Just the words Long Lost Family make me do a little cry. They don’t even have to be in that order. “I’ve lost my long family (pack of HobNobs)” works too, though the loss of any biscuits is always upsetting. “The Long family are lost (in Swindon)” can also elicit tears. Poor things. Even when my family whinged at how long an episode of Lost was, my lip was wibbling. Such is the power of Long Lost Family (Monday, 9pm ITV).
I defy anyone to not experience even a small amount of eye leakage when Davina McCall tells a lady that they’ve found the daughter she fought against giving up and that she wants to meet her mam. Oh, I’m going again. This programme, by the way, also highlights how crappy it was for women in the 1950s and 60s. The “good old days” only really refers to Elvis and skirts you could twirl in.
My favourite bit is when Nicky Campbell and Davina drop each of the relatives off at Downton Abbey so that if they have nothing to say to each other, at least they can admire the manicured lawns and chat over which scone to have in the tea shop. I’ve had dates like that.
I love seeing two family members sussing out their similarities. Sometimes you see the resemblance instantly. Sometimes they’re both adorably keen to spot a likeness: “You like tea. Our mam liked tea. Eeeeh, you’re like peas in a pod” or “Our dad always used to wear jeans.”
I like the update at the end of the show: “Margaret and Edith have met up twice and are planning a holiday with both families”. I don’t ever want more than that. “Margaret and Edith clashed in Malaga when Margaret accused Edith of being a bad drunk. Just like their mam used to be.” Or “on his second visit to see his biological mother in France, Terry realised she was a bit of a cow and went home and hugged his adoptive mam instead”. Your family is your family after all.
There could definitely be a spin-off game show for Davina, where she shows a panel of contestants an episode of The Secret Millionaire and whoever doesn’t cry gets through to the next round. Round two is an onslaught of One Born Every Minute and the final round is every episode ever made of Long Lost Family. No one would ever win The Million Pound Teardrop.
Sarah’s stand-up DVD, Thoroughly Modern Millican Live, is available at radiotimes.com/dvdshop