Daily Archives: Thursday 25 July 2013

Oxford Brookes Historian Dr Joanne Bailey helps Downton Abbey star Nigel Havers trace his family tree on BBC1’s Who Do You Think You Are

NigelHaversDr Joanne Bailey, Reader in History in the Department of History, Philosophy and Religion, has helped a well-loved English actor to trace his family history in the tenth series of Who Do You Think You Are.

Joanne uncovers the details of some of the Cornish ancestors of Nigel Havers in the popular BBC1 show Who Do You Think You Are, to be aired on Wednesday 31 July 2013 at 9pm. Nigel, star of Downton Abbey, Coronation Street and The Charmer traces part of his family tree to a nineteenth-century milling family in Boconnoc, Cornwall.

JoanneBaileyJoanne comments:

It was a delight to contribute to the research into Nigel’s fascinating family background. I had great fun filming with the very charming Nigel on a sunny day in Cornwall, sharing with him the many twists and turns of the Couch family. He was surprised and moved by the information revealed by census returns and poignant parish records.


It is very satisfying to take family history out of the classroom and relate it to real people today.

MA Creative Writing student, Claire Cox, has poem shortlisted for publication by Magma Poetry Magazine

Claire CoxClaire Cox, former Creative Writing student, and Research Manager for the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, has her poem, Grandmother’s Garden Quilt, shortlisted for publication by Magma Poetry magazine. The issue, complied by guest editor Ian McEwen and due out in November 2013, is based on the theme The Shape of the Poem and features concrete poetry, where the appearance of the text is integral to the poem’s meaning.

Claire’s poem is in the shape of a patchwork quilt. Each hexagon contains a snippet; a memory of friends, marriage, the making of an unfinished quilt which, when pieced together, evoke the fragmentary nature of life and our often indirect journey through it.

Magma makes a point of including unknown poets alongside known names, and has published Seamus Heaney, Don Paterson, Sean O’Brien, Alice Oswald, Al Alvarez, Wendy Cope, George Szirtes, Gillian Clarke and John Burnside among many others.

She will hear in September if she is successful.