The show uncovers the personal histories of public figures and then uses that as a springboard to look at a time and place. This either details a history that you didn't know about or provides a personal angle on events you did know about. Its success for me is that you don't need to like or be familiar with the work of the people featured. Often the people you had preconceptions about turn out to have fascinating histories and when they are filmed in emotional situations it lets you understand who, as they title says, they are.
This season features: Patsy Kensit, Boris Johnson, Jerry Springer, Esther Rantzen, Ainsley Harriott, David Suchet, Jodie Kidd and Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen. For me Jerry's past turned out to be the most emotional and Patsy's the most involving with perhaps only Laurence's being less interesting than expected.