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Line of Duty's Anna Maxwell Martin breaks down in tears whilst appearing on Who Do You Think You Are


‘He didn’t have anybody’: Line of Duty’s Anna Maxwell Martin breaks down in tears as she learns of family tragedy whilst appearing on Who Do You Think You Are?

Anna Maxwell Martin broke down in tears whilst appearing on Thursday evening’s episode of Who Do You Think You Are? 

The Line Of Duty actress, 45, learned of a family tragedy while appearing on the show – as it was revealed her grandfather, Maxwell, was abandoned at the age of five. 

Getting emotional, Anna explained that the information about her grandfather, from whom she took her stage name, had hit her hard as ‘he didn’t have anybody’.

Emotional: Anna Maxwell Martin, 45, broke down in tears as she learned of a family tragedy whilst appearing on Who Do You Think You Are? on Thursday evening

Emotional: Anna Maxwell Martin, 45, broke down in tears as she learned of a family tragedy whilst appearing on Who Do You Think You Are? on Thursday evening

As the genealogy series took her to Aberlour Orphanage in Moray, the actress discovered that her grandfather had spent five years there.

She learned that Maxwell was abandoned at the Scottish orphanage at the age of five alongside his four sisters, but due to strict gender rules, was separated from his siblings – Rachel, Rhoda, Nettie and Isaclena.

The actress explained: ‘The reality is that the four girls had one another, he didn’t have anybody, and he was five’.

Tragic: On the show, the Line Of Duty actress learned that her grandfather, Maxwell, was abandoned at the age of five

Tragic: On the show, the Line Of Duty actress learned that her grandfather, Maxwell, was abandoned at the age of five

Orphanage: As the genealogy series took her to Aberlour Orphanage in Moray, the actress discovered that her grandfather had spent five years there

Orphanage: As the genealogy series took her to Aberlour Orphanage in Moray, the actress discovered that her grandfather had spent five years there

Heartbreaking: She learned that Maxwell was abandoned at the Scottish orphanage at the age of five alongside his four sisters, but due to strict gender rules, was separated from his siblings - Rachel, Rhoda, Nettie and Isaclena

Heartbreaking: She learned that Maxwell was abandoned at the Scottish orphanage at the age of five alongside his four sisters, but due to strict gender rules, was separated from his siblings – Rachel, Rhoda, Nettie and Isaclena

Continuing: ‘He did go on to do well and be loving, really actively loving, his children felt loved, really looked after and safe. And I find that very moving, when little people are able to rise above.

‘Even if he had an ok time and he was able to go outside, the reality is that he would’ve been terrified and alone and wetting that bed,’ she said emotionally.

As Anna took a dive into her past, she learned that Maxwell and his siblings were put into care following the passing of their mother – who died at just 46.

Tough: Getting emotional, the actress explained: 'The reality is that the four girls had one another, he didn't have anybody, and he was five'

Tough: Getting emotional, the actress explained: ‘The reality is that the four girls had one another, he didn’t have anybody, and he was five’

'Terrified': 'Even if he had an ok time and he was able to go outside, the reality is that he would've been terrified and alone and wetting that bed,' she continued

‘Terrified’: ‘Even if he had an ok time and he was able to go outside, the reality is that he would’ve been terrified and alone and wetting that bed,’ she continued

The awful discovery was made that her great-grandfather, Joseph Youngson, was known as a drunk who was in and out of Aberdeenshire prisons throughout his life, being imprisoned for beating his wife.

He was deemed unfit to look after the children, as they were sent to the orphanage instead – with Anna looking visibly disgusted as she learned the story.

While the new information had been emotional for the actress to take in, she also appeared bursting with pride over her grandfather’s ability to overcome his upbringing, and create a stable family for her to grow up in. 

‘I feel so proud to be associated with my grandad who I remember as being just a lovely, positive, vivacious, smiley person.’

Delving deep: The actress appeared on the genealogy series to learn more about her family, as she was taken across Northern Ireland and the north of Scotland

Delving deep: The actress appeared on the genealogy series to learn more about her family, as she was taken across Northern Ireland and the north of Scotland

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