The United Kingdom is home to British people from hugely diverse ethnic backgrounds, as well as the British expatriates who, after generations of colonial settlement, returned to the mother country.  Although they represent different cultures and experiences, all these people share a common heritage; they are the children, grandchildren or great grandchildren of the Empire.

Each film in this six-part series will tell the individual story of a well-known Briton who is a child of the Empire, following the story of their family's past as the personal entwines with the historical.  From their powerful, personal voyage of discovery emerges a picture of the wider, collective experience of migration within, and the dismantling of, an Empire. Taking part in the series are actress Dame Diana Rigg, former Liberal Democrat leader David Steel, actor Adrian Lester, comedienne Jenny Eclair, Shameless star Chris Bisson and Coronation Street's Shobna Gulati.

Diana Rigg grew up in India in the final days of the British Raj.  In Empire’s Children she follows in her parents’ footsteps, to discover how her working-class father ended up working for Maharajahs and the impact Indian Independence had on her family’s life.

Chris Bisson discovers how the British Empire forced his Indian great-grandfather to end up as a poverty-stricken labourer in Trinidad, and drove his wealthy grandfather to gamble everything on a new life in Britain.

Fifty years after his family returned from the British colony of Kenya, David Steel realised that his father never revealed the whole truth about what happened during their time in Africa.  He discovers what provoked his Presbyterian Minister father to take on the British Empire in a dramatic and very public protest.

As a child Jenny Eclair stumbled across gruesome photographs that her father had kept of dead Chinese Communist Terrorists in Malaya.  Now Jenny wants to find out what they mean and why her father was fighting a now largely forgotten war in Malaysia in the 1950s.

The British Empire has shaped Adrian Lester’s family history in ways he has never realised.  In Empire’s Children Adrian discovers why his grandfather risked everything to travel 5,000 miles to Britain from Jamaica and what happened when his family arrived.

The end of the British Empire brought prosperity and tragedy in equal measure to Shobna Gulati’s family.  Shobna traces her family’s imperial past from the hills of the Punjab in Pakistan to the north of England.