Word Smith: Families show best of Campbell and McCall

Together again: Wayne and Terry, father and son reunited after 40-years by Long Lost Families.
Together again: Wayne and Terry, father and son reunited after 40-years by Long Lost Families.
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I’D heard a bit about this one.

I’D heard a bit about this one, writes Martin Smith.

Watch Long Lost Familes someone said, it’s really good, a bit emotional but great television.

Emotional?

I cried for an hour.

Seeing fathers and sons sisters, mums and brothers get back together after years apart has a way of touching us that few other things can.

No matter what your background or family circumstances it gets the emotions flowing either because it reminds you of your own family and how intensely difficult it would be to be without them or it reminds you of the family you never had.

Either way tears are guaranteed.

Some would call it over-sentimental, mawkish even, but if we can’t get a bit blubby over family then what emotions do we have?

We had our own two long lost sisters in Sheffield recently and this week’s episode was a man in Blackpool who hadn’t seen his Dad for 40-plus years after his parents split up.

In a fit of childish anger - encouraged by his mother it seems - he told his Dad he never wanted to see him again.

He never did.

The programme traced his Dad to Australia where it turns out the trauma of being seperated from his son Wayne had caused his dad Terry to have a nervous breakdown.

They met up again after four decades apart on Blackpool prom. You couldn’t help wondering as they finally walked towards each other how many times they had longed to do just that. How many times they had lived that moment in their minds hoping that, one day, it might become real.

The show is presented by Davina McCall and Nicky Campbell, both of whom have extraordinary family backgrounds themselves.

They are both subject to derision by critics but they deliver this show brilliantly, their own childhoods making their good wishes and encouragement deeply touching.

Nicky Campbell’s cocky radio persona all but disappears to reveal a caring and thoughtful individual.

A revelation in itself.