Long Lost Family: Davina McCall and Nicky Campbell reunite father and son separated by nearly 3500 miles

ITV's tear-jerking documentary series Long Lost Family sees a father and son reunite after three decades

From Wall To Wall Productions 

LONG LOST FAMILY: WHAT HAPPENED NEXT
Monday 11th June 2018 on ITV 

Pictured: Nicky Campbell and Davina McCall 

Episode 1 catches up with three families whose lives have been transformed in ways they never imagined. 

Cathie Cutler Evans came to us in 2016 desperate to find her birth mother who had given her up for adoption nearly 50 years before. After uncovered the tragic news that her mum had already passed away, Cathie was reunited with her half-sister Ann in Liverpool. Since meeting the siblings have formed a powerful bond with each other and their brother Mark. But theyÕve all had to come to terms with the fact Cathie will never get to meet their birth mum Adrienne. We discover how building their relationship has given them all the strength to deal with their grief, and find out how Cathie has felt about being welcomed into a huge new family.

We also catch up with John Ayton, who after being adopted as a baby, had longed to find his father Kenneth. John was reunited with his half-brother Steve in 2017 after facing the difficult news that Kenneth had already passed away. But since their meeting, although JohnÕs relationship with his brother has gone from strength to strength, it also underlined just how little he knows about the other side of his family Ð his birth mother, Marlene. JohnÕs need for answers launches an incredible new search, taking him on a journey he never thought possible. 

In our final story, we revisit one of Long Lost FamilyÕs first searchers. Maureen Charlton came to us in series 2 looking for her brother Michael who had been expelled from the family for being gay. But although close as children, after 40 years apart, the siblings couldnÕt just slip back in to the relationship they had back then. We join Michael and Maureen in Brighton to discover what itÕs like to have to get to know each other all over again.

© ITV

Photographer Tony Ward

For further information please contact Peter Gray
0207 157 3046 peter.gray@itv.com  

This photograph is © ITV and can only be reproduced for editorial purposes directly in connection with the  programme LONG LOST FAMILY: WHAT HAPPENED NEXT or ITV. Once made available by the ITV Picture Desk, this photograph can be reproduced once only up until the Transmission date and no reproduction fee will be charged. Any subsequent usage may incur a fee. This photograph must not be syndicated to any other publication or website, or permanently archived, without the express written permission of ITV Picture Desk. Full Terms and conditions are available on the website www.itvpictures.com

All his life, Pearse Egan wove dreams around the father he had never met. “Every little thing I did – learning to ride a bike, learning to swim, I always felt my dad was there with me, showing me how.”

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The fact that Pearse, 29, was growing up on the outskirts of Dublin, while his father Edilson “Eddie” Santos, 62, lived and worked in Manhattan, added glamour to the fantasy.

“I knew my dad was Brazilian and I thought that was the coolest thing in the world, because it made me different to anybody else in Ireland. I had one little picture of him, an old photograph from the time he was with my mum in America, and I kept that with me always.”

Pearse’s parents met when they worked together in New York, but his Irish mother returned home to have her baby. “I couldn’t ask for a better mum,” says Egan. “She made a brilliant job of raising me and my brother on her own. But I think when you’re a parent, you just have to make the decisions you think best at the time. She was very young when she found out she was pregnant, and I think she was really scared. She just felt it would be better to have me at home, in Ireland, and over the years she fell out of touch with my dad.

“He sent me a birthday card when I was six, and I remember one phone call – that was the only contact,” Egan continues. “But in a way that’s really hard to explain, he was always very present to me. I came in for a bit of bullying at school. Kids pick up on the slightest insecurities, and there were digs thrown at me for being from a one-parent family. But I had that photo of my dad. I’d look at it and think, ‘Well, people say I don’t have a dad, but I do…’”

From Wall To Wall Productions LONG LOST FAMILY: Tuesday 17th July 2018 on ITV Pictured: Family Photo - the only photo Pearse Egan had of his father, Edilson Santos. This week, two of our youngest ever searchers, looking for birth family on the other side of the world. A man whose last contact with his father was a snatched phone call from America when he was six. And a woman whose life was transported from Bogata to Berkshire when her Colombian birth mother had to give her up. © Wall To Wall Productions For further information please contact Peter Gray 0207 157 3046 peter.gray@itv.com This photograph is © ITV and can only be reproduced for editorial purposes directly in connection with the programme LONG LOST FAMILY: or ITV. Once made available by the ITV Picture Desk, this photograph can be reproduced once only up until the Transmission date and no reproduction fee will be charged. Any subsequent usage may incur a fee. This photograph must not be syndicated to any other publication or website, or permanently archived, without the express written permission of ITV Picture Desk. Full Terms and conditions are available on the website www.itvpictures.com

The only photo Pearse Egan had of his father, Edilson Santos (courtesy of ITV)

Pearse trained as an actor, then travelled the world, teaching preschool children in Australia and Asia before settling into theatre work in London. But the more experience he gained, the more he felt a fundamental part of himself was missing. “I’d be going to auditions, but I wasn’t able to commit fully to roles, because the type of parts I would be going up for were either a young dad, or an adult having issues with their father.”

With his mother’s support, Pearse decided to trace his father. Appeals on social media came to nothing. Then a post popped up on Pearse’s Facebook page, putting out a call for people to appear on ITV’s Long Lost Family. “I knew the show, but I always got too emotional watching it. This time, though, I thought, ‘Well, what better way? I’ll give it a go.’”

Within weeks, co-host of Long Lost Family Nicky Campbell was interviewing an emotional Eddie Santos in Manhattan. Santos couldn’t wait to meet the son he thought he’d never see, and flew to London at the earliest opportunity.

From Wall To Wall Productions LONG LOST FAMILY: Tuesday 17th July 2018 on ITV Pictured: (l-r) Searcher, Pearse Egan reunited with his birth Father Eddie Santos © ITV Photographer Tony Ward For further information please contact Peter Gray 0207 157 3046 peter.gray@itv.com This photograph is © ITV and can only be reproduced for editorial purposes directly in connection with the programme LONG LOST FAMILY: or ITV. Once made available by the ITV Picture Desk, this photograph can be reproduced once only up until the Transmission date and no reproduction fee will be charged. Any subsequent usage may incur a fee. This photograph must not be syndicated to any other publication or website, or permanently archived, without the express written permission of ITV Picture Desk. Full Terms and conditions are available on the website www.itvpictures.com
Pearse Egan reunited with his Father Eddie Santos (courtesy of ITV)

“When I walked into the restaurant to meet my dad for the first time, I felt like a little kid running to the playground gate,” Egan recalls. “The first thing I said to him was, ‘You have really big hands!’ I have massive hands myself, and it was a part of me I could immediately see in my dad.”

Father and son have since spent time together in New York and have discovered they have many things in common. Eddie, a retired security guard, had wanted to be an actor in his youth. There’s a shared sense of humour, a shared propensity for losing things. Above all, there is, says Egan, a sense of completion for him and for Santos.

“It was the most beautiful thing,” he says. “All the years of longing collapsed into that one moment when my dad hugged me and said, over and over, ‘My son!’”

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Long Lost Family returns to ITV1 on Tuesdays at 9.30pm