Daniel Radcliffe

Who Do You Think You Are: Viewers heartbroken as Daniel Radcliffe reads great-grandfather’s suicide note

He took his own life after the family business was robbed

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BBC One’s Who Do You Think You Are got underway last night (July 22) and featured Harry Potter actor Daniel Radcliffe.

It was an emotional start to the documentary show’s latest series, as the star learned that one of his relatives had taken his own life after the family jewellery business was robbed.

Daniel was told that in 1936, his great-grandfather Samuel Gershon was deeply affected by a robbery of goods amounting to around £3,000.

Daniel Radcliffe
A typed copy of the note (Credit: BBC)

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He committed suicide and left a note for his wife that Daniel got to read on the programme.

The star was shown standing alone in a quiet wooded area as he read the note aloud.

He said: “‘Doll darling,’ is how he starts the note, so that was his name for my great-grandmother. ‘I cannot face bankruptcy after 22 years of trading, so I’m taking the coward’s way out. But I can assure you, my angel…'”

Daniel Radcliffe
Daniel was emotional as he read the suicide note (Credit: BBC)

At that point, Daniel’s voice broke and he took a quick breather before pushing on: “‘To leave a girl like you is more than a wrench. I worship and adore you. The loveliest, truest and noblest wife and companion and comforter you have been to me in my trouble.’

“It’s so funny to feel this connection to somebody that you don’t know, and just in how much he loves his wife. You know, the way he says things is not dissimilar to some things I would say, and things I might call people.

“‘You have given me 15 years of happiness in our married life and we have been blessed with two darling girls. But I can’t take worry, as you know…’

Daniel Radcliffe
Viewers found it “utterly heartbreaking” (Credit: BBC)

Pausing again to gather himself, Daniel continued with tears in his eyes: “‘And these last five months have pulled me down.'”

“You just want to reach into the past and just go like, whatever you’re going through, you have so much to offer the people who are around you still. They still would all have loved you.”

Viewers reacted to the heartbreaking scene on Twitter.

One said: “Bawling my eyes out with #danielradcliffe’s great great grandpa’s suicide note. #WhoDoYouThinkYouAre to do this to me…”

Another tweeted: “Watching Daniel Radcliffe on #WhoDoYouThinkYouAre earlier made me cry, especially over his g.g. Grandfather Sam’s suicide. It was heartbreaking hearing Daniel read out Sam’s note he left for his wife. ”

Someone else wrote: “Watching #WhoDoYouThinkYouAre with #DanielRadcliffe, so sad seeing him read his great grandfather’s suicide note he had written to his great grandmother.”


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A fourth commented: “#WhoDoYouThinkYouAre Anyone else utterly heartbroken by the suicide note? He wasn’t a coward…”

“A suicide note – how heartbreaking #WhoDoYouThinkYouAre,” said a fifth.

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