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Meet the Izzards

Wed Feb 20, 9-10pm, BBC1

Series one, episode one
It’s ‘Who Do You Think You Are?’, aiming higher. Using DNA mapping, Eddie Izzard isn’t just looking for old relatives. He’s looking to prove that he – like everyone – is related to the entire human race. This two-parter (concluding tomorrow) will take us ‘from our shared origins in Africa – all the way to Eddie Izzard’. This statement feels just a tad grandiose – Eddie’s an amusing and likeable man, but this seems to posit him as some sort of culmination of all human possibility. Happily, the reality is more prosaic.

Eddie’s in Namibia, Djibouti, Turkey and Denmark, finding Viking blood, turning hunter-gatherer, shocking the locals with his varnished nails and learning about the origins of his mother’s blue eyes. It’s essentially a cheerful, entry-level guide to the science of genetics – bad news for racists and creationists, but reasonably positive for the rest of us.