Series following the work of probate researchers. The team looks into the estate of Edward Luckarift who died in North Wales and, during the 1960s, worked as a BBC scriptwriter.
Browse content similar to Luckarift/Paine. Check below for episodes and series from the same categories and more!
Welcome to Heir Hunters, where we follow the search for relatives
of people who've died without leaving a will, hoping to unite them with forgotten fortunes.
Today, the heir hunters are looking into an estate
worth a possible £80,000.
Across the UK, the hunt is on for the relatives
who could be in line for a windfall.
Could someone be knocking at your door?
On today's show, the heir hunters take a massive risk
on an estate that may have debts attached.
The work we do is a big gamble,
cos we don't know the value of the estate.
I'll be finding out about the creative career of a man who worked
on one of our best-loved TV shows.
David Frost came on the phone and he said, "What's all this idea?" I told him and he said, "Oh, great! Super!"
And the team uncover the story of a courageous lady who braved bombs
and blazes to serve her country during the Second World War.
It was a dangerous job. You would be out in the raids,
subject to the same kind of risks that the men were.
Plus, how you could be entitled to unclaimed estates
where beneficiaries need to be found.
Could you be in line for an unexpected windfall?
Every year in the UK,
an estimated 300,000 people die without leaving a will.
If no relatives are found, then any money that's left behind
will go to the Government.
Last year, they made £14 million from unclaimed estates.
There are over 30 specialist firms competing to stop this happening.
They're called heir hunters and they make it their business
to track down missing relatives and help them claim their rightful inheritance.
I make sure that the Government doesn't seize assets which do not belong to them.
Heir hunting can be a risky business, and today, the team take
a chance on a case they hope will have value. Will the gamble pay off?
It's 7am on a Thursday morning, and staff at Fraser & Fraser,
the UK's largest heir hunting firm, are already hard at work.
The Treasury have just published their list of people
who've died without leaving a will. The team are poring over the names.
Today's list is particularly lengthy.
Absolutely huge list for us today. I can't work them all.
There's 38 on the list.
But one case has caught partner Neil's attention.
The only case we're looking at actively at the moment
and drawing up trees is a case called Luckarift.
The reason we're doing that is
we were able to find the deceased was a company director at one time.
Heir hunters are paid a percentage of an estate's final value.
So there must be enough money in the case for them to cover costs
and hopefully make a profit.
A company director is likely to have had high earning power
and could have left a substantial sum of money.
So Neil is hopeful this will be a valuable estate.
Edward Luckarift died on 29th March 2010 in North Wales.
He was 90 years old.
He spent the last years of his life
in the small Welsh seaside resort of Penmaenmawr, and it was here
that he struck up a friendship with fireman Harry Colecliffe.
Harry met Edward by chance
when he was conducting a fire service training exercise in a scrapyard.
Somebody came running into the scrapyard, and said,
"There's an elderly gentleman on the floor outside, near the road."
We got the crew together, went out to render first aid
and phoned an ambulance. And that was Edward.
And just as he was getting into the ambulance, he handed me some keys
and said, "Could you look after my dog?" And off he went.
That was the first time I met Edward.
It was also the beginning of a strong friendship,
as Harry started to visit Edward in hospital.
I was stuck with his dog,
so I went to find out how long he'd be in hospital,
and it built up a friendship. He was a real gentleman.
Quite a wit about him. He had so many interesting little stories.
So you sat there and you didn't actually say a word!
All you would say is, "Oh, what happened then?"
Off he'd go again and tell you another part of the story!
In the office, Neil has tracked down Edward's address,
but he's also discovered a financial record
which suggests there may be debts on this estate.
That address has got a caution on...by a bankruptcy firm,
which doesn't sound that good,
but I think it's because he probably owned it at some time.
Taking on a case where the deceased has filed for bankruptcy is risky.
If there's no money in the estate, the team could end up
working for no reward.
But if Edward owned the property he lived in, in Wales,
it could be worth £80,000.
So Neil thinks it's a risk worth taking.
There are very few people with the surname Luckarift in Britain.
The team have less names to work with
and a higher chance of finding the right family.
So research gets off to a flying start,
and by 8am, Neil thinks he's found Edward's paternal grandparents.
Frederick Alfred, he's 50, so was born in 1860.
Anywhere in particular?
Er, Jersey. This one here, wife is Carterelle.
They were married circa 1883 and they had three children.
The father's side of the family appear to be
based in Jersey in the Channel Islands.
Neil believes Edward's paternal grandparents
were Frederick and Carterelle Luckarift.
They had three children -
Kathleen, Evelyn and Frederick, who is Edward's father.
Kathleen and Evelyn would be Edward's paternal aunts.
And if they had any living children,
they could be heirs to Edward's estate.
At the moment, I'm looking at the Evelyn stem.
She's married to a Nightscale, but I've just found her death.
She's died as Nightscales. Even though she's changed the name slightly,
she still hasn't had any children.
So looks like it's probably a dead stem, unless she adopted someone.
If Evelyn has had no children,
the only remaining hope on the father's side
is Edward's aunt Kathleen, but Gareth is having trouble tracking her down.
All we know is that she's born around 1889, in Jersey,
and living in 1911 in Salford. Other than that, I'm not finding anything.
Most likely scenario is she's gone back to Jersey.
The team still don't know whether there's any money in this estate,
so all their hard work could end up being for nothing.
But it's still only 8.30 and, although they've hit a dead end
on the father's side, on the mother's side, they're racing ahead.
So we've got Ernest Cox, he's head. He's male. Born 1862.
He's been married for 16 years. Wife, white female, born December...
1865. She's married. OK, so now we know, that on the mother's side,
there's only her and her brother.
Tony has discovered that Edward's maternal grandparents,
Ernest Gresley Cox and Amelie, only had two children -
Edward's mother Ernestine and her brother, Edward.
Edward Gresley Cox was born in 1891, which would make him 23
at the outbreak of the First World War.
So Neil wonders whether there might be an Army record for him.
British Army. Is he old enough for the Army? Yes.
His hunch proves correct.
He was a Flight Lieutenant. General...
No, he'd be in the Royal Flying Corps, wouldn't he?
He is, he's in the Royal Flying Corps.
From an old Army record, Neil has discovered that Edward Luckarift's
uncle, Edward Gresley Cox, fought for his country in World War I.
He trained as a pilot and served as Second Lieutenant
in the Royal Flying Corps from 1917 to 1918.
The Royal Flying Corps is a separate entity of the British Army.
It was formed in 1912. They'd been going about two years before
the First War started.
The First World War introduced a new form of battleground.
Whereas before, wars were fought on land and sea, the development
of the aeroplane meant the battle could also be taken to the skies.
And this created a new kind of hero.
Brave young aviators prepared to risk their lives in the skies
far above the battlefields.
It certainly attracted people with more of a spirit of adventure,
and many chaps I met were certainly slightly different.
They had this sense of adventure. Aviation attracted people like this.
During the First World War, Edward Gresley Cox was stationed
out in Salonika in Greece,
where the initial role of the British Army was to help the Serbs
who were being attacked by German, Austro-Hungarian
and Bulgarian forces.
The Royal Flying Corps provided air support and reconnaissance.
But being so far removed from front line action had its disadvantages.
The other theatres where the British Army fought were known
as the sideshows, sort of not the main event,
and any decent equipment was always held back for operations
on the Western Front -
Passchendaele, Arras and the Somme.
These other theatres, and Salonika in particular,
really got only the poor or obsolete equipment
which wasn't needed on the Western Front.
These obsolete aircraft were no match
for the modern German machines,
which were faster and much more effective in battle.
The British response to this problem was to borrow some fighters
from the French air force.
But these planes also came with built-in problems.
The aeroplanes they borrowed off the French was the Nieuport Scout,
a standard fighter in the French Air Service.
It was equipped with a rotary engine. These were pretty unreliable
and could be fickle, so engine failures were not infrequent.
It was unfortunately while flying one of these aircraft
that Edward Gresley Cox died.
On February 22nd, 1918, he and another pilot
in another French Nieuport Scout
went out on a reconnaissance mission.
Unfortunately, Gresley Cox had an engine failure,
and while trying to put the aircraft down on suitable terrain,
crashed and was killed.
Back in the office, Neil has just discovered
this tragic turn of events.
So he died 22nd February, '18.
War records are a vital tool in genealogy, providing heir hunters
with valuable clues about people's lives and family histories.
Most soldiers were required to make a will before going into combat.
And it doesn't take Tony long to find one for Edward Gresley Cox.
This is the probate for the uncle of the deceased,
who was killed in the Royal Flying Corps in 1918.
Just to say that he's left £141 in 1918.
The team must establish who Edward Gresley Cox left his money to.
Could he have left it to a wife and children?
If he did have children and they're still alive,
they would be cousins of Edward Luckarift's and heirs to his estate,
an estate whose value the team have yet to discover.
Neil has taken a risk in pursuing this case.
The work we do is one big gamble,
cos we don't know the value of the estate.
And he's yet to find out if his gamble has paid off.
The heir hunters still have a lot of investigating to do,
but their research doesn't just reveal beneficiaries.
The heir hunters discovered that Edward Gresley Cox, the uncle of Edward Luckarift,
lost his life during WWI by uncovering his Army records.
So how can military archives help you find out more about your relatives who served in the forces?
I'm meeting heir hunter Simon Grosvenor, who can tell me more.
So how do military records help in an heir hunt?
They're very useful because the Army were very organised about keeping records.
So there are a lot of records relating to people who've served
not only in the Army, but the Navy and eventually the Air Force as well.
They have a lot of records that tell you things about people we can't find out elsewhere.
For example, in WWI, soldiers were asked to make a will
and in their service book, there was a page - curiously page 13 -
where they could make a will and they would write down their next of kin or whoever they wished it to go to,
and sign it. If they were unfortunately enough killed,
the Army would be able to know who their next of kin were.
The wills in the soldiers' pay books detailing their final wishes
sadly proved very necessary during WWI.
It's estimated that up to 1 million British soldiers
died in the conflict, with 60,000 casualties
on the first day of the Battle of the Somme alone.
And what if you had a relative who'd died in the war?
There are various websites that record records of soldiers who died
and war graves you can trace as well.
Those will give you more information about people if you can find it.
So I have my great-grandfather's brother, I think, died in the war.
Is it possible to look him up?
We can. Do you know his name?
He was Thomas Lister Holmes, which was H-O-L-M-E-S.
And there he is.
-You only get the initials.
-T L Holmes - we've only got the one,
and it's almost certainly him.
It gives his rank, his regiment, his age, when he died
and his service number.
You'll also note that it says here he was buried in Sturton-LeSteeple Cemetery...
-Also where he was born.
-Which is where the address was - it tells us it's in Withington in Manchester.
It would suggest therefore that he was at home when he died.
I would imagine he died as a result of wounds he'd received.
There are various other sources that can be useful
when tracing your ancestors who served in the military,
including pension records,
regimental indexes of births, marriages and deaths
and service records of soldiers, which contain details
of their postings, as well as personal information.
The next of kin originally here
was his father. And then it's been changed to an aunt, so I presume
that his father died.
I think it's amazing. You can get so much information
from this Army record that for an heir hunter, this must be gold.
They are very useful.
If you can find it, it will tell you things that you might not be able to find,
particularly if they are abroad and you don't know where they've gone.
You can find out if they had children, who they were, when they were born.
You can find out something about what they looked like
and how tall they were. You might find out if you're really tall,
you had a very tall great-grandfather or a very short great-grandfather.
And I think people like to know that. So you get to know more about them
than you would just from a death certificate or something.
-It actually builds a picture up, doesn't it?
Next, the story of a woman who did her duty for this country.
But can the heir hunters find any relatives entitled to inherit her estate?
Heir hunting cases can come from a variety of different sources.
Most are published on the Treasury list, but some are referred
by individuals or solicitors acting on their behalf.
This was the case with Diana Paine.
She lived an exciting and glamorous life,
surrounded by people who loved her.
She was always full of life and game to do anything at all.
But for some reason, she decided not to leave a will.
Diana died on 14th April 2010, in Langton Green near Tunbridge Wells.
She was 91 years old.
She had spent the last 18 years of her life with her companion,
Ernest Armstrong, who she met via a lonely hearts advert in a magazine.
My wife died in 1991,
and, like a lot of men,
not knowing what to do with themselves,
I put the advert into the magazine, and Diana got in touch with me.
Both of us were looking for one thing and one thing only,
and that was companionship.
You can't wander round a house all day long looking at pictures.
You have to do something. We were very lucky. We clicked right away.
Diana left an estate worth £20,000,
but she died without leaving a will.
I don't know why she didn't make a will. I've no idea.
Whether simply because she didn't have any relations as such,
or any nephews or nieces or anything like that,
to whom the money would have gone.
Keen to find out whether Diana did have any family,
and thus prevent her money going straight to the Government,
Ernest contacted a firm of solicitors.
They referred the case to the heir hunters.
We were instructed by the solicitors. They knew we could act quickly
and try to trace the next of kin.
There was some urgency to get this case tied up.
Diana had been living in rented accommodation,
and until an heir was found who could legally cancel the rental
agreement, rent would continue to be paid out of her estate.
So the pressure was on case manager Dave Slee to find some heirs
before the money ran out.
At the start, the only information Dave had to go on was that Diana had once been married to a Harry Paine.
His first step was therefore to obtain a marriage certificate.
The information on the marriage certificate confirmed
that the deceased in fact had been married previously and that marriage had ended in divorce.
I was then able to find the deceased's first marriage to a Mr Salmon,
which was about six years prior to her second marriage.
Diana married her first husband John Griffith Salmon in 1940,
but divorced him some time during the Second World War.
She went on to marry Harry Paine in 1946, and stayed with him until his death some 40 years later.
But sadly neither of these marriages produced any children, which was a cause of great sadness to Diana.
She certainly would have loved to have had a family of her own, which she unfortunately couldn't have.
Even Cocker Spaniels don't make up for the lack of children.
The fact that Diana had had no children
meant Dave would have to cast the net wider in his search for heirs.
He knew from Diana's marriage certificates that her maiden name was Vaughan-Fowler.
But this initially gave him cause for concern.
I'm never happy researching double-barrelled surnames.
They're often the product of people with delusions of grandeur and are made-up names.
But in Diana's case, the name was genuine.
She was born as Vaughan-Fowler and even her grandfather was born as Vaughan-Fowler
so it was a name that had gone back in history with the family.
Diana was born in West Sussex in 1919, the daughter of Alfred Vaughan-Fowler and Mabel Potter.
She grew up and went to school in Tunbridge Wells and initially worked as a shorthand typist.
But when the Second World War started,
her life was to change dramatically, as all women of working age were conscripted into the war effort.
There were an awful lot of jobs
that needed to be done and we just didn't have the people to do them
and so uniquely in our history,
the entire female population was conscripted and they volunteered for all sorts of jobs.
Before the war started, Diana's father had been a car salesman and he had taught her how to drive.
It was quite unusual for women to drive at the time.
The situation where, as happened with Diana,
the fact that her father was in his line of work
meant that it would be pretty easy for her to learn to drive.
Generally, middle-class women might be the ones who learnt to drive.
Diana volunteered to work as a driver for the National Fire Service.
During the war the demands on the fire service increased dramatically,
as the Luftwaffe dropped bombs and incendiary devices on London and nearby towns.
And as demand for personnel increased, so the roles of women began to change.
Initially women had a very limited range of roles that they were offered.
There would be clerical and telephone work on switchboards.
It expanded and expanded.
Initially, what was perceived as something where women would work behind the dangerous stuff,
very quickly, women were out as much as the men in the raids.
Working for the fire service during the raids brought women like Diana into constant danger.
It was a dangerous job.
There's no two ways about it.
You would be out in the raids and subject to the same kind of risks that the men were.
The Germans learned when they were bombing cities
that part of the tactics they evolved was that you would start fires through incendiaries
and then once the fires were started, subsequent bombers would actually attack those fires
and part of it would be about disrupting and targeting the services
like the fire services and the ambulance services.
Diana was based in Tunbridge Wells and was the driver for the chief of the Tunbridge Wells Fire Brigade.
Tunbridge Wells was never subject to the intense bombardment that London suffered,
but the job would still have involved certain risks.
It was a brave job for a woman to do at the time, and it gave Diana
a new-found status that she hadn't enjoyed before the war.
She was very proud. She had a status as an officer in the fire service.
She really enjoyed it very much. She enjoyed driving a lot.
It was also while working in the fire service that Diana met her second husband, Harry Paine.
At the end of the war, her husband, who had been in the Navy,
joined the fire service
and that is when they met up and got married in 1946.
Harry had been injured during the war and he suffered from ill health throughout their marriage.
But Diana was devoted to him and she looked after him until his death 40 years later.
Having established that Diana and her husband had no children,
Dave's next step was to track down any surviving siblings.
Because we are dealing with a hyphenated surname the research was fairly straightforward
in being able to establish that the deceased had two siblings, one of whom died as an infant
and the other sibling, whose name was Joan, she died as a spinster.
This meant that Diana had no nieces or nephews,
and Dave would have to expand the search to find any surviving heirs.
Our next stage is to try and trace paternal and maternal family and their descendants.
But while Diana's father's name Vaughan-Fowler was easy to research,
simply because there aren't that many hyphenated Vaughan-Fowlers in Britain,
investigating Diana's mother's side would prove much more difficult.
I knew that the research on the maternal family, of the surname Potter, was likely to be far harder
than researching the hyphenated Vaughan-Fowler name of the paternal family.
Coming up, Diana's story proves an inspiration to the family member she's never met.
The impression I'm getting is she was quite a strong woman which I find interesting and encouraging.
Heir hunters solve thousands of cases a year and millions of pounds
are paid out to rightful heirs. But not every case can be cracked.
The Treasury solicitor has a list of over 2,000 estates which baffled the heir hunters and remain unclaimed.
Bona vacantia is Latin for ownerless goods. We deal with the estates
of people who die intestate and without known kin.
This could be money with your name on it
as long as you are correctly related to the deceased.
People entitled are those that trace their relationship
in a direct line from the deceased person's grandparents.
So a spouse would be entitled, children would be entitled,
aunts and uncles, nephews and nieces, first cousins.
So are today's featured cases relatives of yours?
Could you be in line for hundreds, thousands or even millions of pounds?
Today we're focusing on three names.
Are they relatives of yours?
Mary Frances Foyle died way back in March 1967 in Chelsea in London.
Some new assets of Mary's may have come to light,
meaning her name is now on the list of unclaimed estates.
Was there a Mary Foyle in YOUR family?
Could you be the long-lost heir entitled to her cash?
Vernette Pienaar died on 8th May 2009 in Kilburn, London.
The surname Pienaar is of Huguenot origin and is now common in South Africa.
Did you know Vernette? Did she ever speak to you about her background or any family she might have had?
James Fred Grant died in Bangkok, Thailand on 26th October 1989.
Although James died in Asia, the surname Grant is very prominent in Northern Scotland.
Did you know James, either in Thailand or the UK?
Can YOU help solve this case?
If James was a relative of yours,
the Treasury wants this money to go to you, its rightful owner.
My division isn't allowed to make a profit, we don't make commission,
or huge bonuses for passing money to the Treasury.
In fact, the Treasury is more interested in - are we finding more kin? Which we are.
Are we good value for taxpayers' money? Which we are.
A reminder of those names again.
Mary Foyle, Vernette Pienaar and James Grant.
If any of today's names are relatives of yours,
then you could be entitled to their unclaimed estate.
Now it's back to the search for relatives of Edward Luckarift.
Later, I'll be finding out more about Edward's career,
but first, let's catch up with the search for heirs.
Heir hunters Fraser and Fraser are investigating Edward's case.
He died in North Wales in March 2010 without leaving a will.
He owned a property worth £80,000.
But the team have also discovered that he may have had debts.
Neil has therefore taken a calculated risk in pursuing the case.
If there's no money in the estate, the team will not get paid.
But if the value of the property has remained intact,
and not been eaten into by debts, it could be a fairly valuable estate.
The team have been researching the mother's side of the family
and have discovered an uncle, Edward Gresley Cox.
He died in a flying accident in 1918 and he left a will.
The team wondered whether he might have had a wife and children.
Emily Elise Gresley Cox, widow.
But this turns out not to be the case.
He's left a grant, letters of administration, probably to his mother.
The fact he's left letters of administration to his mother rather implies he wasn't married.
It's therefore some sense to imply he didn't have any children.
Edward Gresley Cox is the only maternal uncle of Edward Luckarift.
If he had no children, this means there are no heirs on the mother's side of the family.
So the team's only remaining hope of finding an heir is to go back to the father's side.
They've established that Edward's paternal aunt Evelyn had no children.
So they must now try to find some records for Edward's paternal aunt Kathleen.
We've only got one outstanding person to find - Kathleen -
and at the moment we can't find anything for her at all.
However we're starting to think that maybe she's died a spinster.
The most likely scenario is that Kathleen has gone back to Jersey.
Jersey is quite difficult for us to research, so we'll have to get someone there to do the research.
Although most of Edward's family hailed from Jersey, he himself was born in Salford, near Manchester.
But he was a free spirit who never stayed in one place for long.
Harry Colecliffe only knew Edward during the last five years of his life.
But in that time Edward regaled him with stories of an exciting career which took him across the Atlantic
and brought him into contact with all sorts of interesting people.
He started off as a journalist with the Royal Navy, that would have been 1944 to '45.
In 1946 the Canadians were sent back to Canada after the war
and what the Navy wanted was somebody to go with the troops,
find out a little bit about them and write it in some form of newsletter to send back.
He had to go from ship to ship and the only way they could do it was to string a line across,
put him in a bosun's chair and swing him across.
He said it was terrifying, but he did it.
After he left the navy, Edward wanted to travel around America.
So a chance meeting with a rather unusual person seemed like the answer to his prayers.
He was a guy called Karl Wickman.
He was the guy who owned Greyhound Buses
and he offered Edward a job. He gave him a wad of money to start with
without even giving him a job, sent him down to Fort Lauderdale,
waited down there for him to come, finally turned up
and said, "Right, here's your job, go around all of the Greyhound stations
"and write a little piece on that station for the newsletter." And he did that for 12 months.
With his wanderlust satisfied, Edward then returned to Britain.
Having enjoyed his experience of writing in the US, he decided to continue along this career path,
and he got a job writing radio plays for the BBC.
He did show me files that he had that were all little plays he'd written
and apparently they were actually used on radio at that time.
Soon after this, he landed an extremely prestigious job
as a writer on a cutting-edge, new television series.
# That was the week that was... #
That Was The Week That Was was broadcast on the BBC in 1962 and 1963.
Why in fact has Mr MacMillan, the Prime Minister, retired?
I've done two series on the trot and my agent says he doesn't want me to be typecast.
# That was the week that was... #
Edward was in the company of some great comedy writers, including John Cleese, Peter Cook and Eric Sykes.
And the show was groundbreaking in the way it poked fun at the establishment.
We pledge ourselves to ensure that pensioners continue to share
in the good things that a steadily expanding economy will bring.
A million pensioners a week will have to undergo
the means test of national assistance in order to avoid starvation.
They're not laughing back in the office
where the search for heirs is becoming increasingly frustrating.
They've established that there are no heirs on the mother's side of the family,
as Edward's only maternal uncle died without having any children.
On the father's side, they've ruled out Edward's Aunt Evelyn, who also had no offspring.
So it looks like it's probably a dead stem.
So their only remaining hope of finding an heir is through Edward's Aunt Kathleen.
If she has had children, they would be first cousins
of Edward's and possible beneficiaries to his estate.
But Neil has taken a huge risk on this case.
A bankruptcy notice that he discovered rang alarm bells early on.
But Neil believes that Edward owned his £80,000 property,
and if its value has remained intact, there could still be money in the estate.
Take a seat, sit down and read this.
It's early afternoon, and the team have finally found a record for Edward's paternal aunt, Kathleen.
This was one last stem which... we haven't been able to find a marriage for, but we think
we've found a death for, and if that death is right, then there's probably children off that.
But Neil has also just discovered the true value of the estate, and it's not looking good.
We think the property is worth £80,000 and we've been informed
that there are debts in the estate exceeding the £80,000.
So it is probably going to be an insolvent estate.
This was the last thing they wanted to hear, especially when they were so close to tracking down heirs.
Neil took a gamble in pursuing this case.
And he now has no choice but to pull the plug.
Sometimes the feelings we get and our ideas are proved totally wrong.
Luckarift has been one of those cases.
We looked at it, because we thought it was going to be quite easy.
Then we found the reference to the deceased being a director of a company.
As inquiries have come in, sometimes values on estates can go up and up and up.
Other times, they go down and down and lead to nothing.
This is one of those cases, so it is a bit of a no-hoper for us.
Luckily we found out early enough where it has not cost us too much.
Edward Luckarift was a man who lived for the moment,
and it's perhaps not surprising that he didn't leave any money.
If you even went to his house, the one thing he wasn't was materialistic.
It didn't really bother him at all that he didn't have a lot of material things.
He spent the last years of his life looking after his beloved dog, and playing and watching cricket.
He loved his cricket. He travelled down to Lord's, watched the cricket down there.
Played up here in Wales.
In his house at this moment is still his cricket gear in a cricket bag down in the cellar.
I think, if there's anything I would remember him by, it was his contentment.
He had his dog, he had his cricket
and he had his memories and his writing.
As long as he had what he had,
that was enough.
I think, well,
you know, you can't beat that as a lesson in life, really.
So, unfortunately, no heirs were found this time,
but what a fascinating career Edward had.
'I'm meeting writer David Nobbs who also wrote for
'That Was The Week That Was, back in the day.'
-Lovely to meet you.
Edward Luckarift worked as a writer on That Was The Week That Was.
Was it easy to get a writing job back then?
I don't think it's ever been easy and I don't think anyone would
ever pretend that at any stage you just walked in and did things,
but I suspect it might have been a bit easier then than it is now.
Because there were programmes like That Was The Week That Was which ate up material.
I just rang up and got something accepted, you know.
# That was the week that was
# Time for Tories to take stock... #
Edward wrote over 40 letters to the BBC from the mid-1940s onwards,
sending in all sorts of radio plays and programme ideas.
So, what kind of ideas did he submit?
Well, he was very ambitious. These are submissions for whole series.
He didn't start with one-liners, like I did.
He started with, "This is an idea for a series of variety shows
"called Star Citizens - well-known actors, composers,
"building a programme around them and having competitions. For crooners if it was a crooner, and so on."
And how did he get his first big break?
Well, he had a break on radio, certainly, when he had a radio play
called Mrs Jarrett Comes To Stay accepted, and he did a few
other plays, including I think one called
Hobbs Bats on a Sticky Wicket, which is rather intriguing.
But obviously he wanted to get into television, and as far as
we know That Was The Week That Was was his first attempt at it.
# That was the week that was
# It's over, let it go... #
So how did you get your break?
Well I was working on a local paper, rather like Edward Luckarift,
but I was in London.
And I had this idea and I wrote it.
I had nipped out of Hampstead Magistrates' Court where
I was reporting and, um, I phoned them and they said, "Send it in."
And I said, "I can't send it in, it's for this week. You've got to have it urgently.
"The Post Office will never get it to you."
So suddenly David Frost, he came on the phone and he said,
"What's all this idea?" I told him and he went, "Oh, great. Super!"
And he said, "Ring me tomorrow."
So I rang him the next day and he said, "I'm going to use it."
I was so excited I told everybody I knew, "I'm going to be on television!"
Used one line from it - it was a three-minute sketch
and he used one line.
It was rubbish. But I had started.
I hear, I hear that this country is now
-without an effective prime minister.
-Hold on, what's new about that?
We haven't had an effective prime minster for years!
How did the writers work on That Was The Week That Was?
Well, we all used to do our stuff at home and send it off,
or in our offices.
All separately, and send it off by taxi.
There were taxis winging their way through London to the BBC,
always one envelope in them.
And I used to ring Ned Sherrin every week and say I've got a couple of ideas,
and he'd say, "Tell me them."
I'd tell him one and he'd say, "Like it."
I'd tell him the other one and he'd say, "Don't like it."
I'd do them both out of sheer cussedness and we'd always do
the one he said he didn't like and never do the one he said he did like.
Good news for air travellers -
more plane services than ever before and we have slashed
prices at midnight from Glasgow to London to only two guineas.
-Which company has permission for these two guinea flights?
So I can now fly BOAC Glasgow to London for only two guineas?
Not entirely. The route is operated by BEA.
So BOAC aren't actually running any of these flights?
Don't be silly - we'd lose a bloody fortune!
-So there wasn't a big table that you all sat around?
No, that happened to me later with the Frost Report
and I had the great privilege of sitting round with all the boys who later did Monty Python.
-But I was a shy little boy in those days,
I sat there in my little bedsit doing it on my own.
So how many people wrote for it?
Every week there would be 18, 19, 20 probably.
A lot of very famous people. I mean, Dennis Potter started out on this.
Waterhouse and Hall were there and Peter Shaffer, all sorts of famous people.
-And somewhere along the line, Edward Luckarift.
Dear Lord Hailsham.
I have just been reading in the papers
where you're going to give up your title.
I know you are a busy man, but what I'm writing to ask is,
if you're quite sure you've finished with it, whether I can have it?
Edward went from writing That Was The Week That Was
to going back and writing for radio.
Was that usual for writers to work across different genres?
I think a lot of writers have always written for both
and in fact the classic route is to start on radio and move forward,
get a reputation on radio.
Cut your teeth on radio, and then move to television.
But sometimes, for various reasons, including necessity,
-writers go the other way.
-I think we have got an example.
And this, actually, I mean, this is very touching for me.
Because of all the things he's written over the years,
this is the one thing that we have left.
And it's a small journalistic piece for Radio North.
Rather amusingly entitled the Whistling Willie Of Warburton.
'Edward Luckarift's only surviving work is a feature about a poacher
'turned gamekeeper called William Noblett who had an unusual whistle.'
"Listen to his epitaph which is still readable on the weather-worn stone:
"Though herein he lies a dead Whistling Willie's fame will spread
"For his double tone, piercing drone Which chilled the marrow to the bone
"And will be made by him no more It will surely continue by the law.
"What does it mean?
"One of the squire's most frequent visitors was Sir William Peel,
"who built up our police force as we know it today,
"right down to constables' whistles which have that double tone,
"piercing drone mentioned in Noblett's epitaph.
"It was on one of his visits to Warburton that he heard Willie
"that Robert Peel got the idea of the policeman's whistle."
It's a nice little story, a rather sweet little story
and perhaps a nice little epitaph for Edward Luckarift's efforts.
# That was the week that was! #
Here are some more unsolved cases where heirs still need to be found.
The list of unclaimed estates is operated by a government department
- the Bona Vacantia division.
The Bona Vacantia unclaimed list is a list of cases
that we haven't found kin for.
The list goes back to 1997
because that's when our list management system came online.
The idea is to produce a list of all those solvent cases.
So there should be a few thousand there, possibly many thousands.
And this is money you could be entitled to.
Monies raised through Bona Vacantia goes to the General Exchequer
to benefit the country as a whole.
But it is important to note that the Crown doesn't want all estates at all costs.
It's not how it operates. It wants kin to be found and that's what we work very hard to do.
Let's look at some of the estates from the unclaimed list.
Do these names mean anything to you? Are they relatives of yours?
Frances Triplow died on the 12th of February 2009,
in Letchworth, in Hertfordshire.
The surname "Triplow" has its roots in Old English
and refers to a lost place on a map.
It is most common in Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire.
Do you share Frances's unusual surname?
Could you be related to him?
Lillian Jessie Gould died back on the 8th of August, 1977.
As Lillian died over 30 years ago, it's probable
some new assets of hers have come to light,
meaning her estate is now on the unclaimed list.
Was there a Lillian Gould in your family's past?
Was she a relative of yours?
Gladys Margaret Allum died on the 2nd of September 2008,
in Welwyn Garden City.
I've got Gladys's death certificate
which contains more information about her.
It shows that she was married to Geoffrey Allum.
Did you know Geoffrey and Gladys?
Did you know anything about Gladys's relatives?
The death certificate also reveals that Gladys was formerly known
as Gladys Margaret Brimley.
Did you know her under this name? Was she a relative of yours?
If you think you're related to any of the names today,
you need to prove your link to the deceased in order to claim their estate.
If someone thinks that they are entitled to an estate that
we're dealing with, then they need to contact us.
They can do that direct or via an agent, it's up to them.
And we need to have a simple family tree showing how they think
they are related to the deceased person. Nothing complicated.
Just something straightforward and simple.
And then we will be able to make sure that we're
talking about the same family.
And then we'll ask them to provide certificates of birth, death,
marriage, and also documents of identity
to prove that they are who they say they are.
And then we can look at the claim.
A reminder of those names again -
Frances Triplow, Lillian Gould and Gladys Allum.
If today's names are relatives of yours,
you could have a windfall coming your way.
Finally today, let's return to the search for heirs
to the estate of Diana Paine, who died aged 91 without leaving a will.
In April 2010, the heir hunters were investigating Diana's case.
She died near Tunbridge Wells, leaving an estate worth £20,000.
Heir hunter Dave Slee had established that she had
no children, and no surviving siblings or nieces and nephews.
So the search was on for aunts, uncles and cousins, who could be heirs to Diana's estate.
On the father's side, the team had an easy name to work with, Vaughan-Fowler.
There weren't many hyphenated Vaughan-Fowlers in the UK,
so Dave was quickly able to pinpoint the family.
I found her father's birth and I was able to establish that he had two siblings, he had two siblings,
one died a bachelor and one was married and had descendants,
so eventually we were able to locate eight paternal beneficiaries
who would be entitled in the estate.
So far, research had been exceptionally speedy.
Dave would now write to these beneficiaries to determine their exact entitlement to Diana's estate.
But the search wasn't over yet.
In fact, the hard graft was only just beginning.
Dave now had to turn his attention to the mother's side of the family.
The maternal family... I knew it would be a lot harder because the surname was Potter.
There are thousands of people with the surname Potter in Britain, so Dave had his work cut out.
But after hours of painstaking research, he was finally able to find a record for Diana's mother.
I located the birth of the deceased mother, Mabel Potter, in Brighton, and she was the daughter
of the unusually named Harding Potter, and her mother was Maria, formerly Bryant.
The next stage was to see if Diana's mother had any siblings.
Reviewing the census returns, we were able to establish that Harding Potter and Maria Bryant
had six children including the deceased's mother.
Diana's maternal grandparents, Harding Potter and Maria Bryant, married in 1862 in London.
They had six children - Ada, Elizabeth, Kate, Florence,
Ethel and Mabel, Diana's mother.
If any of Diana's five aunts had children,
they would be first cousins of Diana's.
And if any of them were still alive, they could be heirs to her estate.
The pressure was now on Dave to track them down.
When the Second World War ended, Diana settled into married life with her husband, Harry.
But the pioneering spirit she'd shown in her work for the National Fire Service hadn't diminished.
At a time when most women were content to be stay-at-home wives and mothers,
Diana took her first step towards becoming a successful business woman.
She decided that she was going to take over the reins
and she bought this shop in Battle.
The shop was a women's clothing boutique,
and Diana threw herself into the running of the place with gusto.
She proceeded to smarten the place up
and bring it up to date.
For 25 years, she ran this shop in Battle.
She went on to open two more branches in nearby towns
and she even ran fashion shows two or three times a year.
She got all her own staff and one or two other ladies
to make a fashion show and she did very well.
The show was run for one reason only and that was for the Guide Dogs for the Blind.
Diana was tireless in her work for charity, and her clothing business became a great success.
But she was also still caring for her husband, Harry.
He had been injured during the war, and his condition deteriorated as time went on.
When her husband started to get really ill, she gave up the shops,
and they came to live at Speldhurst and they lived in Speldhurst for quite a few years,
until her husband died.
Diana had looked after Harry for nearly 40 years, and when he died, she was all alone.
She never spoke of her family and believed she had none.
But as Dave Slee was about to discover,
she did actually have a whole set of relatives not a million miles away.
Dave had established that Diana's mother had five sisters
and he was trying to find out whether they'd had children.
He was able to discount two of the sisters straightaway.
Two maternal aunts, Ada and Elizabeth... we established both died as minors.
But Kate, Florence and Ethel had all married and had children.
If these children were still alive, they would be first cousins of Diana's and heirs to her estate.
However, it soon became apparent that most of these cousins were born
around the turn of the century and had already passed away.
All except one.
The first maternal where we were able to locate
was a son of Ethel Potter.
She married a Mr Pearson, and her son, Bernard, was in fact the only first cousin
who survived the deceased.
Dave wrote to Bernard, who signed an agreement with the company.
Finally, the team had their first maternal heir.
OK, let's recap.
Having established that Diana's other cousins were no longer alive,
Dave's next task was to look for their descendants.
Diana's Aunt Kate had had three children - Mabel, Kate and Gladys.
I knew that the deceased's cousin Mabel, who was born in 1898,
was likely to be deceased, so I firstly looked for her marriage,
and she married a Walter Wyatt, and then I undertook the search to see if she had any children.
Mabel's marriage to Mr Wyatt... we established that there were three children born to that marriage -
two females and one male.
Dave discovered that the son had passed away, so he wrote to the two daughters.
I informed them that they would be entitled in the estate, and they informed me
that their brother married and he had children,
who are cousins twice removed to the deceased.
Diana's cousin Mabel had three children - two daughters and a son, Walter.
Walter had passed away in 2003, but Dave discovered that he had four children.
He managed to find an address for the daughter, Elizabeth,
and he wrote to her.
His letter came as a big surprise.
When I first got the letter from Frasers, I think it was back in May,
I was quite surprised.
It just mentions that you may be the heir to someone who's died,
and you have no idea who it might be.
But Liz and her brothers were curious to find out more, so they wrote back to the company.
You're asked for lots of details about other family members - names, addresses, dates of birth.
I think it was as a result of sending that in,
I got a letter back saying... regards the estate of Diana Ferelyth Paine.
Liz had never heard of Diana.
She was the cousin of Liz's grandmother, so two generations removed from Liz herself.
But she was fascinated to hear about this distant relative.
The impression I am getting is she was quite a strong woman, which I find interesting and encouraging.
I have heard that she was a driver for the fire brigade or something like that during the war.
I've heard she had businesses.
It is fascinating to find out little bits about Diana.
Someone that happens to be related to you but you've never met.
Liz and her brothers signed with the company, who, in return for an agreed percentage,
would help them claim their share of Diana's estate.
Receiving money from someone she didn't know was a strange experience for Liz.
One of my daughters did mention this is a bit weird, you know -
why should you get money from someone you've never known in their lifetime?
And I suppose that does seem very strange, in a way.
But the opportunity to find out more about her family was priceless.
I've been thinking a lot about why I haven't heard about Diana.
I can't remember ever asking my dad, which I'm regretting now and thinking
maybe he never shared it, maybe he never knew it.
I think the whole experience has been fascinating,
and it is very interesting to find out more and more about your family.
The team had invested many hours in this case and they had finally tracked down all the heirs.
On the maternal family, I was able to establish
that there was one cousin, unfortunately now deceased, entitled,
and there are nine other cousins once removed or twice removed.
So our research has now concluded that there are 18 heirs entitled to share in Diana's estate.
The final value of the estate was confirmed to be £20,000.
This would be shared between ten heirs on the mother's side
of the family and eight heirs on the father's side.
From our point of view, the research went very well.
It was nice to be able to find the heirs quickly for the solicitor's point of view.
A nice tidy estate for us to research.
Although she never got to know her extended family, Diana wasn't lonely in later life.
She was lucky enough to find love third time around with Ernest.
And they travelled the country together, providing friendship and companionship for one another.
I was only looking for somebody who may have had the same outlook in life and looking
forward to a little bit of enjoyment in the last years of our lives.
I wasn't expecting to hit the nail on the head first time round.
But I was very lucky in finding Diana.
It was just we enjoyed being with each other all the time
and we didn't have to think about, what about a round-the-world cruise? That didn't come into it at all.
We didn't have to have very expensive things to enjoy life together.
If you would like advice about building your family tree or making a will, go to bbc.co.uk.
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd
E-mail [email protected]
The team looks into the estate of Edward Luckarift who died in North Wales and, during the 1960s, worked as a scriptwriter on the BBC programme That Was The Week That Was.
Diana Paine was the daughter of a car salesman and when the Second World War broke out she was one of the thousands of women who joined the war effort, becoming a driver for the Kent fire service. Plus, could you be an heir to an unclaimed estate worth thousands or even millions of pounds?