Esther Rantzen

Image for Esther RantzenNot currently available on BBC iPlayer

Duration: 59 minutes

Series in which celebrities trace their ancestry.

Esther Rantzen believes her family history is exclusively a story of genteel middle-class respectability, but there is one story of a black sheep that has always intrigued her. Her cousin reveals the black sheep to be their great-grandfather Montague Leverson who, following some financial trouble, abandoned his family and fled to America. Her investigations into Montague uncover a scandalous story of fraud, bigamy and murder.

Esther then goes on to investigate the origins of her very unusual surname. As she traces her family back she is stunned to learn that her wealthy stockbroker grandfather was born in an East End slum. Her investigations into the Rantzen family's rapid social rise expose a close family connection to the diamond magnate Barney Barnato, one of the richest men of the 19th century. Ultimately Esther manages to trace the origins of her name back to 18th century Warsaw.


Esther Rantzen


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Available on: DVD

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