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Last Updated: Wednesday, 28 July, 2004, 14:12 GMT 15:12 UK
Oddie traces sister on BBC show
Who Do You Think You Are?
Bill Oddie found out about his sister through the BBC Two show
A family history TV show has led Bill Oddie to discover he had a sister who died when she was just five days old.

The presenter found out about Margaret Jean during BBC Two's Who Do You Think You Are?, a new show in which celebrities trace their family trees.

It is part of BBC Two's autumn line-up, which also includes terrorist drama The Grid, finance show Bank of Mum and Dad, and arts series The Culture Show.

Oddie said: "I have a personal history which I didn't know very much about.

"I was a good subject because there was a hell of a lot for me to find out."

The 63-year-old said he now believes his mother, who was schizophrenic and spent time in mental institutions, may have suffered from post natal depression at a time when the condition was not recognised.

Oddie moved to Birmingham aged six and was brought up by his grandmother. Margaret Jean was born a year before Oddie.

Other celebrities taking part in Who Do You Think You Are? include comedians David Baddiel, Meera Syal and Vic Reeves.

Presenters Jeremy Clarkson and Moira Stuart will also be tracing their roots in the 10-part series.

The Grid
The Grid looks at the defining threat of our time but does so on a bigger scale than is possible with shows like Spooks and 24
Gareth Neame, BBC head of drama commissioning
BBC Two controller Roly Keating said: "People are fascinated by genealogy and family history these days, particularly since the internet became a mass medium, but television's never really tackled it."

Elsewhere in the BBC Two autumn schedule, documentary series Horizon will return while BBC Three sitcom The Smoking Room will transfer.

The line-up follows a pledge the BBC made in April to increase its arts, current affairs and documentaries output, and reduce the number of makeover programmes during peak times.

The Grid is one of three BBC Two series that will tackle the subject of global unease in different ways.

Starring Bernard Hill and Jemma Redgrave, the drama will explore both sides of the escalating "war on terror" by following both terrorists and the operatives on their trail.

BBC head of drama commissioning Gareth Neame said: "The drama looks at the defining threat of our time but does so on a bigger scale than is possible with shows like Spooks and 24."

Fear, Uncertainty And Doubt, from acclaimed documentary maker Adam Curtis, will examine the workings of political Islamists and American neo-conservatives.

And Crisis Command will give three members of the public the opportunity to run the country during a potential national disaster, recreated with dramatic footage.

Diverse families

BBC Two is set to broadcast the Paralympics for the first time, as 4,000 athletes from 130 countries compete.

The challenges facing a diverse group of families in modern Britain will be explored in new documentary series This Is My Family.

It will feature families facing issues such as schizophrenia and adopting children with learning difficulties, and follows BBC Two's critically acclaimed My Family And Autism.

This Is My Family
This Is My Family will go inside a selection of different households
In addition to Bank of Mum and Dad, in which parents manage the debts of their 25 to 35-year-old offspring, Dragons' Den will offer aspiring entrepreneurs the chance to pitch their ideas to five business leaders.

The Lost World Of Mitchell and Kenyon promises "an unparalleled visual record" of Edwardian British life, featuring an archive of 800 films made by the two film-makers.

Mixing history and gardening, Gardens Through Time will pay tribute to horticultural achievements of the last two centuries, as Diarmuid Gavin recreates six period gardens using the same plants and materials that were originally used.

Craig Cash's pub-based sitcom Early Doors will return for a second series, as will Stephen Fry's quiz QI.

Arrested Development, a US comedy series nominated for several Emmy awards, will make its British premiere on BBC Two.



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