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BBC Motherland - A Genetic Journey

Motherland - A Genetic Journey is a moving, feature-length documentary shot on three continents, and amongst the most ambitious factual programmes on the BBC in recent times. Motherland used genetics to enable members of the African diaspora to trace for the first time their African ancestry. Three Black Britons become the first people ever to uncover what Alex Haley, author of Roots, could only dream of - to "go back" to Africa and reconnect with the precise population groups from which their ancestors were separated by slavery.

BBC Motherland - A Genetic Journey

Download a ten-minute film clip from the award winning BBC2 documentary.

Motherland first aired in February 2003, to enthusiastic acclaim from audiences and press alike:

"Epic... the film is Roots made real. What Alex Haley did for Kunta Kinte in fiction, 30 years ago, two documentary makers have done for 230 British African Caribbeans in real life".

"A remarkable survey... revealed startling secrets... the film's intriguing discovery, revealed by a revolution in genetics that threatens to transform our understanding of our personal pasts – and uncover all kinds of familial surprises. This film will change the way black British people see themselves."

Motherland won the prestigious Royal Television Society Award in 2004 for Best Science/Natural History programme/series. It also won the One World Media Award in 2003 for Best TV Documentary - cited for its "outstanding contribution to greater world understanding" – and the New York Festival’s UNESCO Gold Plaque in 2004. Motherland has now been screened at festivals, cinemas and on television around the world.

Motherland was made by leading independent producers Takeaway Media, and if you want to learn more about the programme, its participants, the science and the results, or to buy a DVD or VHS copy of the film, go to

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