The Big Red Book - a celebration of This Is Your Life...
Big Red Book

... a simple premise for a television show. A surprise encounter and an unexpected reunion. The host reveals the life story of the unsuspecting ‘subject’ with the help of a Big Red Book and a gathering of family and friends.


That formula became one of the most popular programmes on British television ever, running almost 50 years, producing over 1000 editions, and, in the process, becoming a British institution.


At the peak of its popularity, in the 1970s and 80s, millions of television viewers regularly tuned in every Wednesday at 7pm with excited anticipation of whose name would be embossed on that week’s Big Red Book...


This website is a celebration of the show and the lives it honoured. Open the Big Red Book to reveal a record of every UK edition from 1955-2003 and learn about the series, the subjects and the sets as we turn back the pages of one of the best loved television treasures of all time.


So, as the man said ... “if you look at that screen over there...”




Jack Crawshaw - former researcher, writer, and producer of This Is Your Life:


"Big Red Book is a living archive - a unique and illuminating document, which combines a mass of historical data with a fund of fond memories of our much loved programme.

A well researched, and conscientiously collated, This Is Your Life, This Is Your Life."




New additions...                
                 
Alan Rudkin   Zsa Zsa Gabor   Ronnie Dukes   Alan Freeman   Leslie Crowther
Alan Rudkin
The boxer's family recall his 1972 This Is Your Life appearance in an exclusive interview
  Zsa Zsa Gabor
A 1994 edition featuring the glamorous Hollywood actress and socialite
  Ronnie Dukes
A tribute to the cabaret entertainer - surprised in 1975
  Alan Freeman
The Australian born disc jockey celebrated in a 1987 programme
  Leslie Crowther
The entertainer - who was honoured with two Big Red Books - in 1973 and 1994
                 
Matthew Lethbridge   Cathleen Nesbitt   Eddie Jordan   Desmond Llewelyn   Don Revie
Matthew Lethbridge
Broadcast in 1984 - a tribute to a courageous and award winning lifeboatman
  Cathleen Nesbitt
The actress - whose career spans seven decades - surprised in 1980
  Eddie Jordan
Irish businessman and founder of Eddie Jordan Grand Prix celebrated in 2000
  Desmond Llewelyn
A 1995 edition pays tribute to the character actor - Q in the James Bond films
  Don Revie
The Leeds United manager surprised at the city's Queens Hotel for a 1974 broadcast
                 
                 
                 
Recent additions...                
                 
Peter Davison   Alicia Markova   Alex Higgins   Lord Brabourne   Katie Boyle
Peter Davison
The actor recalls his 1982 This Is Your Life experience in an exclusive interview
  Alicia Markova
The ballerina - and recipient of two Big Red Books from 1960 and 1995
  Alex Higgins
The snooker player – surprised in 1981 – affectionately known as the ‘People’s Champion’
  Lord Brabourne
Film producer honoured in a 1990 edition - billed as Thames Television’s 501st, in front of an audience of past subjects
  Katie Boyle
A 1982 edition paid tribute to the former model who became a popular television personality
                 
The Beverley Sisters   George Thomas   Jackie Collins   Wilfred Hyde-White   Laddie Lucas
The Beverley Sisters
The first edition to honour three subjects – in a New Year’s Eve broadcast from 1969
  George Thomas
Retired Labour Party politician and Speaker of the House of Commons – surprised in 1983
  Jackie Collins
The popular novelist celebrated in a 1993 edition recorded in Hollywood
  Wilfred Hyde-White
The character actor of stage, screen and television – surprised in 1976
  Laddie Lucas
A 1984 edition honouring the Royal Air Force officer, left-handed golfer, author and Member of Parliament
                 
                 
                 
Contents:                
                 
This Is Your Life titles   Tessie O'Shea   This Is Your Life titles   TV Times article   Norman Barrett
SERIES
Check out the subject lists year by year - from series 1 to 43
  SUBJECTS
Search the full A-Z list of 1104 subjects from Abbot to Zarb
  FEATURES
Discover more about the show and lives of those it featured
  ARTICLES
Delve into the archives for more insight into the show's history
  INTERVIEWS
An expanding online archive of exclusive interviews
                 
                 
                 
Spotlight:                
                 
the presenters   Series 7 titles   Muhammad Ali   Behind The Scenes feature   Terry Wogan
Timeline
A chronology of the show's fifty year history
  The first BBC period
There's now an entry for every one of the 256 subjects featured between 1955 and 1964
  Muhammad Ali
The heavyweight boxer - widely considered the greatest - who died in June 2016
  Behind The Scenes:
Scriptwriter Roy Bottomley reveals the show's best kept secrets
  Terry Wogan
The 1978 tribute to the much loved broadcaster who passed away in January 2016
                 
                 
                 
From the archives:                
                 
Susan Masham   Valerie Singleton   Charlie Cairoli   Matthew Kelly   Norman Wisdom
Susan Masham
Paralympian, life peer and noted champion for causes related to disability - recalls her experience of This Is Your Life in an interview from 2007
  Valerie Singleton
Popular television and radio broadcaster and former presenter of the BBC children's programme Blue Peter interviewed in 2010
  Charlie Cairoli
In an interview recorded in 2012 Charlie's son Charlie Jr recalls his father's career as Britain's most famous clown and his appearance on This Is Your Life
  Matthew Kelly
The actor and television presenter recalls his 1983 tribute in an interview recorded in 2013
  Norman Wisdom
Nick Wisdom - interviewed in 2012 - recalls his father and his involvement with Norman's second This Is Your Life tribute