Entertainer Rhonda Burchmore was told to never mention her grandfather Tommy

'His head was cut out'.
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When Rhonda Burchmore was growing up, she knew not to ask any questions about her mother’s dad, Tommy Stewart.

“We were forbidden to even mention the word ‘Tommy’,” Rhonda, 63, tells TV WEEK.

She could never ask questions about her granddad.

(Image: Supplied)

“It was pretty much like saying ‘Voldemort’ from Harry Potter! It came from my grandmother. Even as a kid, I never ever knew what he looked like. His head would be cut out of every photograph.”

Rhonda says her mother had a really tough childhood, and the family felt Tommy was responsible.

“She was working in a factory from when she was 13 or 14, because her dad had left. We were told he was an alcoholic and a bad man.”

“It was incredibly emotional”.

(Image: Supplied)

When Rhonda was asked if she wanted to delve into her family history on Who Do You Think You Are?, she quickly said yes. She was hoping to find out more about Tommy – and she did.

“It was incredibly emotional, but shocking at the same time – all the emotions you could possibly feel,” the entertainer says.

Not only did Rhonda discover information about her grandfather Tommy, she got to meet a close relative she never knew existed.

“That was gobsmacking,” she says. “I thought, ‘Gosh, how is this possible?'”

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Rhonda, who has appeared in everything from stage shows to Hey Hey It’s Saturday to Da Kath & Kim Code, has always wondered where her love of performing comes from. While her mum loved watching musicals, she couldn’t sing – and her dad worked in transport.

This episode reveals that one of Rhonda’s ancestors was famous for his musical talent. It’s one of the discoveries she knows her late parents would have loved to learn about.

“They’d be beside themselves to hear what the program has unearthed. It’s incredible.”

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