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Warwick Davis 'horrified' by great-great-grandfather 'blacking up'

Viewers have been left stunned by Harry Potter star Warwick Davis's dark and diverse family history of syphilis and "blacking up" for entertainment.

The actor, 47, appeared on BBC One's Who Do You Think You Are? on Wednesday night, where he delved into disturbing tales about his ancestry.

The father of four was left both "horrified" and "amused" to find that his great-great-grandfather, Dennis Manning, was a violinist with a travelling troupe who often dressed up as African-Americans to sing songs.

Posting on Twitter, @flebsywankenobi wrote: "@WarwickADavis' #wdytya is both fascinating and heart breaking at the same time."

But the most sympathy was generated when he discovered how one great-grandparent died in a mental hospital in Croydon of "general paralysis of the insane", a disease he later learned was the result of syphilis.

@MaryadeIsHere posted: "Watching Warwick Davis's #WhoDoYouThinkYouAre? I really hate to break it to him what "General Paralysis of the Insane" is caused by."

Among viewers who thanked Davis for sharing the personal stories on national television, @robjlloyd posted: "What lovely, intelligent, and interesting company @WarwickADavis was for the last hour. Thoroughly enjoyed #WhoDoYouThinkYouAre."

@JaneEIRoberts summarised: "@WarwickADavis #Covered lots: bigamy, WW1 munitions, syphilis, Irish, minstrels, conflicting research feelings & all ends in death...So many genealogy themes packed into 1 breathtaking hour. Fab episode of #WDYTYA"

Commenting on his experience, Davis tweeted: "It was quite an adventure discovering my ancestry for #WDYTYA tonight at 8pm on @BBCOne. I'd liken the findings to a 'ye olde soap opera'!"

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