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.
Jeremy Paxman - (Broadcaster & Journalist) His oldest traced ancestor was a politician. There is extreme poverty on both sides of the family. His great-grandmother had her poor relief taken away because she gave birth to an illegitimate child. This film reflects the Second World War and the North Atlantic Convoy.
Sheila Hancock – (Actress) Her grandfather was responsible for opening up tours of the great lakes in Italy, when he was working as a manager in Milan for Thomas Cook. Sheila managed to identify a mystery relative and explore her life in the 19th century, when all she had to go on was a portrait and a name.
Stephen Fry - (Writer, Broadcaster, Actor) Stephen’s journey takes him back on his mother’s side to European Jewish history and the history of mixed faith marriages (his parents fell in love at first sight). His father’s side looks at mobility in the British class system, rural to urban migration in the 19th century and the growth of London in this period.
Julian Clary - (Comedian & Broadcaster) Julian knew he had German ancestry on one side of the family. Then he discovered his great-grandmother on the other side is German too. His grandfather was mentioned in dispatches for bravery in WWI.
Jane Horrocks - (Actress) Jane comes from a northern working class family and her history is intrinsically linked to the industrial history of Lancashire. Her family all worked in local industries – cotton mills, slipper factories and bleach works. The bigger picture history is the story of the Industrial Revolution.
Gurinder Chadha – (Feature Film Director: Bend It Like Beckham) Her family’s story is played out against the backdrop of the British Empire, from the Partition of India, to colonial Kenya, to Asian immigration into Britain.