With three series of reunion show Long Lost Family under their belts, and a fourth set to hit screens this month, presenters Davina McCall and Nicky Campbell are experts at fighting back the tears.
But one tale on the Bafta-winning ITV show even had the ever-professional McCall “in tatters”.
It was series two, where Maureen, from Liverpool, wanted to track down the mother who had walked out on her as a toddler.
The show’s producers discovered that, not only was Maureen’s mother dead, she had a half-brother and sister who had also been abandoned.
Breaking the news proved almost too much for McCall, whose own mother left when she was aged three, and with whom she had a difficult relationship until her death in 2008.
“I’m going to start crying talking about it,” the former Big Brother presenter confesses as she recalls her visit to Maureen’s home, while Campbell – himself an adopted child – listens intently.
“Before I even went into her house, I was sitting crying in the car. I had to phone the producer and ask her to come and talk me down in the back of the car,” McCall, 46, said. “It all caved in, but I managed to pull myself together for Maureen. I just related to her on a very deep level.”
After imparting the news, Maureen and mum-of-three McCall “talked through how some mothers just aren’t cut out to be mothers”.
“And then Maureen came over all protective older sister, like, ‘I want to meet my siblings, they’ve been through exactly the same thing as me’.”
Series four makes for equally emotional viewing.
In episode one, we see a Hampshire-based woman track down the son she gave up for adoption more than 40 years ago,.
McCall uses her fluent French (her mother was from the country) to help a Yorkshire nurse find her father in the Alps.
“We were both in absolute pieces doing the voice-over for episode one,” says Campbell, who tracked down his birth parents as an adult.