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.
Natasha Kaplinsky – (News Presenter) Natasha was born in Britain to South African parents. Although some of her childhood was spent in Kenya, she grew up with a strong sense of her British identity but knows little about her family history. Natasha has always known that her father, Raphie, had to flee South Africa in the 1960s because of his involvement in student anti-apartheid protests. He has never wanted to speak fully about his experiences, so Natasha travels to Cape Town to investigate the circumstances that led to her father’s exile.
Griff Rhys Jones – (Comedian/Presenter) Griff admits that he has never been that interested in family history. However, there is one story that he does find intriguing. Griff’s mother, Gwynneth, was in her 20s when she discovered that the couple she knew as grandma and grandpa, were not her real grandparents at all. Gwynneth was told that her mother had been adopted after her own parents were killed in a train crash. It was only recently that Gwynneth discovered her real grandparents were called Daniel and Sarah Price.
John Hurt – (Actor) Family legend states that John’s great-grandmother, Emma Stafford, was the illegitimate daughter of an Irish aristocrat. Although born in England, John is proud of his Irish heritage and hopes this will be the chance to discover the truth about Emma’s parentage. During his investigations John travels across England and Ireland in search for clues. But the more he learns, the faster the story starts to unravel. As the truth slowly emerges, John uncovers a story of illegitimacy, scandal and cover up.
Matthew Pinsent – (Athlete) Having spent so much of his life training for the Olympics, Mathew has had little time to find out about his family’s history. Matthew knows that his father’s family were greatly affected by WW1. Two of his grandfather’s brothers were killed, as well as his grandmother Kathleen’s only brother George. Looking through George Macpherson’s school records, Matthew discovers a mystery surrounding his death. According to the records, his great uncle did not die in combat.
Alistair McGowan – (Comedian) Alistair has always assumed his family have strong Scottish roots but has often wondered where he gets his dark eyes and skin tone from. Although his father George was born in Calcutta, Alistair never suspected that he had any Indian blood. It was not until after his father’s death that Alistair realised there may be mixed Indian and British heritage in his families past.
Carol Vorderman – (Presenter) Born in Wales, Carol never knew her Dutch father who left home when she was only a few weeks old. As they were only recently reunited, Carol knows almost nothing about her Vorderman ancestors. When her father left, Carol, her mum, brother and sister all moved into a small flat, which had been left to the family by her great-grandfather, Daniel Davies. Daniel lived and worked in Prestatyn and became quite a successful businessman. But there has always been a mystery surrounding him. How did a local butcher end up in a photo photograph with Queen Victoria?
Graham Norton – (Presenter) As a Protestant growing up in Catholic southern Ireland, Graham sometimes felt that he and his family were made to feel like foreigners in their own country by their Catholic neighbours. He is keen to discover just how deeply rooted in Ireland his family are. Graham starts by trying to discover why his maternal great-grandmother, Mary Dooey, used of two different maiden names. He learns that although she was recorded as a Logan on her marriage certificate, whenever possible Mary preferred to use the name Dooey. As Graham digs deeper into his family’s past, he uncovers a story scandal and illegitimacy but also courage and determination.