Leeds United legend Dominic Matteo to appear on Long Lost Family in emotional hunt for his birth mother
Former Leeds United player Dominic Matteo appears in the first episode of the latest heart-wrenching TV series Long Lost Family tonight.
It is the eleventh run of the show and with help from a team of trained intermediaries, DNA experts and investigators, presenters Nicky Campbell and Davina McCall find people that previously couldn't be traced and answer questions that have haunted entire lives.
Matteo kicks off the new series after a health scare in 2019 prompted him to find his birth mother.
The Scottish former international, who turned out for Leeds United from 2000 to 2004, was diagnosed with a rare and cancerous brain tumour but made a recovery with the help of his wife Jess.
He had been told when he was a child that he was adopted but admits to being in denial mand has not spoken publicly about it before.
He said: “I was fighting for my life this time last year….I was just thinking about meeting my birth mother. When you’re close to your life being over, it becomes more important.
“It was a very slow process for me to take it in. And I was maybe a little bit in denial. I’ve kept it quiet because it’s very, very personal to me. We’ve been talking to the kids about my adoption, and they know we’re looking for my birth mother…I want to find her because I want to make sure she’s alright.”
The episode will show that Dominic’s birth mother Margaret is found living in Scotland and she has actually seen Dominic playing football for Scotland on TV and had no idea he was her son.
In her interview she says: "Do you know, when I said goodbye to him, his wee finger in my hand, I thought ‘you’re gonna do well’, but this is doing very well. After all this time, 46 years, I’m quite emotional about it…. I’ve never stopped thinking about him… he’s a part of me, who I am.”
Back in Yorkshire, Davina is then able to tell Dominic the joyous news that his birth mother has been found and Margaret travels down to Halifax to be reunited with her son.
Presenter Nicky Campbell, who is a Scotland fan recalls the moments that he told Margaret what had become of her long lost son and how Dominic had been inspired to start the search.
He said: "Dominic’s search for his birth mother was driven by his recovery from a brain tumour and it was clearly a life-changing moment for him. Life-changing moments like that, sometimes it’s an illness, sometimes it’s a child being born, sometimes it’s a relationship finishing, they make you just start to assess the world in a different way. Very often it spurs people to seek answers, because it makes you think about everything afresh. Those experiences make you wonder about things beyond yourself and there is no greater thing than finding out who you are and who gave birth to you. It does make you think very profoundly and that sense of, ‘I’ve got to do this now, I’ve got to find that person’. Because if you wait much longer, life can pass you by.
"I’ll never forget the look on her face. Imagine the pride of having a son and wanting to know what he’s done, and she’d have been proud of him whatever he’d done in life - I remember her saying that, of course. But just that extra thing of him playing for his country as a professional footballer. Just wonderful. I loved that story because I’m a football fan and a Scotland fan and Dominic was a great player. So it was really exciting for me to have that aspect of it and I’m so pleased that he came to us and we were able to find answers for him.”
The new series of Long Lost Family starts tonight (Monday July 5) at 9pm on ITV.