Neil Morrissey's troubled childhood as he retraces Irish roots on ITV's DNA Journey

The North Staffordshire pub landlord learns about his Irish family history alongside Line of Duty co-star Adrian Dunbar

  • 13:05, 21 MAR 2023
  • Updated 13:35, 21 MAR 2023

Neil Morrissey and Adrian Dunbar explore their family history in ITV's DNA Journey

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Former Line of Duty and Men Behaving Badly star Neil Morrissey features in tonight’s episode (March 21) of ITV series DNA Journey. The episode sees the Stafford-born actor rediscover his Irish roots.

He appears alongside his Line of Duty co-star Adrian Dunbar, who is from County Fermanagh in Northern Ireland. While Dunbar has some knowledge of his family tree, Morrissey feels disconnected from his ancestry having been taken into care as a child.

Morrissey heads to Castlecomer, in County Kilkenny, to meet his cousin Marilyn - also a performer - who fills him in on the family’s history. Ironically, the two Line of Duty actors learn that they both have ancestors who found themselves on the wrong side of the law.

READ MORE: What Neil Morrissey is doing now as star to appear on ITV's Celebrity Catchphrase

Where is Neil Morrissey from?

Neil Morrissey was born in Stafford to Irish parents in 1962. His parents both worked as psychiatric nurses, but he and his youngest brother Stephen were sent to live at various foster homes as children; Neil Morrissey spent most of his childhood at Penkhull Children’s Home.

Speaking in an interview with BBC Radio 4’s Saturday Live last year, the star opened up about his difficult childhood. He revealed that he had been sent into care along with his brother after social workers expressed concern about the family’s domestic life.

“Social workers made the decision that our home life was unsafe. We were a little bit naughty as well - we were burgling a few places for petty amounts,” he explained. “It was more about the disruption of family life that the social workers decided to take me and my brother away from my family.”

Morrissey - who first shot to fame playing Tony in BBC sitcom Men Behaving Badly in the 1990s added that he did not see his brother for a decade. His parents, meanwhile, were told not to visit him in his foster home for the first six weeks of his time there.

“"They had three other children at home so it was difficult for them to come and see me as well. I was kind of getting used to the isolation and making new friends and a new way through life,” he said.

What is Neil Morrissey doing now?

Neil Morrissey’s recent acting roles include appearances in ITV’s The Good Karma Hospital and The Long Call, as well as BBC’s The Syndicate, written by the late Kay Mellor. In recent years he has also run a chain of pubs in Staffordshire; one, The Plume of Feathers in Barlaston , remains open.

How to watch DNA Journey

The episode of DNA Journey featuring Neil Morrissey and Adrian Dunbar will be shown tonight at 9pm on ITV1. Earlier episodes from the current series and previous series are available to view on ITVX .

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neil morrissey dna journey

Line of Duty's Adrian Dunbar, Neil Morrissey confirmed for DNA Journey

The BBC drama stars will be taking part in ITV's DNA Journey for season 4.

Neil Morrissey and Adrian Dunbar

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There's a mini Line of Duty reunion coming to ITV1 this year, although it's less AC-12 and more 23andMe this time, as Adrian Dunbar and Neil Morrissey take part in DNA Journey.

The fourth season of the ITV show will see another line-up of celebrity duos head off on an "emotional voyage of discovery" as they dig into their pasts.

Speaking to RadioTimes.com in an exclusive interview, Dunbar said that he went to Dublin with Morrissey to film their episode.

"Neil and I have just done an episode of [DNA Journey] and it was really enjoyable," he said. "Really enjoyable, travelling around, finding out about our relatives. Especially for Neil, his relatives are in various parts of Ireland. So that's going to be another interesting programme."

Season 4 will also see Hugh Bonneville team up with John Bishop to look into their families' histories, while Alex Brooker and Johnny Vegas receive the DNA treatment and Oti and Motsi Mabuse look into their ancestral roots.

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ITV has also teased that the new episodes will see the celebrities come "face to face with living relatives they never before knew existing", as the show uses cutting edge technology and genealogy to look into their bloodlines.

Speaking about the new season, ITV's head of entertainment commissioning Katie Rawcliffe said: "DNA Journey delves deep into the celebrity’s family history and has unearthed some astonishing revelations over the last few years.

"It’s great to see these famous faces sharing their journey with each other and we’ve got another great line-up with some more fascinating surprises."

Motsi and Oti Mabuse will also take part in season 4.

The documentary series first aired in 2019 with Ant and Dec's DNA Journey, a two-parter featuring the presenting duo, before expanding to feature the likes of Freddie Flintoff and Jamie Redknapp, Martin and Roman Kemp, and Amanda Holden and Alan Carr.

Season 3, which aired last year, saw The Chase's Anne Hegerty and Shaun Wallace team up to unearth their histories as well as Dancing on Ice 's Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean, and Gavin & Stacey 's Alison Steadman and Larry Lamb.

DNA Journey airs on ITV1 and ITVX later this year. Check out more of our Entertainment coverage or visit our TV Guide and Streaming Guide for more to watch.

Try Radio Times magazine today and get 12 issues for only £1 with delivery to your home – subscribe now . For more from the biggest stars in TV, listen to the Radio Times View From My Sofa podcast.

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DNA Journey “Adrian Dunbar and Neil Morrissey” (ITV Tuesday 21 March 2023)

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Alastair James is the editor in chief for Memorable TV. He has been involved in media since his university days. Alastair is passionate about television, and some of his favourite shows include Line of Duty, Luther and Traitors. He is always on the lookout for hot new shows, and is always keen to share his knowledge with others.

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DNA Journey: Adrian Dunbar's Line of Duty co-star reveals he recommended him for the iconic role

The pair feature in the new episode of DNA journey as they travel across the UK and Ireland to learn about their family histories

  • 08:54, 21 MAR 2023
  • Updated 09:14, 21 MAR 2023

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Adrian Dunbar and Neil Morrissey team up in Tuesday night's episode of DNA journey as they travel to Ireland to learn about their family histories.

The duo, who have been friends for 42 years since they met in drama school, started alongside each other in the popular crime drama Line of Duty which was filmed in Northern Ireland.

In the episode using DNA and genealogy, they are on a journey that will take them across the UK and Ireland, reconnecting with lost cousins and unearthing long-held family secrets.

Read more: Adrian Dunbar and Line of Duty co-star on new series of ITV's DNA Journey

Neil revealed that he actually got Adrian his iconic as Ted Hastings in Line of Duty.

He said: "I mean I hate to tell you this but I got him the job.

"I was auditioning for this thing, Line of Duty and I was up for Nigel Morton and the lines opposite was an interview with Ted Hastings and I said to the Director, who's playing Ted Hastings and they went, 'We haven't cast it yet' and I went, have you thought of Adrian Dunbar?"

Adrian went on to say "he does claim that if it wasn't for him, which I'm absolutely fine with claiming that."

A moment in the new series shows the acting pair heading to Castlecomer in Ireland where Neil discovers the battles between his ancestors, the Loughlins, with another infamous local family, the Brennan’s.

How in a romance that echoes Romeo and Juliet – a Loughlin girl and a Brennan boy married, moved to England and had a son, Joe.

Following the tragic turns and eventual highs of cousin Joe’s life, Neil finds himself having pavlova with priests and clutching Joe’s bible - his first tangible connection with a relative’s life

Adrian and Neil's DNA Journey episode airs on ITV and ITVX at 9pm on Tuesday, March 21

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DNA Journey: Series 5

March 16, 2023 by

March, 2023 4 x 60

In our fifth series of DNA Journey, four best friends embark on a road trip to uncover stories and astonishing revelations about their family histories.

Episodes currently airing every Tuesday and available on ITVX.

Episode 1: Hugh Bonneville and John Bishop are stunned to find how close their families links are, in a heart-warming and surprising episode that brings them closer than ever before.

Episode 2: Alex Brooker and Johnny Vegas go on a hilarious and emotional journey together into their respective family histories, with cutting-edge DNA technology that brings them face to face with relatives they never knew existed.

Episode 3: Adrian Dunbar and Neil Morrissey dig into their genealogy, uncovering revelatory truths and stories that takes them from London to South Africa.

Episode 4: Oti Mabuse and Motsi Mabuse go on an extraordinary journey into their ancestral roots, uncovering an astonishing family history.

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Executive Producers Kathleen Larkin Sanjay Singhal Iain Thompson Steve Nam Directors Iain Thompson Sam Webb Production Executive Kate Boundy Series Producer Charlotte Dawes Senior Producer Hannah Ewing Production Manager Verity Watkins Producer Emma Wren Talent Producer Ali Anselmo Assistant Producers Fi Evans Fred Jacobsen Hermione Hellyer Production Coordinators Phoebe Tatton-Brown Glen Griffiths Editor Paul Aviles

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Line of Duty and Downton Abbey stars announced for ITV's returning DNA Journey

Comedians John Bishop and Johnny Vegas are part of the line-up, too.

adrian dunbar

Returning for its fifth outing later this year, the format ties together various celebrity pairs as they set off on a quest to explore their often surprising roots while uncovering secrets in a life-changing voyage of discovery.

This time we have Downton Abbey 's Hugh Bonneville , comedians John Bishop and Johnny Vegas, Line of Duty duo Adrian Dunbar and Neil Morrissey, TV presenter Alex Brooker, and Strictly sisters Oti and Motsi Mabuse doing the digging.

preview for Kate Garraway talks about her husband Derek on 2022 episode of DNA Journey

Related: Line of Duty 's Adrian Dunbar hints at series 7 announcement date

ITV's head of entertainment commissioning, Katie Rawcliffe, said in a statement: " DNA Journey delves deep into the celebrity's family history and has unearthed some astonishing revelations over the last few years.

"It's great to see these famous faces sharing their journey with each other and we've got another great line-up with some more fascinating surprises."

Mitre Studios' creative consultant Jim Allen went on to comment: "We're delighted at the continued success of DNA Journey , each series offers a unique insight into some of the nation's favourite celebrities and their very personal stories and this series contains some truly memorable moments and magical reveals."

hugh bonneville

Related: Coronation Street co-stars discover long-lost connection on DNA Journey

Previous participants of DNA Journey include I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here hosts Ant McPartlin and Dec Donnelly , cri cket legend Freddie Flintoff, The Chase quizzers Anne Hegerty and Shaun Wallace, Gavin & Stacey 's Alison Steadman and Larry Lamb, and Britain's Got Talent judge Amanda Holden .

Will there be any bent coppers hiding within Dunbar's family tree?

DNA Journey returns to ITV and streaming service ITVX later this year.

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"Line of Duty's" Adrian Dunbar to feature on "DNA Journey"

Britain's itv genealogy docuseries will return later this year and will the northern irish "line of duty" star among their line up..

Irish actor Adrian Dunbar.

Actors Adrian Dunbar and Neil Morrissey will explore their ancestry in a brand new season of "DNA Journey."

ITV's genealogy docuseries, which will return later this year,  sees celebrities tracing their ancestors and making remarkable discoveries about the past using DNA science and technology. Adrian Dunbar and Neil Morrissey will team up on the show to go in search of their ancestry and find out about their bloodlines.

Dunbar has received acclaim for his role as Superintendent Ted Hastings in the popular show "Line of Duty." Neil Morrissey, who also featured in the show as DC Nigel Morton, is renowned for his role as Tony Smart in the British comedy "Men Behaving Badly." The men also once shared a flat in London during the 1980s, according to ClassicHits.ie.

Other celebrities taking part in the latest series of the show include actor Hugh Bonneville, who will be paired with comedian John Bishop, while fellow comedians Alex Brooker and Johnny Vegas will team up together, as well as sisters Oti and Motsi Mabuse from "Strictly Come Dancing."

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ITV's head of entertainment commissioning, Katie Rawcliffe, said in a statement: "DNA Journey delves deep into the celebrity's family history and has unearthed some astonishing revelations over the last few years.

"It's great to see these famous faces sharing their journey with each other and we've got another great line-up with some more fascinating surprises."

Dunbar told the Radio Times that he went to Dublin with Morrissey to film their episode.

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"Neil and I have just done an episode of [DNA Journey] and it was really enjoyable," he said. "Really enjoyable, traveling around, finding out about our relatives. Especially for Neil, his relatives are in various parts of Ireland. So that's going to be another interesting program."

For more information on the show, visit here .

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DNA Journey (2023)

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2. Alex Brooker and Johnny Vegas

Air date: Mar 14, 2023

DNA science and technology is used to give celebrities a glimpse into their histories.

3. Adrian Dunbar and Neil Morrissey

Air date: Mar 21, 2023

4. Oti Mobuse and Motsi Mobuse

Air date: Mar 28, 2023

DNA Journey: Season 5   Photos

Tv season info.

  • Genres: Documentary, Special interest, Biography
  • Network: ITV
  • Premiere Date: Mar 14, 2023
  • Executive producers: Kathleen Larkin , Sanjay Singhal , Steve Nam , Iain Thompson

Cast & Crew

Adrian Dunbar

Johnny Vegas

Motsi Mabuse

Alex Brooker

Neil Morrissey

Rory McCann

Iain Thompson

Paul Aviles

Film Editor

Kathleen Larkin

Executive Producer

Sanjay Singhal

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IMAGES

  1. Adrian Dunbar and Neil Morrissey to star in DNA Journey

    neil morrissey dna journey

  2. Adrian Dunbar To Feature In ITV's DNA Journey With Neil Morrissey

    neil morrissey dna journey

  3. DNA Journey “Hugh Bonneville and John Bishop” (ITV Tuesday 7 March 2023

    neil morrissey dna journey

  4. DNA Journey celebrity line up and episodes from new ITV series

    neil morrissey dna journey

  5. DNA Journey ( 2019 )

    neil morrissey dna journey

  6. DNA Journey

    neil morrissey dna journey

COMMENTS

  1. Neil Morrissey discovers his surprising background on ITV's DNA Journey

    Line of Duty actor Neil Morrissey who was born in Stafford and later went into care has discovered his true background in a new series of DNA Journey. Neil, 60, was taken into care at the...

  2. Neil Morrissey's troubled childhood as he appears on DNA Journey

    Former Line of Duty and Men Behaving Badly star Neil Morrissey features in tonight's episode (March 21) of ITV series DNA Journey. The episode sees the Stafford-born actor rediscover his...

  3. Adrian Dunbar and Neil Morrissey to star in DNA Journey

    Adrian Dunbar and Neil Morrissey will discover their ancestry in a new series of DNA Journey later this year. The fourth series on the hit show will see four celebrity pairings unearth...

  4. Line of Duty's Adrian Dunbar, Neil Morrissey confirmed for DNA Journey

    Line of Duty's Adrian Dunbar, Neil Morrissey confirmed for DNA Journey The BBC drama stars will be taking part in ITV's DNA Journey for season 4. BBC Lauren Morris Published: Friday, 3...

  5. Neil Morrissey and Adrian Dunbar uncover 'life-changing' facts about

    March 21, 2023 Share this article: LINE OF DUTY stars Neil Morrissey and Adrian Dunbar uncovered life-changing facts about their Irish heritage when they took part in a genealogy TV show which airs this evening. The actors teamed up for what would become an "adventurous and life-changing road trip" to discover their family histories.

  6. DNA Journey

    8. Oti Mabuse and Motsi Mabuse Oti and Motsi Mabuse head off on a journey across South Africa to discover their history View all Line of Duty stars Neil Morrissey and Adrian Dunbar's...

  7. "Ant & Dec's DNA Journey" Neil Morrissey and Adrian Dunbar (TV ...

    "Ant & Dec's DNA Journey" Neil Morrissey and Adrian Dunbar (TV Episode 2023) - IMDb S5. E3 All episodes Cast & crew IMDbPro All topics Neil Morrissey and Adrian Dunbar Episode aired Mar 21, 2023 YOUR RATING Rate Documentary Line of Duty stars Neil Morrissey and Adrian Dunbar have been friends for 42 years since they first met in London.

  8. DNA Journey "Adrian Dunbar and Neil Morrissey" (ITV Tuesday 21 March

    11 months ago on March 18, 2023 By Alastair James DNA Journey airs a new episode tonight Tuesday 21 March 2023 on ITV . "Adrian Dunbar and Neil Morrissey" During their audition day at London's Guildhall School of Music & Drama, co-stars Neil Morrissey and Adrian Dunbar crossed paths.

  9. DNA Journey

    Series 4. 1. Rob Beckett and Romesh Ranganathan. These two comics & best pals discover their family histories. 2. Alison Hammond and Kate Garraway. The daytime stars explore their DNA histories. 3 ...

  10. DNA Journey

    Funny men, Joel Dommett and Tom Allen delve into their family histories. 4. Alison Steadman and Larry Lamb. The Gavin & Stacey actors embark on a DNA road trip. 5. John Bishop and Hugh Bonneville ...

  11. DNA Journey: Adrian Dunbar's Line of Duty co-star reveals he

    Adrian Dunbar and Neil Morrissey team up in Tuesday night's episode of DNA journey as they travel to Ireland to learn about their family histories. The duo, who have been friends for 42...

  12. First look at Strictly and Line of Duty stars in new DNA Journey series

    Related: Coronation Street co-stars discover long-lost connection on DNA Journey The series will also feature a pair of Line of Duty actors — Neil Morrissey, who played Nigel Morton, and Adrian ...

  13. DNA Journey: Series 5

    Episode 3: Adrian Dunbar and Neil Morrissey dig into their genealogy, uncovering revelatory truths and stories that takes them from London to South Africa. Episode 4: Oti Mabuse and Motsi Mabuse go on an extraordinary journey into their ancestral roots, uncovering an astonishing family history.

  14. Ant & Dec's DNA Journey (TV Series 2019- )

    S5.E3 ∙ Neil Morrissey and Adrian Dunbar. Tue, Mar 21, 2023. Line of Duty stars Neil Morrissey and Adrian Dunbar have been friends for 42 years since they first met in London. Now using DNA and genealogy they are on a journey across the UK and Ireland to unearth long held family secrets. Rate.

  15. Line of Duty and Downton Abbey stars announced for ITV's returning DNA

    Line of Duty's Adrian Dunbar and Neil Morrissey are taking part in the next series of genealogical documentary DNA Journey for ITV.

  16. Neil Morrissey

    Neil Anthony Morrissey (born 4 July 1962) is an English actor, businessman, narrator and presenter. He is known for his role as Tony in Men Behaving Badly. ... In 2023, he was the subject of DNA Journey with Adrian Dunbar. Morrissey played the part of Captain Perrot, ...

  17. "Line of Duty's" Adrian Dunbar to feature on "DNA Journey"

    Actors Adrian Dunbar and Neil Morrissey will explore their ancestry in a brand new season of "DNA Journey." ITV's genealogy docuseries, which will return later this year, sees celebrities tracing ...

  18. DNA Journey: Adrian Dunbar and Neil Morrissey visit Fermanagh

    Adrian Dunbar has been joined by his Line of Duty co-star Neil Morrissey as they explore their genealogy in tonight's episode of ITV's 'DNA Journey', which during their travels, takes them to the Fermanagh actor's home town of Enniskillen. Neil Morrissey and Adrian Dunbar on DNA Journey.

  19. Adrian Dunbar and Neil Morrissey visit Norwich on DNA Journey

    Adrian Dunbar appeared on DNA Journey with long-time friend Neil Morrissey and the pair visited the Reindeer pub in Dereham Road in Norwich for a drink. Dunbar also visited Valentine Road in the ...

  20. DNA Journey: All Episodes

    1x01 Episode 1. 2019-11-10T21:00:00Z — 1h. 192 257 382 5. In episode one of this two part special, Ant and Dec take on their most personal journey yet, uncovering their family histories using a combination of DNA and genealogy. 83%.

  21. DNA Journey

    3. Adrian Dunbar and Neil Morrissey. Air date: Mar 21, 2023. DNA science and technology is used to give celebrities a glimpse into their histories. Content collapsed. View Details. 4. Oti Mobuse ...