Ed Balls, former Labour politician, sequinned Strictly dancer and TV presenter, grew up in a family that wanted to make the world a better place. His mother Carolyn's dementia means she can't share their family history with him, so he sets out to discover what kind of characters his ancestors were. Rumours on his paternal side about a link to Nelson's ship HMS Victory lead Ed to Portsmouth and the story of his great-great-great-grandfather William Dunbar, an assistant surgeon. But as he unravels Dunbar's medical career, he unearths a dark history of abuse and horror at a Kent workhouse. On his mother Carolyn's side, he feels a deep connection with Christopher Green, an agricultural labourer put on trial at Norwich Castle after he stood up to defend his livelihood and community.