Scaling the family tree of knowledge
Meet The Izzards BBC1
"DNA'" says Eddie Izzard, "is a bit like magic." You like it, but not a lot.
With Paul Daniels otherwise engaged with a saw and Debbie McGee, Izzard was charged with tracing his ancestry back to Africa 10,000 generations ago. Basically, it was Who Do You Think You Are?: The Director's Cut.
Izzard is the first person in Britain to use his DNA in this way. The original idea was to follow Dean Gaffney but when they did the blood test they discovered he was a Neanderthal.
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"Eddie's going to unlock the secrets," we were told, "of where we, and he, came from." Someone should sit him down in front of One Born Every Minute.
Izzard headed first to Africa. "He wants to experience what life might have been like for our hunter-gatherer ancestors," the programme explained. No need to go all the way to Africa – we'll all know what it was like if the austerity measures carry on.
"No-one knows for sure why modern humans left Africa," we heard, "but our innate curiosity and environmental change may have been two important factors." I prefer Rigsby's explanation – "nice beach, trouble is it goes back 2,000 miles".
Humorously for Nick Griffin, science has proved that we can all be traced back to a small clutch of Africans. "It's thought," Izzard was told, "that only two women gave birth to the rest of humanity outside Africa." I'm no medical expert but that's got to smart after a while. If ever two women were worthy of a Channel 5 documentary it was this pair.
"One maternal line reached Australia," we heard, "another headed towards Europe." If they'd swapped journeys you'd look like Edna Everage.
Izzard, as you'd expect, shares a genetic connection with the European lady – we don't know her name, so let's call her Doreen.
At some point Doreen's ancestors headed to Scandinavia and it was from this strand that Izzard was hewn. "Your mother's people were Vikings," he was told. Which explains why he's occasionally been known to pillage hecklers in his audience.
Izzard also has blue eyes. If you do too, you shouldn't. By rights the gene should have died out years ago. That it's survived is down to mere sauciness.
Back when men were hunters (about a decade ago in the case of Buxton), such dangerous pursuits led to a shortage. Those who remained, the Mick Jaggers of their day, had the pick of the women. The blue-eyed gene prevailed when it shouldn't. "Those with blue eyes were more desirable," revealed an expert. "Its survival is down to sexual attraction."
Ann Widdecombe's got brown.