Last Wednesday saw the start of series six of Long Lost Family on ITV1. The show that reunites families after years of separation is samey, predictable and overly emotional, but I can’t help still loving it nevertheless. For me, it is a feel good programme like no other in terms of its altruistic nature. Yes, it goes over-the-top at times in terms of its production values in wanting to make us cry almost every other minute, but ultimately this is feel good telly at its finest that deserves more praise than scorn.
In terms of structure, this first episode of series six was identical to all the episodes in series five and four. It is a format that clearly works but it has become too formulaic as a result. i.e you know how the episodes are going to unfold before even watching them. Subsequently, this leaves the show wide open to much parody like The X-Factor has in the past with its sob stories. The difference here though is that the people in Long Lost Family are not talentless wannabies trying to flog the Simon Cowell music brand, instead these are genuine people with genuine stories about their past who it becomes almost impossible not to care about. As always with this show, Davina McCall and Nicky Campbell brilliantly complimented each other as the presenters. As usual there were two stories for us to find out about and these interchanged throughout the episode.
The first story we told about was revealed to us as a first on Long Lost Family. Two people who did not know each other had come forward and were trying to locate the same person, namely their natural mother who had given them both up for adoption as babies. After a DNA match it was confirmed that Cliff Jardine and Sue Ward were indeed half siblings. Their genuine shared delight upon finding out that each other existed was a lovely thing to witness. Cliff stated the following,
“Having lived your whole life by yourself and never sort of feeling part of a family, to actually find out I have a family is amazing”.
As their story was told, it was complimented periodically with great scenic shots of the north Devon coast where Cliff was form. These panning shots served to punctuate the action as well adding a touch of the spectacle to the show.
My hunch was that their Mother must have died by now given that Cliff was fifty-three, sad but highly probable I thought. I was sat there grinning ear-to-ear as the happy second story had just concluded when I was truly gobsmacked at what I was then reading on screen. It was in the concluding bit of the show where it detailed an update about the people/families featured. We were told that Cliff and Sue had eventually found their mother, brilliant I thought(my face still grinning). However, it went on to reveal how their mother did not want any contact with them for fear of upsetting her family. I was staggered at this, it’s her own flesh and blood we are talking about here. I found it impossible to comprehend how this woman could not want to see two of her children after all these years apart. It definitely left a bad taste in my mouth as the credits rolled.
The second story was had a happier outcome and was the one that NEARLY but not quite moved me to tears. I actually did not cry at all in this episode which I think is a first for me whilst watching Long Lost Family. Could I finally becoming desensitized to the sad stories and emotive piano music I wonder, time will tell I guess??? We were told how a twenty-nine year pediatric nurse called Anna from Cambridge, was looking for her Ecuadorian mother. Anna stated,
“Unless I find my mother I think there will always be a part of me missing”
Anna we discovered had been born in Ecuador but had been put up for adoption and brought over to the UK at the age of two. Nicky found Anna’s mother in Ecuador and their story reached its happy conclusion when they were reunited with one another at the end. After my utter dismay at reading Cliff and Sue’s mum did not want to know them, it was nice to read at the end that Anna and her natural mother had remained in contact since being reunited.
Like I have already said at the top, this show has become too samey and so I therefore do wonder if the format is becoming a bit tired and stale now as a result. ie boring? That said, I just love watching the human happiness in it though above all else. In my view, it is this glorious sight of seeing loved ones lovingly reunited with one another that banishes away any of the criticisms that can be quite fairly leveled at it.
Watching Long Lost Family brings a certain amount of happiness into my life that very few other television programmes are capable of doing. It is great to see this TV show once again, IT’S GREAT TO BE REUNITED WITH IT!!!