DNA Journey series 2 — celebrity pairs, discoveries, interviews, and everything we know

DNA Journey series 2 kicks off on ITV with The Chasers Anne Hegerty and Shaun Wallace tracing their ancestry..
DNA Journey series 2 kicks off on ITV with The Chasers Anne Hegerty and Shaun Wallace tracing their ancestry. (Image credit: ITV)

The second series of DNA Journey — the ITV ancestry show — sees three celebrity duos set off on a globetrotting quest to find out where their families really came from and unearth secrets from their past, all using cutting-edge DNA technology and genealogy techniques. 

DNA Journey season 1 in 2019 saw showbiz pals Ant & Dec discover their family history, followed by Jamie Redknapp and Freddie Flintoff, then Amanda Holden and Alan Carr. Now it's the turn of three more star pairings to do the same. So join Dancing on Ice judges Jayne Torvill and Christoper Dean, as well as The Chase stars Anne Hegerty and Shaun Wallace, plus Coronation Street actors Maureen Lipman and Rula Lenska whose friendship takes them on a life-changing road trip to Poland. 

This second season of DNA Journey is actually split into two halves, so later in 2022 the show will feature further pairings of comedian pals Rob Beckett and Romesh Ranganathan, Gavin and Stacey stars Alison Steadman and Larry Lamb, plus Joel Dommett and Tom Allen, then Good Morning Britain's Alison Hammond and Kate Garraway. 

So here's all you need to know about the second series of ITV's DNA Journey...

DNA Journey release date

DNA Journey season 2 is a three-parter on ITV that begins Tuesday, April 5 at 9pm and runs at the same time on ITV in subsequent weeks — see our episode guide below for details. It will also become available on ITV Hub. The first episode features The Chase stars Anne Hegerty and Shaun Wallace, followed by Rula Lenska and Maureen Lipman, then Torvill and Dean. The remaining episodes of the series will be shown later in 2022.

DNA Journey — Anne Hegerty and Shaun Wallace on episode 1

The Chase's Anne Hegerty and Shaun Wallace are the first celebrity pairing to explore their family trees for this series of ITV’s DNA Journey, and it turns out to be a road trip neither of them will forget! Guided by genealogists and historians, the famous quizzers follow their bloodlines using their DNA, which takes them to Jamaica where Shaun traces his family to the early 1700s.

"I’m amazed records even went back that far," says Shaun. "It was fascinating because I also discovered I have certain traits that come from my ancestors, like an aptitude for maths. It seems DNA does carry on through the generations.’

Meanwhile, back in the UK, Anne discovers some surprising royal links and solves a long-held mystery involving her Scottish great grandmother, who was born out of wedlock. "My mother had always discouraged me from finding out anything about my ancestors, so this was a wonderful opportunity to clear a few things up," says Anne. "I also got to handle the skull of one of my distant relations. I can’t tell you any more, but it was a proud moment!"

But Anne and Shaun admit their road trip not only gave them a fascinating insight into their family histories but also cemented their friendship. "I couldn’t have chosen a better DNA partner than Anne," says Shaun. "This experience just reinforced my love and admiration for her!"

So did they pack any must-haves for the trip or agree on any traveling dos and don’ts? "No we didn’t!" admits Shaun. "Actually, the one thing I really love about the way Anne and I interact is that we always know when not to crowd each other. That’s very important. Although we were doing this journey together we made sure we had our own downtime. We always respect each other’s space and I think that’s the way our relationship thrives."

Rula Lenska and Maureen Lipman in episode 2

In the second episode of DNA Journey season 2 (Tuesday, April 12, 9pm ITV), Rula Lenska and Maureen Lipman, both of whom have had roles in Coronation Street and became close friends on the cobbles, discover some relatives they never knew existed. Extraordinary connections are uncovered as the pair journey to Poland and the north of England to find out about their families’ histories.

" knew a lot more about my maternal side than my father’s", says Rula who’s the daughter of aristocratic Polish refugees. "My mother was a countess who fled to Romania and then Yugoslavia and survived a Nazi concentration camp before arriving in England. I know far less about my father’s side so I was interested to know what surprises I might unearth."

Meanwhile Maureen, who was born in Hull, and whose father was a tailor and mother a housewife, says: "What I know about my ancestral family could be written on the side of a Smartie!"

Their voyage of discovery begins in Hull where Maureen learns about her maternal great grandfather, Victor Slimmer, a Jewish immigrant who found work in the city as a shoe maker and started a family there. Later Maureen and Rula go to Poland where, in Kazimierz, they hear some amazing news.

"I was stunned to discover that Victor was born there, the very same place where Rula’s father was born,’ says Maureen. "The more we found out, the more we realised our ancestors could have crossed paths!". Rula adds: ‘There were a series of such extraordinary coincidences. It was quite unbelievable. It was a bit like a treasure hunt. To be able to share such discoveries with Maureen was a gift.’"

DNA Journey series 2 stars Rula Lenska and Maureen Lipman..

DNA Journey series 2 stars Rula Lenska and Maureen Lipman. (Image credit: ITV)

Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean in episode 3

In the last episode of DNA Journey (Tuesday, April 26, 9pm ITV), ice dance legends and Dancing On Ice judges Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean trace their ancestral histories. As well as returning to their home city of Nottingham, where their ice-skating partnership began when they were teenagers, the Olympic gold medalists’ genealogy road trip also takes them to London and Bristol, where they discover campaigners, explorers and some sporting connections in their ancestry. 

Chris says: "When I was six, I remember one day seeing my mother leaving with a suitcase and, two hours later, Betty, my step-mum turning up. My dad was the only constant. That was the day I became my own little island; my background is a mystery to me. These three people are all I know.  Who else is out there that I’m related to?

Jayne says: "I know both of us were hoping we didn’t have any criminals in the family! People have often asked me if there were any sporty people in my background and where did I get my passion from. Neither of my parents were sporty, so it was interesting to find out something along those lines... My son, as he’s grown up, has done two sports –  boxing and football. So it was nice to be told that some of my relatives had a connection to both those sports. When you get the full story, it’s genuinely very exciting. I was thrilled with the outcome!"

Torvill and Dean have been regulars on Dancing On Ice since it began on ITV.

Torvill and Dean have been regulars on Dancing On Ice since it began on ITV. (Image credit: ITV)

Is there a trailer for DNA Journey season 2?

No trailer for DNA Journey series 2 has been released by ITV, but we can still see the trailer for the first series below, when Ant & Dec found out about their families...

Nicholas Cannon
TV Content Director on TV Times, What's On TV and TV & Satellite Week

I'm a huge fan of television so I really have found the perfect job, as I've been writing about TV shows, films and interviewing major television, film and sports stars for over 25 years. I'm currently TV Content Director on What's On TV, TV Times, TV and Satellite Week magazines plus Whattowatch.com. I previously worked on Woman and Woman's Own in the 1990s. Outside of work I swim every morning, support Charlton Athletic football club and get nostalgic about TV shows Cagney & Lacey, I Claudius, Dallas and Tenko. I'm totally on top of everything good coming up too.