike at the time.


Most miners were striking during both the National Coal Strike of 1921 and the General Strike of 1926 in spite of struggling to be able to feed their children. 

However, Edwin senior kept the mine going with his sons and amassed a small fortune, running into millions at today’s rates, which was controversial. 

She said: “As I understand it, it’s their colliery and they’re working through the strike… It’s not an ideal bit of your family history.” 

Jodie’s mum then admitted she was ostracised at the school she went to with coal miners’ children because everyone remembered how her grandfather failed to support the strike. 

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“Essentially they were scabs,” says Jodie, while speaking to her mum about the situation on screen. 

“Living here during the 80s, the idea that you work through a strike feels like it goes against everything you are brought up to believe in.”

“Exactly. And if I’ve had to talk about it, I’ve never defended them,” Jodie’s mum added.

Speaking to Radio Times, Jodie revealed she was “surprised by the details” of her family’s mining history.

Read the full story in Radio Times [RADIOTIMES]

The star said: “I’ve always known I’m from a mining family and I knew the photograph of my great-grandfather potentially referenced a point in my family history I wouldn’t necessarily agree with emotionally or politically. 

“I already knew there was a strike, but I was surprised by the details of it.”

When quizzed on whether she felt “embarrassed” by the discovery, Jodie explained: “My politics represent me. 

“They can’t represent anyone else, even in your own tiny circle. I didn’t live in that time. I’ve got hindsight. The last mine shut in 2015 and I’m an 80s baby, so I was part of the fallout of that.” 

Who Do You Think You Are? series 17 airs at 9pm Monday on BBC One.

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