Ex TOWIE star Mark Wright on his Who Do You Think You Are?: 'My ancestor was a Del Boy!'

Mark Wright WDYTYA
(Image credit: BBC/Wall to Wall Media Ltd/Steph)

Mark Wright on uncovering dodgy dealing and Spanish intrigue in his family tree on Who Do You Think You Are?

Former TOWIE star Mark Wright wanted to take part in Who Do You Think You Are? to get answers about their heritage for his beloved paternal grandfather Eddie.

Here Mark Wright, the husband of Our Girl star Michelle Keegan, tells us what he discovered about his family tree on Who Do You Think You Are?…

Michelle did Who Do You Think You Are? last year, did that encourage you to sign up?

Mark Wright: “I’ve always loved the show, whether it was Michelle’s episode or anyone else’s. But this is a love letter to my granddad. He's always cared about where our family are from but he’s never known for sure, so to do this for him was amazing. He’s loved hearing about it.”

Mark Wright's great-grandmother Ann with his grandad Eddie

Mark Wright's great-grandmother Ann with his grandad Eddie (Image credit: BBC/Wall to Wall Media Ltd/Eddie Wright)

You learned that your great-great grandfather Edward Wright was sent to prison for theft, was that tough to hear?

MW: “He was a Del Boy! You're never going to be proud of someone that's involved in that stuff and it was upsetting. But he did everything to help his family survive because he was poor. He later became a war hero and top horseman in World War One. He’d lied about his age to fight for his country. All my family is driven. We won't take no for an answer.”

Was it a shock to find you had Spanish roots?

MW: “My granddad always thought we had Italian in us so it was a surprise, especially because Spain’s like my second home. But I found out that my nine-times great-granddad Antonio de Mendoza was tortured by the Spanish Inquisition for being Jewish and his nephew was burnt at the stake. That’s hard to comprehend.”

Antonio was a master swordsman and you tried sword fighting, will you keep it up?!

MW: "I wasn't too bad! I don't know whether the guy teaching me was lying but he said I was a natural so maybe I'll give it a go in the future!"

MORE: Michelle Keegan: ‘I’m from a long line of strong women!’

It's nearly a decade since you came to fame on TOWIE, do you still pinch yourself at how your life has changed?

MW: "Everything I do, I pinch myself. When I went to America [to work on entertainment news show Extra] I thought, ‘How the heck have I done this from TOWIE?’ I’m just constantly grateful and enjoying it while it lasts."

Who Do You Think You Are? airs at 9pm on Wednesday 11 September

Caren Clark

Caren has been a journalist specializing in TV for almost two decades and is a Senior Features Writer for TV Times, TV & Satellite Week and What’s On TV magazines and she also writes for What to Watch.

Over the years, she has spent many a day in a muddy field or an on-set catering bus chatting to numerous stars on location including the likes of Olivia Colman, David Tennant, Suranne Jones, Jamie Dornan, Dame Judi Dench and Sir Derek Jacobi as well as Hollywood actors such as Glenn Close and Kiefer Sutherland.

Caren will happily sit down and watch any kind of telly (well, maybe not sci-fi!), but she particularly loves period dramas like Call the Midwife, Downton Abbey and The Crown and she’s also a big fan of juicy crime thrillers from Line of Duty to Poirot.

In her spare time, Caren enjoys going to the cinema and theatre or curling up with a good book.