Who Do You Think You Are? TV review: Presenter Anita Rani explores her blood-stained Sikh heritage

There was something especially poignant about the juxtaposition of Rani's jolly telly presenter persona and the details of the gruesome loss of her grandfather Sant Singh's family during the inter-communal violence

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Family history has enjoyed quite a vogue in recent years, so much so it now finds itself used as a political weapon. Thus, we are invited to be appalled by the fact that distant ancestors of Samantha Cameron owned slaves, and that Jeremy Corbyn's great-grandpa was the master of a workhouse.

I doubt either will feel the need to defend their antecedents on Who Do You Think You Are? or not yet at any rate, but there's still a long list of celebs ready to explore the most harrowing episodes in their family history for our vicarious entertainment, if that's the right description of it.

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Anita Rani, left, as a child with her parents (BBC)

Last night it was the turn of TV presenter Anita Rani, whose Sikh heritage was blood-stained by the murderous partition of British India in 1947, into Pakistan and India. When the Brits were finally kicked out, there followed a brutal and savage episode of what we'd now call ethnic cleansing, and a surprising number of British families, of all backgrounds, have been touched one way or another by the Raj and its violent collapse.

There was something especially poignant about the juxtaposition of Rani's jolly telly presenter persona and the details of the gruesome loss of her grandfather Sant Singh's family during the inter-communal violence. Difficult viewing; and I don't think any of us will be able to watch her on Strictly Come Dancing in quite the same light.

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