Family Tree Hugging

TV schedulers had a problem. What with falling property prices, all those shows about securing your future by buying your dream house seemed a bit cruel, so they came up with the idea of ancestry-themed shows about your forebears' nightmarish hovels instead.

Feel bad about defaulting on that bathroom refit? Don't worry, your great-great-great-great granddad only got to bathe once a month in Dickensian grime, just before the cholera set in.

Ancestry is one of the few boom industries left and now the London Metropolitan Library Archive, owned by the City of London, is putting its stuff on-line to cope with the demand. At the click of a mouse, Londoners will be able to find out when and where their ancestors were born, schooled, married, put in the stocks and died.

For most people, there's not much more info than that, but it'll be much better for our descendants. When they look on-line from some fancy space station in 2508, they'll have access to all our emails, phone texts and msn chats, to get a really deep picture of how shallow we really are. In full holographic glory, they'll stick all that on TV, too.