Long Lost Families Review: Womb Mates

LONG LOST FAMILIES: Thursday 21st April, ITV1, 9pm

The formula is simple – gather a handful of people who have lost touch with relatives, through adoption or otherwise, and get a couple of research interns to track the missing family down. Then, contract Davina McCall to phone in a sporadic presenting job, and suplement her erratic appearances by making that bloke from Radio 5Live with a woman’s name – Nicky Campbell?! – put in the legwork. Reunite the lost lost family and voila! Fifty minutes of emotional, harrowing and resquisitely uplifting telly. Wipe your eyes and put the kettle on, what a journey we’ve all been on.

First up is Jennifer, a 66-year-old Rotherhamer who found out at the age of 11 that the woman she thought was her aunt was really her mother, and that she was a twin; the said twin had been adopted in a keep-it-quiet, 1940s kind of way. She’s always felt she was missing something, a womb-mate if you will, and she’s desperate to track down her missing sister. Davina gets her trusty work experience guys on the case, and sure enough they discover Jennifer’s sister had been adopted, renamed Cathleen and grown up only a short distance away, now living just three miles from Jennifer. Astounding. Pass the biccies.

Karen Lloyd, a 43-year-old from Warwickshire, has a more complicated story to unravel. Her mother fell pregnant with her when she was 18, by her 19-year-old boyfriend. After giving him the news, she asked him to meet her – and the terrified teenage dad never showed up. Jennifer was brought up by her grandparents, believing her mum to be her older sister until she was seven. She’s spent years trying to find the missing dad, even hiring a private detective, but he was impossible to trace.

Davina’s super sleuths pull it out of the bag and find that, not only did he abandon his pregnant girlfriend, he put thousands of miles between them by emigrating to Canada. They track him down, a friendly family man who crumples on hearing the news of his middle-aged daughter, and her struggles to find him. He does a lot of crying, this guy. Well, I warned you it would be harrowing. He’s obviously saddled with forty-year-old guilt for abandoning his daughter, and can’t wait to meet her and introduce her to his extended family. It’s all quite lovely. Pass the tissues..

Looks like more complicated faire next week with a missing dad in and out of prison, and a woman desperate to find the son she gave away. Sniff.