Comedian Sarah Millican branches out beyond the stand up stage on BBC1 tonight as she rummages through her family history for the popular series Who Do You Think You Are?
Viewers of the show, which follows celebrities as they trace their family trees, will see the best-selling female comic start out on her journey by wondering whether her ancestors have ever lived anywhere other than her native South Shields.
“The whole world that they could be in and you just think ‘I bet they’ve just lived two or three streets away from where my mam and dad are now’,” she laughs.
“I hope that it’s something positive and nice and something we can be proud of. I’m proud to be from the North East. I think it’s important to remember where you come from.”
The 38-year-old, who is currently preparing for a mammoth UK tour with new show, Home Bird, doesn’t have to wait long for her ticket out of South Tyneside.
She quickly heads off from her parents’ house (where we’re treated to a couple of photos showing a teenage Sarah sporting a memorable perm) to Whitstable in Kent to find out about her maternal, three-times great-grandfather, James Hoult.
“Mam and Dad won’t be pleased about there being Southerners in the family,” she jokes, before discovering James was one of the very first divers in the 1800s.
Comedy doubtless comes when Sarah agrees to try on a seriously heavy diving suit from the time.
But it’s not all about the laughs, as regular viewers of the often emotional programme will be well aware.
The obligatory tears come from the comedian, who has a third series of the Sarah Millican Television Programme coming out on BBC2 later in the year, when she learns James wasn’t just out to line his own pockets.
As well as Kent, Sarah’s family tree also takes her to Canada where she searches for information about her four-times great grandfather, John Malcolm.
The trail leads the multiple National Comedy Award-winner to find he worked for the Hudson Bay Company - North America’s oldest commercial corporation - which has been a fur trading business for most of its existence.
As part of his job, Sarah finds John was sent to a remote outpost involved in the fur trade, and as she follows in his footsteps, she makes a shocking discovery, which programme makers are keeping to themselves until tonight’s broadcast.
What we do know is that viewers will also get to see inside Sarah’s newly-acquired house in the North West... and meet her much-loved cat, Chief Brody.
Sarah’s appearance on the 10th series of Who Do You Think You Are? comes during a brief hiatus for the hard-working comedian.
Having just completed a full, sell out run at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, Sarah kicks off her 138-date tour on Thursday with a sold out show at the Customs House in South Shields.
Durham Gala, Arc Stockton, Middlesbrough Town Hall and the Mill Volvo Tyne Theatre will also welcome the Home Bird tour between now and May next year.
Many dates are sold out, but there are some tickets available for selected dates at Middlesbrough Town Hall and the Tyne Theatre. For full details, visit www.sarahmillican.co.uk
Who Do You Think You Are? will be broadcast on BBC1 tonight at 9pm.