Happy re­unions on Long Lost Fam­ily

Dav­ina Mccall and Nicky Camp­bell tell us about the emo­tional re­unions in a new se­ries of Long Lost Fam­ily and how the show has touched the na­tion

TV Times - - My Tv Week - Emma Bul­limore

New FAC­TUAL Long Lost Fam­ily WED­NES­DAY / ITV / 9.00Pm

Even af­ter six se­ries of Long Lost Fam­ily, we still can’t watch the heart-wrench­ing fam­ily re­union show with­out dis­solv­ing into tears ev­ery five min­utes. Luck­ily, Dav­ina Mccall and Nicky Camp­bell are there to guide us through the roller­coaster of emo­tions in ev­ery pro­gramme.

Al­though the pre­sen­ters are rarely seen on screen to­gether, they are united by a gen­uine in­ter­est and af­fec­tion for the con­trib­u­tors, and stay in touch with them af­ter the cam­eras stop rolling. ‘I text Nicky for up­dates about the peo­ple I’m meet­ing,’ says Dav­ina. ‘I just say, “Tell me ev­ery­thing!” ’

This se­ries fea­tures the show’s first di­vorced cou­ple search­ing for their son, as well as the first deaf con­trib­u­tor the show has helped.

Here, Dav­ina and Nicky tell us what’s in store in the weeks ahead…

Can we ex­pect this se­ries to be as emo­tional as ever? Dav­ina: Yes, we’ve had a few sto­ries where the moth­ers that peo­ple are search­ing for aren’t alive any­more, and that’s hard. We al­ways tell them off-cam­era, but then I go in the next day with a photo of their mum, which is re­ally sad. Of­ten we can re­unite them with a sib­ling, as we did with Cathie in episode one, which is al­ways poignant for me. I al­ways think how amaz­ingly for­tu­itous it is to find a sis­ter, be­cause I had mine taken away [Dav­ina’s sis­ter, Caro­line, passed away in 2012]. I want to tell them to cher­ish that re­la­tion­ship be­cause it’s the most pre­cious thing ever. Nicky: I’m adopted and trac­ing my fam­ily wasn’t a mas­sive emo­tional thing, I did it out of in­tense cu­rios­ity. But I get the things peo­ple say like, ‘I didn’t want to trace my birth mother be­cause I don’t want to be dis­loyal to my par­ents’, or ‘I was wor­ried I might be re­jected.’ In­side I’m think­ing, ‘Yep, that’s my life!’

There’s a lovely story in the first episode about a di­vorced cou­ple, Mar­ion and James [see box be­low] who want to find their son… Dav­ina: It was a re­ally beau­ti­ful thing be­cause that’s never hap­pened on the show be­fore. They met when they were seven and were madly in love as teenagers, but no­body would help them when they had their son. They’re still good friends and it’s an amaz­ing story, you re­ally em­pathise with them. Nicky: When Dav­ina told them their son had been found, they cud­dled each other. I watched a pre­view of the episode with my wife and we went through an en­tire box of tis­sues…

it’s the show that makes the na­tion cry – do you find it hard not to shed a tear dur­ing film­ing? Dav­ina: I’d rather stab my­self with a biro than cry in front of the con­trib­u­tors. How aw­ful would it be if one of them had to ask me if I was okay? I cry when I read the notes be­fore­hand be­cause they can be heart­break­ing, and I can’t talk at the end of a day’s film­ing. I get in the car on my own and if my hus­band calls me I have to call him back in half an hour or so. Nicky: There are some bits that have been cut out of episode one where I’m read­ing a mother’s diary and ev­ery year she has writ­ten in the birth­day of the daugh­ter she had to give up, I was so choked up. But the beauty of this pro­gramme is that it’s not about us, it’s about the fam­i­lies. I work in news on the ra­dio most of the time and with all the ter­ri­ble things re­cently. Long Lost Fam­ily has been a sanc­tu­ary of love­li­ness – it shows ev­ery­thing that’s good about hu­man­ity.

what’s been the most dif­fi­cult re­union to fa­cil­i­tate this year? Dav­ina: We had one case this se­ries that took the team 18 months. The con­trib­u­tor ap­plied last se­ries, but we didn’t find their rel­a­tive in time. Our team are like ter­ri­ers, though, they just won’t give up. Some­times the team will end up knock­ing door-to-door to find their fam­ily.

Do peo­ple talk to you about the show on the street?

Nicky: A lot of peo­ple tell us about the fa­ther they never knew, and es­tranged fam­ily mem­bers. Dav­ina: Some­times they tell us the pro­gramme in­spired them to find their rel­a­tives. Ac­tu­ally, I was at the swim­ming pool the other day and some­body came up to me and said, 'Do you think you could help me find my dad?' I said, 'Yes, but you’ve got to ap­ply to the show!’

Can you see this se­ries still be­ing on air for years to come? Dav­ina: I can’t see why not. There are al­ways peo­ple look­ing for fam­ily. Nicky: As long as it goes on, we’ll be there be­cause we love it, it’s the most ex­tra­or­di­nary show to be part of. We could do it on our mo­bil­ity scoot­ers!

Long Lost fam­ily is pre­viewed on pages 68-69

I some­times cry be­fore­hand, but I’d never cry

in front of the con­trib­u­tors


Nicky and Dav­ina bring to­gether Cathie and her half-sis­ter Ann

Dav­ina and her sis­ter, Caro­line

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