The Gift, BBC1 - TV review: Mel Giedroyc and Matt Baker provide a more emotionally satisfying Surprise Surprise

Grace, 75, regretted the abrupt way a love affair had ended back in the summer of 1956 and felt she owed an apology to the man she’d been unable to track down

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The Independent Culture

BBC1's new series, The Gift, is a cross between Long Lost Family and Surprise Surprise in which Mel Giedroyc and Matt Baker give people the opportunity to soothe long-standing heartaches.

It’s a more serious sort of show than Giedroyc’s usual, but any sense she was suppressing the urge to deliver Bake-Off-style puns was quickly dispelled by her handling of Grace’s tricky situation. Grace, 75, regretted the abrupt way a love affair had ended back in the summer of 1956 and, 58 years later, still felt she owed an apology to the man she’d been unable to track down. Giedroyc gently made sure that Grace faced up to an even more painful possibility – that this man had long-since forgotten her and moved on – before the reunion went ahead.

More emotionally satisfying was the  story of ex-soldier Patrick and the mystery man who’d saved his life, 26 years ago, by facing extraordinary dangers to airlift an injured Patrick out of IRA territory. Patrick’s feelings about that day were complicated, but his desire to express gratitude was simple: "We don’t say thank you enough in this world," he observed. Or please. Or sorry.

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