Category Archives: News

OPSA March Cleft Camp In Pakistan

On March 9th 2019, Ariel Bruce, in her role as charity Trustee, accompanied the Overseas Plastic Surgery Appeal (OPSA) team on their March ‘Cleft Camp’ to Gujrat, Pakistan. This week long surgical camp sees teams of volunteer surgeons and staff from the UK & Ireland traveling to The Punjab Region to deliver life saving facial surgery to impoverished babies and children in the region.

In Pakistan facial abnormalities, including cleft lip and palate, are not routinely fixed at birth like in many other countries. The time and effort given up by the OPSA team allows thousands of poor an underprivileged children the chance at a normal childhood.


For the March Cleft Camp the OPSA team was able to do this by securing the help of a small film crew from Goldsmith’s University. With full access to the camp, the film crew were able to get some fantastic footage of the team hard at work as well as interviews with the families effected.

The OPSA surgical team spend the majority of the week operating, often from sun up until sun down, to see as many patients as possible. They were however joined by a very special guest during this camp, in the form of His Excellency President Mr Masood Khan, President of Azad Kashmir. The President attended a special lunch and congratulated the OPSA team on their hard work and life changing operations.


The film of the March Cleft Camp will be released very soon. To see more of the great work that OPSA do, and to donate to this worthwhile cause, please click on the website URL below:




‘My Heart Hurts’: Long Lost Family Born Without Trace Review

Monday 25th February 2019 saw the release of a one off special of the ‘Long Lost Family’ franchise: ‘Born Without Trace’. Ariel Bruce and her team, Julia Bell and Charlotte Bruce Lloyd, worked tirelessly for many months alongside the producers Wall to Wall Media and presenters Davina McCall and Nicky Campbell to bring this ’emotional rollercoaster of a show’ to ITV1.

Using DNA detective work Ariel and her team were able to piece together the backstories of the 3 foundlings featured; Jamie, Karen and Ally, setting up Long Lost Family regular presenters Davina and Nicky to drop the emotional bombshells and had viewers all over the country reaching for the Kleenex.

This episode shows how the mysteries surrounding foundlings shape entire lives. Each person expresses a need to know where they came from in order to know who they are. There is no judgment, which is touching and lovely, and they all talk about the trauma their birth mothers must have experienced.

The Guardian’s Chitra Ramaswamy gave the show 4 our of 5 stars, also lifting Karen’s sentiments for a well fitting three-word review: “my heart hurts”.

You can read the full Guardian review by clicking here

Twitter also exploded during the show, with the hashtags ‘Born Without Trace’ and ‘Long Lost Family’ trending throughout the UK. You can head over to Ariel’s Twitter Feed to read all of the best conversations about the show. A selection can also be found below:

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Presenter Nicky Campbell took to Twitter to thank the research team, as well as all the contributors.

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Fans of the show expressed their emotional response to the program via Twitter

If you missed the original showing you can catch up in the UK on the ITV Hub. Watch the full show again by clicking here – ITV HUB


Long Lost Family Press Release: ‘Born Without Trace’

Ariel Bruce and the Long Lost Family team are proud to bring you a one off special, ‘Long Lost Family: Born Without Trace’, which will air on ITV1 on Monday 25th February at 9pm. The one hour thirty minute special will follow the stories of three ‘foundling’ babies, now adults, as they seek to learn the story of their origins.

The right to origin has always been a founding cornerstone in Ariel’s search work, however, before the rise in private DNA databases like ‘AncestryDNA’ and ’23 & Me’, there were some cases that just could not be solved. These ‘foundling cases’ – babies left at hospitals & churches with no identifying information – had no paper trail or even a name with which to start a search, and therefore almost no chance of tracing their origins.

“I was straight out of the womb and put into a pillowcase and left on the doorstep…where is my history? Where did I come from? Being a foundling, I’ve got nothing” Alley Lofthouse, foundling

Using increasingly popular DNA research to trace the origins of these foundling babies demonstrates perfectly the fascinating connections that can be made with DNA research. In doing so, Ariel and her team were able to give the show’s three foundlings Alley, Jamie and Karen, a previously unknown history and a sense of where they came from.

Long Lost Family presenters Davina McCall and Nicky Campbell return to present, with appearances from Ariel herself as well as DNA expert and colleague Julia Bell. Tune into ITV1 for ‘Long Lost Family Special: Born Without Trace’ on Monday 25th February at 9pm.

“Just when you thought Long Lost Family couldn’t get any more emotional, Nicky Campbell and Davina McCall are back to host this heart-breaking one-off special focusing on people who were abandoned as babies and are desperate to find out about their roots.” What’s On TV: *****

You can read the full ITV Press Release by clicking here –

Telegraph Magazine Reports On DNA Testing

Ariel Bruce was featured in the Sunday Telegraph Magazine (26th Jan 2019) discussing the rise in popularity of personal DNA testing. The story, by Rachel Cocker, tells how her own mother, Moria Crocker, instructed Ariel in the late 1980’s to trace her birth parents after discovering she was adopted.

Ariel, dubbed the ‘Agatha Christie of the adoption world’ by the Telegraph, successfully found and made contact with Moira’s mother Elspet, but sadly she was not in a position to start a relationship with her daughter, and died in 1990 taking Moira’s birth father’s name with her.

Ariel, who uses DNA tests daily to discover and confirm family connections, was not at all surprised when Moira’s DNA results from a test taken many years later in 2018 showed that she had a half brother, David, she had previously known nothing about.

David, who showed as an extremely strong match on the Ancestry DNA database, shared enough ‘centimorgans’ to be classed as a half sibling. Cocker goes on to tell us that the two eventually met and discovered a shared past that took them back to the Sudan of the 1940s, where their respective parents were both living. Through linking this backstory to the Ancestry DNA results they were able to confirm the relationship. At the age of 70, through the use of DNA, Moira was able to not only find out who her father was, but also discover that she had a half brother. As Ariel says in the article: ‘DNA does not lie”.


DNA has long been used to discover and confirm family connections in professional circles, not least in Ariel’s work uniting families all over the world ITV’s Long lost Family. However, Cocker tells us that private DNA testing is experiencing a boom all of its own:

A report in the journal Science, in October, showed that 60 per cent of Americans of European descent could already be identified by cross-referencing relatives in DNA databases with other publicly available genealogical records. And the UK is noy far behind.

With the ever increasing popularity of DNA television shows like Long Lost Family, and a high number of enquiries to Ariel for help with searches, it seems like the DNA bubble isn’t going to burst anytime soon.

You can read the full Telegraph article by clicking here – Daily Telegraph

BBC Podcast Explores DNA Testing

What is a DNA test, and does it ‘work’? Why might someone want to test their DNA, and what will they find out? Previously unknown cousins and relatives? Skeletons in the cupboard? Possibly all of the above…

The rise in popularity of DNA testing is undeniable, thanks in large part to ITV’s Long Lost Family, of which Ariel and her team are lead researchers. ‘The Curious Cases of Rutherford and Fry’ is one of the flagship podcasts on the new BBC Sounds platform, and they have chosen the subject of DNA Testing for their opening episode.

Whether you’re trying to trace a missing family member or explore family traits and hereditary illnesses, a quick and easy DNA test can give you a wealth of information in just a few weeks.

Listen to the Podcast by clicking here.


Ariel and her team use DNA analysis to find family connections and to trace missing family members in ways that would previously have been impossible without DNA testing. Many of the Long Lost Family cases were cracked using DNA, so it’s no wonder the popularity of testing is on the rise.

If you want to know more about professional DNA testing then you can contact to chat to the team.

DNA Testing On Corrie Cast Equal Great TV!

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.

Twitter reaction:

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?

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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.

Long Lost Family Episode 2 Preview

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 Series 8 Premiere Dates

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

Kate Adie Awarded BAFTA Fellowship

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.


Long Lost Family Series 8 Update

Series 7 of Long Lost Family concluded back in September of last year with an emotional episode in keeping with the rest of the series. We rounded off another great series by reuniting Derek with his long lost little brother and by helping Ann, who was adopted at birth, to answer many of the questions she had carried around since childhood.

Derek and his half brother Julian’s meeting, after more than 70 years apart, was all the sweeter now that Julian is living in Philadelphia, USA. Julian made the three and a half thousand mile journey to meet his big brother in an East London pub close to where their mother lived during the war. They are very much a part of each other’s lives now, feeling a great sense of fulfilment and closeness after being reunited on the show.


Ann had always felt different from her adoptive family, often landing her in trouble at school. She knew she was adopted and 20 years ago set out to find her birth parents. With just a name, Ariel and the LLF team were able to track down Denise, Ann’s birth mother, as well as a half sister called Delina. Sadly, Denise had passed away three years ago, but reuniting Ann with her 4 half sisters helped to answer some of the questions she had grown up with.

Even before series 7 had wrapped, Ariel and her team were hard at work on the stories that will make up series 8. With many more long lost family members to reunite, the work never stops. There is no official release date for series eight yet, but you can be rest assured that it will be the same emotional rollercoaster you’ve come to know and love. Watch this space!