Heir Hunters returns for a seventh series

BBC One’s probate research programme, Heir Hunters returns for a seventh series.

Probate research programme, Heir Hunters, has returned for a seventh series.

BBC Heir Hunters

The Heir Hunters programme, which follows probate research companies as they seek the benefactors of unclaimed estates, is currently showing during BBC One’s daytime weekday schedules and also on iPlayer (UK only).

As a fan of the show, I’m pleased to see it return, although know some friends who aren’t fans of the show – seeing the probate researchers as ‘money grabbers’.

In my opinion, if the estate is left unclaimed, and distant relatives have no idea of their relative’s death (or even existence in some cases), the commission that the probate teams earn is perfectly acceptable. In addition, with millions of GBP going unclaimed each year – it would simply go to the government if a probate researcher didn’t seek these out.

In addition, several previous episodes have acted as closure or a sad but welcome reunion for family stories and memories.

The first episode covers the cases of Prudence May Bone‘s railway family history, and a mysterious gentleman William Maxwell Naismith Wilcock, whose friends had no idea whether all his unusual life stories were true, and suspected him of being a spy.

The Bona Vacantia Unclaimed Estate Lists all the unclaimed estates since 1997 and can be viewed on their website. Is there an inheritance waiting for you?


Heir Hunters series goes prime-time

Heir Hunters is now prime-time on BBC 2 in the UK with presenter Lisa Faulkner.

Probate research show Heir Hunters arrives on prime-time BBC tv.

Lisa Faulkner with Neil Fraser
Presenter Lisa Faulkner with Probate Researcher Neil Fraser from Fraser & Fraser. Photo:@lisafaulkner1

For quite some time now, I’ve been addicted to the daytime television series Heir Hunters, which has screened in the UK for several series.

The premise of the show is to use genealogical research methods to uncover the relatives of people who have died intestate (ie without a Will or any known legally recognised family), leading them to making a claim of the deceased’s estate which would otherwise be absorbed by the government.

The show follows a handful of the companies (mainly Fraser & Fraser, and often Celtic Research) that work against the clock to beat rival companies, to work out family trees and connect real people to their legal entitlement.

This often unearths long-lost and incredible stories about the deceased, or brings memories flooding back to living relatives who lost touch, and in several cases, comes as a complete shock to receive notification that the deceased person even existed.

The series has now been given a prime-time 7pm slot over on BBC 2, where it is now given a much longer programme, and this gives it the chance to add a much more educational and genealogical context – with investigations into the society that the deceased lived in.

Actress and the show’s former narrator since 2008, Lisa Faulkner, now takes to the screen as presenter, bringing interesting and educational interviews with experts and even the to-camera pleas for information on individuals who have been languishing on the government Bona Vacantia list.

The current run of episodes essentially contain the stories used in the last series, but with  extra footage and interviews edited in. According to the Heir Hunters twitter feed, a brand new series is complete and ready for transmission.

What do you make of the show? Is the new format better? Did you prefer the shorter programme, or the time of day that it was on? Let me know in the comments below!

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