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...                
                 
Joe Loss   Pauline Collins   John Alderton   Leslie Thomas   Marti Caine
Joe LOSS
Jennifer Jankel remembers her father, the musician and band leader – and recipient of two Big Red Books in an exclusive interview
  Pauline COLLINS
The actress - and wife of John Alderton - featured in a 1972 edition
  John ALDERTON
The actor - surprised two years after his wife Pauline Collins
  Leslie THOMAS
Former Barnardos boy who became a succesful author featured in a 1979 broadcast
  Marti CAINE
The popular entertainer and comedienne honoured with two Big Red Books - in 1978 and 1994
                 
                 
Gerald Durrell   Jonah Lomu   Tom O’Connor   Sarah Brightman   Warren Mitchell
Gerald DURRELL
A 1983 programme paying tribute to the naturalist, zookeeper and conservationist
  Jonah LOMU
The first true global superstar of rugby union in an edition broadcast in 2002
  Tom O’CONNOR
The teacher turned comedian and television personality surprised in 1977
  Sarah BRIGHTMAN
A 1989 edition spotlighting the classical soprano, actress, musician and dancer
  Warren MITCHELL
Another edition from 1972 featuring the actor, known to millions of TV viewers as Alf Garnett
                 
                 
                 
Recent additions...                
                 
John Blashford-Snell   Ian Hendry   Diana Dors   Garfield Sobers   Brian Bevan
John BLASHFORD-SNELL
In an exclusive interview the explorer recalls his 1976 appearance on This Is Your Life
  Ian HENDRY
The actor's nephew, Neil Hendry remembers his uncle's tribute from 1978 in an exclusive contribution to the Big Red Book website
  Diana DORS
The actress - Britain's blonde bombshell - honoured with two Big Red Books - in 1957 and 1982
  Garfield SOBERS
The West Indian cricketer surprised for an edition broadcast in 1975
  Brian BEVAN
The youngest lifeboat subject featured on This Is Your Life in a 1980 edition
                 
                 
Barry Sheene   George Sewell   Alan Whicker   Liz McColgan   Harry Corbett
Barry SHEENE
The World Champion Grand Prix motorcycle road racer surprised in 1978
  George SEWELL
A 1973 programme featuring the actor currently starring in television's Special Branch
  Alan WHICKER
The articulate and eloquent globe trotting journalist rendered speechless in 1982
  Elizabeth MCCOLGAN
The Commonwealth Games gold medal winner surprised in 1991
  Harry CORBETT
The entertainer and puppeteer surprised by Michael Aspel dressed as Sooty in 1988
                 
                 
                 
Contents:                
                 
This Is Your Life titles   Sue Johnston   This Is Your Life set   TV Times article   Johnnie Hamp
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   the presenters   Series 7 titles   Gorden Kaye   Behind The Scenes feature
Series 10
The full line up of subjects from the first 26 episodes of This Is Your Life produced by Thames Television between 1969-1970
  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
  Gorden KAYE
The comedy actor - surprised in 1986 - who died in January 2017
  Behind The Scenes:
Scriptwriter Roy Bottomley reveals the show's best kept secrets
                 
                 
                 
From the archives:                
                 
Jean Kent   Vince Hill   Sylvia Young   Stirling Moss   Nicholas Parsons
Jean KENT
The actress remembered for her roles in many British films of the 1940s - recalls her experience of This Is Your Life in an interview from 2011
  Vince HILL
Popular singer and songwriter interviewed in 2010
  Sylvia YOUNG
In an interview recorded in 2013 the founder and principal of the famous theatre school recalls her appearance on This Is Your Life
  Stirling MOSS
The Formula One racing driver recalls his 1959 tribute in an interview recorded in 2013
  Nicholas PARSONS
Television presenter and actor - best known for presenting the ITV game show Sale of the Century - interviewed in 2015