Former Coronation Street star Ryan, 35, grew up in Manchester with twins Scott and Adam, 31, knowing very little about their soul singer father Dougie’s Indian heritage.
Ryan says he met missing relatives during the making of the ITV documentary Absolutely India: Mancs in Mumbai brought them all together.
He says, “It was one of the best times we have ever had together. When it comes to bonding, we did some great things together, but it was the pinnacle for us. ”
Scott, the Love Island star, adds, “It was amazing – we will never find him again. Even three adult sons who spend time with their father are rare.
“Also my father is 72 years old now, but he’s quite 72 years old, he lived his life, so in a way, we all saw it as our last little trip with our father, which is pretty sad , but it was so special. “
Dougie’s father Nolan emigrated from India to Britain in 1947 and settled in Manchester. Her three grandsons never knew that Nolan, who had been a reporter for The Times of India, had left an extended family.
Their investigation begins when they find Blossom Lillywhite, who was the director of Nolan in a school in Mumbai.
Blossom, who has worked in the school for 32 years, reveals that she also knew Nolan’s brother, also named Dougie, and that there were relatives in the family still based in Mumbai.
This led them to Keshia, a cousin on the side of their great-uncle Dougie. Like the brothers, she is in showbiz, working as a host in bars and clubs.
The brothers and Dougie join Keshia at one of her events, where she invites Dougie, who was the lead singer of the 1970s group Dougie James and the Soul Train, to join her on stage.
They also meet two other cousins, Darryl and Glenn, and find the house where Nolan lived, where they are shocked by the cramped conditions.
It was the first time that the four had visited India and it left a lasting impression as they traveled from densely populated Mumbai to the tranquil beaches of Goa.
Emmerdale actor Adam said, “Every day was just fun – we did something new and put ourselves in situations we had never known before. “
They also visited a dance school featured in the movie Slumdog Millionaire. Adam said, “We were on the street dancing, singing Bollywood. Invaluable. “
The brothers had no idea of the extent of their Indian heritage.
Scott says, “We knew our grandfather was from India, but we literally had no other information, for example, that was it.
“My father did not know. He had never been to India either. ”
Ryan says, “My father doesn’t really look Indian – he looks more Jamaican, especially because he had a big Afro. So our culture, where we come from, people thought we were more Jamaican blood. My dad is also a soul singer, so it didn’t really make sense to us. ”
Scott says it was a “real eye opener” to find out how many Thomases there were in Mumbai. Adam adds, “We would meet people who would basically open up another chapter of the book and lead us to another parent we had, then another, and that just kept going.
“It was just amazing to meet these people and find out how much we all had in common.”
While working on the documentary, the brothers also appreciated the sacrifice of their grandfather by leaving his family to start a new life.
Scott says, “He went to the UK by boat, so this trip alone would have been difficult and you can’t imagine what it would have been like to be a lonely UK without family. “
Ryan adds, “They don’t know the privileges we have in the UK – but many are content with who they are and what they are, and what they have in front of them. “
The brothers all followed their father into the entertainment world.
Ryan played in Coronation Street as Jason Grimshaw between 2000 and 2016, and most recently played Raphael Humphries in Neighbors.
Adam has had a number of pieces in soaps, including Waterloo Road, Doctors and Emmerdale.
Her non-identical twin Scott was on Love Island in 2017 and has since focused on her famous public relations agency, The Social PR. None of their Indian parents had a clue about their celebrity credentials.
Adam said, “They had no idea about us. It was something new for all of us. It was a huge shock for them to meet us for the first time. They did not know we were living in England. “
Scott said, “It meant a lot to them too, so it was really moving. “
The trip also gave the brothers the opportunity to ask their father some of their own questions – since they were separated from him for some time after his separation from their mother.
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Emotions peaked on the last day. Scott says, “Basically my father had to answer some questions and it got very emotional. He tried to laugh, but we said to ourselves, “You have time here to talk to your sons and be honest.” Adam adds, “The questions had never been asked. So we got him stuck and got answers. It was really sad, it came out of nowhere, but it was the best thing that ever happened. “
And Ryan, who last month had a son, Roman, with a fiancée, Lucy Mecklenburgh, said: ”
And now the family is closer than ever. Ryan says, “We are really our father’s sons, in a way. We are not really like our mom. Everything comes from our father, from our laughter, from our appearance, from the way
we act, our ways. So being there with my dad was just amazing to be able to take him with us on this trip and participate in this show together. He did it for us as much as for him. “
He adds: “We are considered very close, but what is a perfect family? Ours is not perfect, but it is “our perfect”. I wouldn’t change anything in the world.
“I wouldn’t change that my father didn’t stay that long because it made us who we are. I’m happy with the way things have gone. ”
- Absolutely India: Mancs in Mumbai begins on ITV, Wednesday April 29.