Stranger in My Family


1 x 60'

Production company

Nine Lives Media

Year of production


Commissioning channels




Luke grew up in a white working-class family in Rochdale, but always felt like an outsider.
He thought it might be because of his sexuality, but when he came out as gay aged 18, his parents were very supportive, and the feeling did not go away. Persistent questions about his appearance eventually inspire him to take a DNA test and the result explodes his identity, revealing a secret his mum has kept hidden since Luke’s birth – his dad is not his biological father, and he is mixed race.

To find out who he really is, Luke begins the difficult search for a man his mum Liz and her friend Yvonne befriended on a girls’ holiday in Portugal in the 1990s. All Liz remembers is that the man she had a holiday romance with in Albufeira three decades earlier was a bartender called Carlos, but the lack of information and big obstacles do not discourage Luke.

Luke is resolved to try and find out as much as he can, not only in the hope of tracking down his biological father Carlos, but also to understand his new ethnic heritage and culture. Enlisting the help of genealogists, family friends and distant relations he finds online because they share his DNA, he begins the search of a lifetime.

Manchester based Luke’s extraordinary journey takes him back to Portugal with his mum’s holiday companion Yvonne, to see if she can remember which bar Carlos was working in 30 years previously.

They meet Ângela Campos, a Portuguese historian and forensic genealogist, who accompanies them on their search for any signs of Carlos and the answers Luke is looking for. Luke can’t help but wonder, ‘Is he still here in this town?’

Luke’s search reveals much more than he ever imagined possible, uncovering six decades of family secrets and a brand new multi-racial family. He also finds himself healing much more than just his own emotional pain.

Shortlisted for the 2024 Broadcast Awards - Best Documentary Programme.

Watch Stranger in My Family NOW

Back to catalogue

Screener: Stranger in My Family