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OU on the BBC: Family Ties - The man from Mars

Updated Friday, 6th January 2006

A father and son embark on a journey together to unearth a family mystery and discover how their own lives have been shaped by a hidden past.

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Peter and Mel Copyrighted  image Icon Copyright: Production team

This is the personal story of the film maker Phil Stein, an intimate journey with his father and a voyage of discovery for them both. It is the story of what a culture of divorce and family estrangement does to family ties.

Phil spent many years apart from his father after his parents divorced when he was a baby. He felt his father disappeared from his life. But then, his father Melvin had experienced separation from his own father. In 1961 Melvin’s dad went out to buy a pack of cigarettes and never came back.

Forty years on, Melvin and Phil together go in search of Melvin’s father. The programme takes us from London to Phoenix Arizona, where Melvin lives today, and together they make an emotional journey to Chicago, the city of Melvin’s birth and discover the circumstances surrounding his own father’s mysterious departure.

It’s a programme as much about reconciliation and love as it is about family history.

First broadcast: Wednesday 11 Jan 2006 on BBC FOUR

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