Joe Lycett uncovers family mental health secrets in 'Who Do You Think You Are?'

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·TV Reporter
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Programme Name: Who Do You Think You Are? S18 - TX: n/a - Episode: Who Do You Think You Are? S18 - Announcement (No. Announcement) - Picture Shows: at The Royal Haslar Village, Gosport Joe Lycett - (C) Wall to Wall Media Ltd - Photographer: Stephen Perry
Joe Lycett discovered buried family secrets. (Wall to Wall Media Ltd/Stephen Perry)

Joe Lycett has opened up on the mental health and relationship secrets he discovered about one of his ancestors, saying "I knew more about him than his own children and wife".

The comedian features in tonight's episode of BBC One genealogy show Who Do You Think You Are? and one of the relatives he learned more about was his two-times great-grandfather Robert Wilkinson.

Read more: Joe Lycett praised for shocking spoof Shell ad

He told the British Comedy Guide about the mental health struggles he discovered in Wilkinson's past and the problems that arose from his time in the Royal Marines.

Lycett admitted it had been emotional to hear about and said: "Mental illness is woefully catered for in 2021 - it was much worse back in Robert's time."

WARNING: Embargoed for publication until 00:00:01 on 26/10/2021 - Programme Name: Who Do You Think You Are? S18 - TX: n/a - Episode: Who Do You Think You Are? S18 - Joe Lycett (No. Joe Lycett) - Picture Shows: at The Royal Haslar Village, Gosport.


**STRICTLY EMBARGOED NOT FOR PUBLICATION UNTIL 00:01 HRS ON TUESDAY 26TH OCTOBER 2021** Joe Lycett - (C) Wall to Wall Media Ltd - Photographer: Stephen Perry
Joe Lycett unearthed some surprising things about his two-times great-grandfather's life. (Wall to Wall Media Ltd/Stephen Perry)

Adding that his ancestor had also struggled with alcohol abuse, he said: "Interestingly, because of the nature of information when he was alive, I expect most of his family never knew about his struggles with mental illness and the crimes he committed, so it felt strange to think that I knew more about him potentially than his own children and wife."

It was also unclear from investigations into Wilkinson's past whether he had been in a same-sex relationship, or if he had simply been very close friends with a man who was documented in his history.

Lycett said: "Queer stories from the past are pretty difficult to find as they were rarely documented. Robert's could be just have been an intense friendship with a man, or something more."

Joe Lycett Climate Investigation
The comedian recently investigated Shell's environmental claims. (Channel 4)

Adding that the pair had very strong feelings for each other "that become poisonous", the TV star said that he'd found himself applying his own story to his ancestor to fill in the missing gaps.

This series has also featured comedian Josh Widdicombe, who discovered that he was a direct descendant of royalty and had a strong Tudor link.

Other celebrities who have taken part so far include Dame Judi Dench and Alex Scott, and next week will feature Pixie Lott.

Watch: Josh Widdicombe learns he is descended from King Edward I

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