|Directed by John Widdup (series 4)|
Original language(s) English
No. of episodes 180
Number of series 9
|Country of origin United Kingdom|
No. of series 9
First episode date 4 June 2007
|Executive producer(s) Matthew Gordon
Roger Bolton (2012)|
Presented by Nadia Sawalha, Lisa Faulkner
Similar Helicopter Heroes, Rogue Traders, Rip Off Britain, Wanted Down Under, Don't Get Done - Get Dom
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. The ninth series began airing on BBC One on 23 February 2015.
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. The programme combined the worlds of legal probate genealogy and family history for the first time 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 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 although STEP (the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners) have endorsed their use.
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 is set to be re-edited into repeated 30 minute versions later in 2016 whilst filming for series 11 gets underway