Heir Hunters

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Heir Hunters
Directed byJohn Widdup (series 4)
Presented byNadia Sawalha
(series 1)
Lisa Faulkner
(series 2-11)
Michael Buerk
(series 12-)
Country of originUnited Kingdom
Original language(s)English
No. of series12
No. of episodes240
Executive producer(s)Matthew Gordon
Roger Bolton (2012)
Producer(s)Harriet Scott (2012)
John Widdup (2010–11)
Livia Russell (2009)
Paula Fasht (2008)
Production location(s)Various
Running time45–60 minutes
Production company(s)Flame Television
Original networkBBC One
Picture format16:9
Original release4 June 2007 (2007-06-04) –
External links
Production website

Heir Hunters is a BBC television programme focusing on attempts to find missing or unknown heirs, entitled to deceased people's estates before the British Treasury lawfully collects the money. The show follows the work of probate researchers from a number of different firms to show how the results of time-consuming research turned out. The main firms followed have been Fraser and Fraser, Celtic Research and Finders International.

It was announced in 2011 that Heir Hunters would run in both BBC One daytime and in primetime television on BBC Two that autumn.[1] The eleventh series was aired on BBC One from 27 February 2017.


The series is made by Flame TV, which is part of the Avalon Group. The first series was presented by Nadia Sawalha, while all subsequent series are narrated by Lisa Faulkner up to series 11. Series 12 is presented by Michael Buerk. The programme combined the worlds of legal probate genealogy and family history for the first time[citation needed] attracting audiences of over 1.2 million.

The series runs as part of BBC One's weekday lineup in the early morning factual slot (9:15 am – 10:00 am), alongside shows including Animal 24:7 and Helicopter Heroes. The second series had record viewing numbers for the time slot and beat The Jeremy Kyle Show on ITV consistently during its run, prompting the BBC to immediately recommission repeatedly series after series with series 11 being filmed in the autumn of 2016.

The title cards for the 2008 and later series spell 'Heir Hunters' as 'H£ir Hunt£rs', using the pound sterling sign as a capital E. In each programme of the first two series three unclaimed estates from Bona Vacantia are mentioned in the hope of information being given by a viewer which could help find an heir or heirs. One of these mentioned in the first series resulted in information that led to some heirs being found for an estate.

The term "Heir Hunter" has become known to refer to any person or firm who tracks down beneficiaries to estates of deceased persons. "Heir hunters" may also be known as probate genealogists, probate researchers, heir searchers, or forensic genealogists although the latter is mainly an American term for the industry.

Heir Hunters are unregulated in the UK[2] although STEP (the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners) have endorsed their use.[3]

The series has been repeated on the A+E Networks UK channels History and Bio. and UKTV channels Watch and Yesterday.

In 2011, it began to be transmitted on the History Channel in the UK, New Zealand and Australia.

From 21 November – 2 December 2011, ten re-versioned episodes of series 5 were shown on BBC Two at 7pm each weekday. The expanded episodes have an increased duration of 59 minutes and feature Lisa Faulkner on camera for the first time interviewing experts and Heir Hunters. BBC Two had ordered 20 episodes in total the 2nd set of 10 were from series 6 and were aired in January 2013.


The series was aired in a stripped daily format, running Monday – Friday for 3, 4, 5 and 4 weeks respectively. Series 10 was set to be re-edited into repeated 30 minute versions later in 2016 whilst filming for series 11 got underway. Series 11 began screening in 2017 and filming for Series 12 began in June 2017.[4][5][6]

Series Start date End date Episodes
4 June 2007
22 June 2007
30 June 2008
25 July 2008
29 June 2009
31 July 2009
18 January 2010
12 February 2010
21 February 2011
25 March 2011
21 November 2011
4 December 2011
16 April 2012
11 May 2012
7 January 2013
25 January 2013
4 March 2013
29 March 2013
3 March 2014
28 March 2014
23 February 2015
23 March 2015
29 February 2016
27 February 2017

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 24 December 2011. Retrieved 11 October 2011.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  2. ^ [1]
  3. ^ [2]
  4. ^ BBC Daytime orders third series of Heir Hunters
  5. ^ http://www.tvthrong.co.uk/heir-hunters/bbc-daytime-orders-two-more-series-heir-hunters-and-another-instalment-dont-get-done-get-dom
  6. ^ http://www.bbc.co.uk/pressoffice/pressreleases/stories/2009/10_october/29/daytime.shtml

External links[edit]