Empire's Children seeks to tell the story of the end of the British empire and the effects of its legacy, by revealing the imperial backgrounds of various British celebrities.

The celebrities include actors Dame Diana Rigg and Adrian Lester, former Liberal Democrat leader Lord Steel, comedian Jenny Eclair, Shameless star Chris Bisson, and Coronation Street's Shobna Gulati. Each is a "child of the empire". The show is being made by Wall to Wall, the same production company that pioneered the successful genealogy show Who Do You Think You Are?

According to channel executives, the story of the empire-builders has been lost in recent years.  The programme seeks to redress that balance, they say.  Filming has been completed, and the series is expected to air this summer.  In it, Dame Diana, who lived in India between 1940 (when she was only two years old) and 1948, discusses her experiences there.  Lord Steel speaks about growing up in Kenya, where his father was a Presbyterian minister.  During the course of filming, Coronation Street actress Shobna Gulati discovered that her great uncle, his wife and two of his children were murdered as they fled the growing tensions between Muslims and Hindus following Partition.  Ralph Lee, Channel 4's commissioning editor for history, said that the channel wanted to tell the story of empire from as many perspectives as possible.

Media Guardian (Thursday 25th January 2007)

Empire's Children will see celebrities investigating their past to discover how the British Empire played its role in shaping their family as it exists today.

Dame Diana Rigg and former Liberal Democrat leader Lord Steel are among six celebrities who will take part in the show, to be screened later this year.  Empire's Children will look at both those whose families left England to make lives for themselves in other countries and those who came to settle in England.  The aim of Empire's Children is to assess the relationship between the end of the British Empire and multi-cultural Britain as it is today.  Other celebrities taking part include actor Adrian Lester, comedienne Jenny Éclair, Shameless actor Chris Bisson and Coronation Street's Shobna Gulati.

The series is executive produced by the indie's Alex Graham, who said he had drawn on the success of Who Do You Think You Are? "We wondered whether there was a way of using the celebrity journey idea but make it more of a literal journey," he said.

Channel 4 commissioning editor for History Ralph Lee added: "These are the stories of the indigenous people of the British Empire.  The empire created the reality of a multicultural society that informs so much about our sense of Britishness today."

Broadcast Now (Thursday 25th January 2007)

Please click here for the Channel 4 Empires Children website.