THE moment Danny Dyer discovered he had royal ancestry on BBC’s Who Do You Think You Are? must surely go down as one of TV’s finest moments of recent years. “I just have to digest this and get this in my nut,” he told viewers, as research revealed he was a direct descendent of Edward III. “And then I’m gonna treat myself to a massive ruff.”

Somewhere in Television Centre a lightbulb was probably going off too with

the realisation that Dyer could be just the person to bring British medieval history to primetime and entice those people who probably think Game of Thrones is a documentary.

To be fair to Dyer, there’s always been a sense of self awareness about his cockney geezer persona (Harold Pinter was a fan of his acting) and he throws himself into this more in-depth investigation of his lineage with admirable gusto.

It turns out the Dyer genes go back much further than Edward III and we quickly find ourselves in Scandinavia, where it is claimed his ancestor King Rollo, the first ruler of Normandy, gave birth to the Normans, who of course later conquered Britain.

Our hero tries some Viking cheese (“tastes like Philadelphia”), goes on a longship and learns how the Vikings fought (“clump him”).

Despite my love for the likes of more established TV historians like Simon Schama, Lucy Worsley and Neil Oliver, there was something refreshing about seeing the wonder on Dyer’s face as he came face to face with evidence of his descendants’ regal ways.

I won’t spoil it by detailing

his response when he is confronted with the actual blood-stained tunic of Louis IX (another relative and a bona fide Saint too) or what happens when he walks into the beautiful surroundings of Sainte Chapelle and observes the stained glass windows built by his 26x great grandfather.

A number of critics have used the commissioning of this show as an example of the BBC dumbing down its history offering but as Dyer himself might say they’re being “a bit trappy”. This was informative, educational, and entertaining TV.

Lord Reith would have been proud.