After Bafta glory, Harpenden producer is working on new series

PUBLISHED: 16:34 27 May 2014

Left to right. Duncan Coates, Kate Scholefield, Sally Benton, Leanne Klein, Davina McCall, Nicky Campbell and Jo Clinton with the Features Award for Long Lost Family, at the Arqiva British Academy Television Awards 2014 at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday May 18, 2014. See PA story SHOWBIZ Bafta. Photo credit should read: Ian West/PA Wire

Left to right. Duncan Coates, Kate Scholefield, Sally Benton, Leanne Klein, Davina McCall, Nicky Campbell and Jo Clinton with the Features Award for Long Lost Family, at the Arqiva British Academy Television Awards 2014 at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday May 18, 2014. See PA story SHOWBIZ Bafta. Photo credit should read: Ian West/PA Wire

“Fantastic but still a bit dazed”, is how a Harpenden man is feeling after recently being given an iconic golden TV Bafta award by supermodel Naomi Campbell.

Duncan Coates, executive producer at Wall to Wall, walked away with the Features accolade for his ITV show Long Lost Family, beating the likes of Grand Designs and The Great British Bake Off.

The East Common resident collected the award at the star-studded bash alongside presenters Davina McCall and Nicky Campbell and said: “No-one on the team had dared hope it might happen, so the award came as a wonderful shock!”

Speaking about the glitzy night he said: “The atmosphere was brilliant and the thing that surprised me most was the scale of it all. Stars and cameras everywhere, everyone in a state of high excitement, especially on the red carpet, which was like a celeb traffic jam. I spent most of the time taking pictures to send to family and friends. Not very cool, but I couldn’t resist!”

The father of five added the award was now at home on the mantelpiece waiting for its first polish.

He explained that the format for the award-winning show stemmed from another of his production company’s popular creations, Who Do You Think You Are?

He said: “We were looking for another idea about family searches. We also wanted to do something about reunions – which is a popular subject for programme makers. “Somehow this idea clicked, because we focused on the stories behind why people have been separated.”

The former researcher attributes the success of the programme to the fact that it touches upon so many themes people can all relate to: “The importance of family, where we get our sense of identity from, making amends for the past. And it’s real. What you see people going through is genuine and life changing.”

He added that all the reunions had been extraordinary in their own way and full of surprises, but added: “I think the stories involving mothers looking for children who they had to give up for adoption, in times very different to today, are very special.”

The former Verulam and St Albans Boys School student is already working on a new series called The Gift, which aims to help people who are desperate to trace someone from their past to thank or apologise to: “From those who’ve been wronged and owed a long over due apology, to heroes who’ve saved lives, we’ve so far reunited a range of people.

“If anyone would like our help with tracing, we’d love to hear from you. You can reach us by contacting Rachel.Ozers@walltowall.co.uk.”

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