Long Lost Family Special: Born Without Trace

Long Lost Family Special: Born Without Trace



The people Long Lost Family helps often have tough stories of being adopted as children and trying, later in life, to trace their birth relatives. But here, in this 90-minute special (first shown in 2019), the stakes are, if anything, higher and the chances of success lower. All of the contributors here were foundlings, abandoned as babies by their parents and discovered by strangers. As one puts it, “To not know where your roots are is like being dropped from a spaceship.”

Karen was found as a newborn 60 years ago, in a cardboard box on a street in Manchester. Learning this in her 30s made her feel “like rubbish, like I didn’t exist”. So, in a process that proves painful, moving, but in the end redemptive, the programme uses DNA analysis and online databases to track down Karen’s living relatives.


Foundlings are people who were abandoned as babies, often in the first hours and days of their lives and have had no way to unlock the secrets of their past. In this 90-minute special presented by Davina McCall and Nicky Campbell, new DNA technology and painstaking detective work is combined to help solve the mysteries of people with unknown beginning. The team uses an extraordinary new technique to try to identify birth families and find answers for people who have spent decades striving to find out where they came from.

Cast & Crew

Presenter Davina McCall
Presenter Nicky Campbell