In this award-winning genealogy series, hosted by charismatic presenter, journalist and Strictly Come Dancing champion Chris Hollins, ordinary people take extraordinary journeys to explore their ancestral connections with historic world events.

These events range from the sinking of the Titanic, Scott’s ill-fated expedition to the Antarctic, D-Day and the Battle of Britain to the Mutiny on the Bounty, the Great Fire of London and the Gunpowder plot. Each episode unearths unique and emotional stories, entwined together in history and often with some shocking discoveries along the way.


Tanya Millard sets out to discover more about her relative, Squadron Leader Roger Bushell, who proposed one of the most audacious escape plans of any war. His aim was to save a staggering 200 prisoner of war from a Nazi camp situated deep in Eastern Germany. Tanya learns how Roger went on to pay the ultimate price and how his plan inspired the legendary film from 1963, The Great Escape. Ollie Dickens, the Great, Great, Great Grandson of Charles Dickens, discovers that his ancestor had a dark secret, which was almost exposed by a fatal rail crash in 1865. Travelling with him at the time was his mistress, a little known actress called Nelly Ternan. Had news of their affair leaked following the crash, it could well have destroyed Dickens’ reputation and the sale of his books.

Episode Breakdown

Series 1

Episode 1: Battle of Britain
The Battle of Britain was one of the pivotal turning points of WWII, but what do these living relatives of those involved know of their kin?

Episode 2: Tay Bridge
Three people find out how they are all linked through their ancestors to the Tay Bridge Disaster. Who was to blame for one of the worst rail crashes in British history?

Episode 3: Royal Scandal
In 1870, the Prince of Wales was embroiled in an affair that rocked the Royal Family. Three people find out how their relatives were involved.

Episode 4: Dunkirk
Veterans and relatives of those involved in the stirring Dunkirk evacuation remember the extraordinary role played by six cockle boats from Essex.

Episode 5: Titanic
The relatives of a wireless operator, a passenger and a steward discover how their lives intertwined in April 1912 when the ‘unsinkable’ Titanic sank.

Episode 6: Bounty
Descendants of John Fryer, Fletcher Christian and William Bligh, three key players in the 1789 mutiny on the Bounty, learn about their seafaring relatives.

Episode 7: D-Day
The humbling stories of three heroic members of the ‘Coup de Main’ mission – a glider pilot, a soldier and a medic – are relayed to their relatives.

Episode 8: Jack the Ripper
The relatives of three people connected to the 1888 Jack the Ripper case – a victim, a newspaper editor and a policeman.

Episode 9: Firing Squad
Three relatives of Allied soldiers killed by their own men for supposed ‘desertion’ or ‘cowardice’ during World War I embark on an emotional journey of discovery.

Episode 10: Suffragettes
In 1913, suffragette Emily Davison was killed as she stepped in front of the King’s horse at Epsom. Three people find out how their families were linked to this tragedy.

Series 2

Episode 1: Dambusters
Descendants of three key players in the iconic ‘Dambusters’ raid of WWII learn about the bravery of 617 Squadron.

Episode 2: Gunpowder Plot
Relatives of conspirators Everard Digby and Robert Catesby and spymaster Robert Cecil learn more about the roles their ancestors played in the infamous Gunpowder Plot.

Episode 3: Tutankhamun
Descendants of reporter Arthur Weigall, aristocrat Lord Carnarvon and scientist Alfred Lucas learn how their relatives were bound by the discovery of Tutankhamun’s tomb.

Episode 4: The Great Fire of London
Relatives of diarist Samuel Pepys, schoolboy eyewitness William Taswell and the future James ll discover more about their links to the Great Fire of London.

Episode 5: Christmas Truce
A moving episode of the genealogy series as descendants of three WWI soldiers learn about their relatives’ roles in the incredible Christmas truce of December 1914.

Episode 6: The Great Escape
Three relatives of POWs who were detained by the Germans at Stalag Luft III hear of their ancestors’ integral roles in an audacious Allied escape attempt in 1943.

Episode 7: Dickens Rail Crash
A distant relative of Charles Dickens learns that his famous ancestor had a dark secret that was nearly exposed by a rail crash in 1865.

Episode 8: Battle of Trafalgar
Three ordinary people discover how they are linked to Admiral Nelson’s victory over Napoleon at Trafalgar.

Episode 9: Scott of the Antarctic
Distant relatives of three members of the ill-fated Terra Nova Expedition – including leader Robert Falcon Scott – learn more about their intrepid ancestors.

Episode 10: Abdication Crisis
Edward VII’s relationship with American divorcee Wallis Simpson rocked the monarchy in 1936. Relatives of key players in the affair hear more about their ancestors.

Each of the girls lets you into their world, and we witness them trying to make their dreams come true.

A Lion Television Production for UKTV

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