Their travels to discover their relatives take us back in time and around the world as we see how their ancestor's lives have shaped the world they live in today.
The series uses the popular past-time of genealogy to unlock the major themes in history. For example – the Industrial Revolution, Immigration, the First and Second World Wars, abolition of slavery and the holocaust. At the same time weaving a fascinating and absorbing narrative. We travel the world as these stories unfold.
This is the story of a country told through the extraordinary family histories of popular celebrities. A groundbreaking TV event, that tells the story of who we are and how we came to be in an original format that for the first time on TV uses genealogy as an innovative way of unlocking history programming. Each celebrity is chosen so that this or her journey touches a key them in the country’s history.
In a series of self-contained films each star embarks on an intense personal journey to discover their family past. Our intention is to expose the real person behind the celebrity, as they come to understand who they truly are, the lives their ancestors lived, and their identity and place in their country’s history.
Each film reveals the surprising, extraordinary and often moving stories of our ancestors and offers a new way of producing history programming in an inspiring and narrative driven format that lead 7% of British adults to research their own family histories after watching Series 1!
Series 1: Meera Syal, Vic Reeves, Jeremy Clarkson, David Baddiel, Bill Oddie, Lesley Garett, Moira Stuart, Sue Johnston, Ian Hislop, Amanda Redman
Series 2: Jeremy Paxman, Julian Clary, Sheila Hancock, Jane Horrocks, Stephen Fry, Gurinder Chada
Series 3: Barbara Windsor, Julia Sawalha, Robert Lindsay, David Tennant, David Dickinson, Jeremy Irons, Nigella Lawson, Colin Jackson
Adoption Special: Nicky Campbell
Series 4: Alistair McGowan, Griff Rhys Jones, Carol Vorderman, John Hurt, Graham Norton, Matthew Pinsent, Natasha Kaplinsky
Series 5: Patsy Kensit, Esther Ranzen, Jodie Kidd, Laurence Llewellyn-Bowen, Boris Johnson MP, Jerry Springer, Ainsley Harriot, David Suchet
Series 6a: Rory Bremner, Fiona Bruce, Rick Stein, Zoë Wanamaker, Kevin Whately Series 6b: Davina McCall, Chris Moyles, Kate Humble, David Mitchell, Kim Cattrall, Martin Freeman
Series 7: Bruce Forsyth, Rupert Everett, Dervla Kirwan, Monty Don, Rupert Penry-Jones, Alexander Armstrong, Jason Donovan, Hugh Quarshie, Alan Cumming
Series 8: June Brown, J.K. Rowling, Sebastian Coe, Larry Lamb, Emilia Fox, Len Goodman, Alan Carr, Richard Madeley, Robin Gibb and Tracey Emin
Series 9: Annie Lennox, Sir Patrick Stewart, Alex Kingston, Bill Roache, Celia Imrie, Gregg Wallace, Hugh Dennis, John Barnes, John Bishop and Samantha Womack
Series 10: Una Stubbs, Minnie Driver, Gary Lineker, Marianne Faithfull, Nick Hewer, Lesley Sharp, Sarah Millican, Nigel Havers, Nitin Ganatra and John Simpson
Local versions of this format are currently in production in France, Australia, Canada and Poland.