Last night (Weds 5th Sept) ITV1 aired a one off special programme in which members of the Coronation Street cast explored their histories through the means of DNA research. Following on from the huge success of ‘Long Lost Family’ we were treated to the actors submitting their DNA to an increasingly popular DNA testing site, with some very interesting results. Radio Times called the show “…a mash-up of Who Do You Think You Are? and Long Lost Family with a Corrie twist. Think of it as Who the ’Eck Do You Think You’ve Lost?” You can watch the episode on ITV Hub – Click Here.
Ariel Bruce and her team regularly use DNA to trace family members, investigate DNA links and to contact possible relatives. You can expect DNA testing to feature much more in the national conscience in the next few years.
“…a mash-up of Who Do You Think You Are? and Long Lost Family with a Corrie twist. Think of it as Who the ’Eck Do You Think You’ve Lost?”
How it works:
Following in the footsteps of the Corrie stars, potential DNA testers can submit a saliva sample to any of the DNA testing sites by post and then create an online account to access their results. On the website you can see your DNA matches, build a family tree and contact potential relatives. It’s amazing what DNA investigation can unearth, as we found out during the show, as Corrie stars & long term friends Sally Ann Matthews & Amanda Barrie turned out to be cousins! Cast member Liam Bairstow also found out that he was related to King Edward I of England.
With #CoronationStreetDNA trending around the country last night, it is clear the nation was enthralled by the programme. Many took to Twitter to express their joy at during the shoe, with lots having more questions about the DNA aspect. Is the UK just waking up to the possibilities unlocked by DNA testing?
Either way the use of DNA to create tense and emotional viewing is just beginning. With a new series of Long Lost Family in the pipeline, and other DNA related programmes too, you can certainly expect more.
Did you see episode 7 of the latest Long Lost Family series? Broadcast on Tuesday 28th August, the episode focused on Maureen, who had been trying to find her brother Keith for 40 years. Keith was adopted at birth, with Maureen running into dead end after dead end in her search.
After getting in touch with the Long Lost Family team, Maureen’s search made it’s way to Ariel and the search team, who set about tracing Keith. Little did anyone know, that this search would take them to Australia, where Keith had been living for 4 years, and now had 3 children and 8 grandchildren!
Through the search work and intermediary services of Ariel and her team, Maureen and Keith are reunited in the UK. However the story doesn’t end there, as Keith wants to know more about the birth mother who gave him up all those years ago.
This type of search work requires dedicated time pouring over birth records, for which expert help is needed. In this episode of Long Lost Family we see Charlotte Bruce-Lloyd, one of Ariel’s colleagues, explain to Keith how to pull apart search data, and piece together the circumstances which led to his being given up for adoption.
If you missed the episode you can catch up on the ITV hub by clicking on this link – www.itv.com.
With Episode 4 of ITV’s award winning Long Lost Family airing last Tuesday evening (7th August), we have reached the halfway point of Series 8 of LLf. We’ve seen some ground breaking reunions, including the youngest searcher in the show’s history and the first transgender search. The latest episode of the show reunited former England Rugby star Spencer Brown with the mother and sister he was separated from at birth. You can watch a clip of the emotional scenes below:
If you missed the first four episodes of the series, or if you just want to relive the emotional scenes, then you can catch up on the ITV Hub (click link).
Still to come this series we meet Bronwen, now based in Canada, who gave up her son in 1960s West London, herself just 18 and unable to care for a baby. Her description of the 6 weeks she spent agonisingly trying to care for Mark makes for chilling viewing:
“I knew he needed somebody who was grown-up enough to be a mother. However much I loved him, I wasn’t.”
Where is Mark now? Can the two be reunited after all this time? Bronwen had always hoped to see her son again – will she finally get her chance? Tune into ITV1 at 9pm tomorrow night (14th August) to find out.
Ariel Bruce and team provide all of the search work and intermediary services for Long Lost Family.
With Episode 1 of ITV’s award winning Long Last Family breaking boundaries last week with their youngest ever searchers, episode two is set to push the envelope even more. With the first transgender search in the show’s history about to air on Tuesday night at 9pm, emotions around the country are set to run even higher.
Francesca Barnes was born Paul and adopted at 6 months old. After beginning her transition two years ago, Francesca began to wonder about her own birth mother. Like most people Francesca had little idea where to start, so contacted the Long Lost Family team for some expert advice.
Step in Ariel Bruce and Charlotte Bruce Lloyd, who were able to track down Norma, now 64 and living in Southampton. Through careful intermediary work mother and daughter were reunited. Francesca was afraid of not being accepted due to her transition, adding another dimension to the show’s usual emotional roller coaster. However, when Norma says that she is happy to have “gained a daughter” there isn’t a dry eye in the country, let alone the house!
Episode 2 of Long Lost Family will air on Tuesday 24th July at 9pm on ITV1. You can catch up on last week’s episode on the ITV Hub (click here).
Long Lost Family, the award winning ITV1 show, will return to your screens on Tuesday 17th July at the prime time slot of 9pm. Presenters Davina McCall and Nicky Campbell return to help reunite families with missing relatives across the globe.
Series 8 will bring long standing viewers more of the emotional scenes that have become synonymous with the show, as well as some new elements such as the youngest ever search completed, and the first transgender story.
Episode 1, which airs tomorrow night (Tuesday 17th July) sees Pearse reunited with his long lost father Eddie in New York (via the magic of Facebook) and Christina discovering her family routes in Colombia. An international episode and a real tear jerker!
As as with Long Lost Family series 1 – 7, Ariel and her social work team undertook all of the search and intermediary work for series 8, tracing family members across the world and using complex detective work to unearth otherwise hidden family connections. Without this ‘behind the scenes’ work, the emotional on screen reunions would not be possible.
For more information on Long Lost Family series 8 you can head to ITV.com
As a trustee for the Overseas Plastic Surgery Appeal (OPSA), Ariel Bruce has been hard at work increasing the profile of the charity alongside members of the medical team and Ambassadors such as Kate Adie CBE. With the October Cleft Camp not far off, exciting things are happening within the charity:
Emirates Airline On Board!
All at OPSA are delighted to be partnering with Emirates Airlines who will be flying the medical team out to Pakistan free of charge. We are very grateful to Emirates for their generosity, ensuring that as many medical volunteers can be flown out for each camp as possible. This way the charity can have maximum effect in the area and transform the lives of as many people as possible.
2018 October Cleft Camp
Ariel hopes to join the medical team in Pakistan for the October Cleft Camp. It will have been a year since her last visit, so she is excited to get out there and get stuck in. As well as continuing to carry out life changing operations on babies and young children born with facial deformities, the OPSA team is developing the work it does with breast cancer sufferers in the area.
Cleft Camp Documentary Film
With the help of award winning film maker Daisy Asquith, Ariel has started planning the filming of one of the upcoming Cleft Camps for a documentary film. Asquith, who has worked with Ariel in the past, is a lecturer at Goldsmith University, and is helping to pick out a young and talented film maker to join the medical team in Pakistan. More information to follow soon.
OPSA Ambassador & friend of Ariel’s, Kate Adie CBE, was this week awarded the BAFTA Fellowship, the highest honour that can be bestowed on someone for their work in Film and Television.
Kate Adie has been a BBC journalist and correspondent for 40 years, best known for her fearless work reporting from war zones and covering the Iranian Embassy siege. Ariel was delighted to accompany Kate to the ceremony and watch her pick up the award.
Chair of Bafta Jane Lush said of Kate:
“A truly ground-breaking news journalist, being one of a very small number of women working to report the news from hostile environments around the world. Throughout her career, she has brought audiences to the centre of the story by fearlessly reporting from the ground, whilst clearly and concisely explaining the complex issues to audiences at home. We are delighted to be celebrating her stellar career at this year’s ceremony; she is a true trailblazer and very deserving of the Fellowship Award.”
Kate & Ariel work together as an Ambassador & Trustee respectively for OPSA, the Overseas Plastic Surgery Appeal. OPSA run medical camps for children and young people born with facial abnormalities in Pakistan. You can learn more about OPSA’s vital work by clicking on this link – OPSA Charity.