Each celebrity travels to discover their relatives past and is taken back in time and around the world as they learn how their ancestor's lives have shaped the world they live in today.
Meera Syal – (Actress) Meera explores her grandfather’s contribution to the struggle for Indian Independence, a journey in which she looks at the fall of the Raj, the creation of India and Pakistan and immigration from the Subcontinent.
Jeremy Clarkson – (TV Presenter) His story charts the rise and fall of British manufacturing from mid 19th to mid 20th century, through one company, Kilner Glass. The company was set up by Jeremy’s 4x Great-grandfather, employed more than 500 people by the 1890’s and yet had gone bust by the last 1930’s. Jeremy wants to know what went wrong.
Bill Oddie – (Wildlife Expert) He embarks on an immensely personal journey to try and find out what happened to his mother, who was institutionalized for most of his childhood. His journey takes him back into the history of mental health in the post war years, and then further still to the tumultuous history of the Industrial Revolution in the North West of England
Moira Stuart – (News Presenter) She comes from a family of high achievers, who’ve been travelling to and from the UK since the end of the 19th century. Moira wants to try and find out where their drive came from and how they escaped the legacy of slavery so successfully.
Ian Hislop – (Magazine Editor) Starts out by looking at the role his two grandfathers played in the major wars of the 20th century. He then goes further back and discovers that his 4 x Great Grandfather was also involved in helping to establish the British Empire.
Vic Reeves – (Comedian) His journey begins by trying to establish whether his mum’s dad was a bigamist and ends by examining the rigid class structure of 19th century England and the world of domestic service.
David Baddiel - (Comedian) David’s family is Jewish on both sides; on his mother’s side his family fled the Nazi’s in the late 30’s, and his mother believes she may have been adopted. David sets out to examine her theory. His father comes from a family of very orthodox Jews – will they agree to meet David?
Lesley Garrett – (Singer) Reveals the unique history of the northern working class. It’s a story of mining, music and social mobility as she explores the momentous changes that transformed Yorkshire throughout the twentieth century.
Sue Johnston – (Actress) Reveals the story of the British Railways to explore the themes of class, education and social mobility.
Amanda Redman – (Actress) Explores the dark history of illegitimacy and how the strict world of Victorian family values affected her grandfather. Her journey takes her back into Irish roots she never knew she had.