For a decade Long Lost Family has produced countless tear-jerking moments uniting relatives who have lost contact, often following cruel twists of fate.
Now the show is returning for a three episode run of spin-off Born Without A Trace which sees foundlings – people who were abandoned as babies – introduced to their birth families.
This will be the third time that ITV have explored the experience of foundlings, helping them discover why they were abandoned by their families and using DNA technology to unite them with parents.
Here’s what you need to know about the new series.
When is Long Lost Family: Born Without A Trace on TV?
ITV (or STV if you’re in Scotland) will be showing three episodes of Long Lost Family: Born Without a Trace this week.
Each episode will be on at 9pm on Monday (May 24), Tuesday (May 25) and Wednesday (May 26).
Who presents Long Lost Family: Born Without A Trace?
Davina McCall and Nicky Campbell are returning as hosts of the heartrending docu-series.
McCall made her name as the host of experimental reality television show Big Brother and has more recently appeared as a judge on the Masked Singer.
Campbell is a veteran radio and TV presenter and has fronted a variety of programmes including Top of the Pops, Wheel of Fortune and Watchdog.
The subject of Long Lost Family is a topic close to Campbell’s heart, who was adopted when he was just four days old. He wrote book Blue Eyed Son about his own adoption experience, and is a patron for British Association for Adoption and Fostering.
What stories are featured in episode one?
Episode one features two foundlings abandoned in Chesterfield just over 18 months apart in the 1980s, Helen Knox and Victoria Vardy.
In December 1988 Helen Knox, then just a few hours old, was discovered in a box outside a hospital. Her parents saw her story on the local news and agreed to adopt her. She had a happy upbringing and is now engaged with two children of her own.
But she’s always struggled with not knowing anything about her very beginnings.
Meanwhile another foundling, Victoria Vardy, who incredibly was also left in Chesterfield a year and a half before Helen, has also approached the programme for help to find her birth family.
She was left just a few hundred metres from Helen in a department store stairwell in Elder Way and 33 years on, she returns to the stairwell and reflects on the situation her birth mother must have been in.
What stories are featured in episode two?
Episode two contains two similarly jaw-dropping stories, a woman left on a luggage rack of a train in Paddington station just after World War II, and a young foundling left by a church in Liverpool in 1987.
74-year-old Marguerite Huggett believes that she’s reached her last chance of finding anyone alive who might be able to tell her anything about her beginnings. With nothing to go on and no names on her birth certificate, she wonders if her father could have been a soldier passing through London after the war and whether her mother could have been travelling on the train where Marguerite was found or lived in the Paddington area. But she has had no way of knowing the truth
Rachel Selby has always thought she was left on church steps in Liverpool but has never dared to go back to see the site of her abandonment. Now for the first time she returns and meets the priest living next door, who tells her she was actually discovered on the doorstep of his Presbytery and that he believes her mother must have known him and his church and left her there deliberately to be safe.
What stories are featured in episode three?
In episode three we meet 31-year-old Steve, who was left in public toilets near a football stadium in Wolverhampton, and Sarah Dunkley, whose mother disappeared from the hospital after giving birth, without a trace.
At the time Steve was found near the stadium, he was named after Wolverhampton Wanderers’ star player of the moment, Steve Bull. From an early age Steve’s adoptive parents told him about his abandonment, but despite a public appeal, he has grown up with no information about who left him and why.
Sarah Dunkley was actually born in a hospital. Sarah even has records of her birth at the hospital and a description of her birth mother, but tragically her mother disappeared the day after she was born. Intriguingly Sarah’s mother gave a false name and false addresses on the records, so Sarah is no nearer to finding out who she is.