Arthur ASKEY OBE (1900-1982)

Arthur Askey
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Arthur Askey

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Charlie Chester

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Barbara Mullen

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June Whitfield

THIS IS YOUR LIFE - Arthur Askey, comedian, was surprised by Eamonn Andrews at Thames Television's Euston Road Studios. Eamonn sprung from a Humpty Dumpty outfit to surprise Arthur, who was discussing the history of Pantomime with fellow comedians Jimmy Tarbuck and Ted Ray.

Arthur had rose to stardom in the BBC Radio series, Band Waggon, and went on to become one of Britain’s most popular comedy performers appearing regularly in film and on television, notably as a panellist on the ITV talent show New Faces, and on the comedy panel game Jokers Wild.

Arthur was celebrating 50 years in show business, and was previously honoured by This Is Your Life in December 1959.

Screenshots of Arthur Askey This Is Your Life

Charlie Williams autobiography

Arthur recalls his experience of This Is Your Life in his autobiography Before Your Very Eyes, beginning with a reference to his first tribute...

I would not put my This Is Your Life show among the top twenty. But sixteen years later... It is now December 1974. I am asked to do a TV discussion show, talking about pantomime with Ted Ray and Jimmy Tarbuck.

We were surrounded by pantomime animals - the cow, the cat, etc. - and the fairy, when suddenly ‘Humpty Dumpty’ waddles on and throws back the top of the egg. Out pops Eamonn, book in hand, and says (giving an impression of Mike Yarwood), ‘Arthur Askey - for the second time, this is your life.’

What a star-studded cast I had this time: darling Gracie Fields who had flown in from Capri, Sabrini who had travelled from Hollywood, Val Doonican, Jack Warner, June Whitfield, Dickie Henderson, David Nixon, Kathleen Harrison, Norman Vaughan, Jimmy Jewel, MacDonald Hobley, Barbara Mullen, Cyril Fletcher, Charlie Drake, Peter Butterworth, Jimmy Logan, and Charlie Chester!

Dickie Murdoch was again in South Africa so had to appear on film (ed - telephone actually!), as did Ken Dodd, who spoke from a classroom at the Liverpool Institute.

They also unearthed one of my old colleagues from the Education Offices - Frank Ball, now happily retired, as I would have been had I followed Father’s advice.

And, of course, Anthea appeared with Bill, her husband, and my three darling grandchildren - and, naturally, my sister Rene.

All in all, it was a marvelous thrill for me, only marred by the fact that I could not stay for the orgy afterwards as I had to appear in cabaret at Bournemouth at 11 o’clock.

programme details...

  • Edition No: 395
  • Subject No: second timer
  • Broadcast date: Wed 25 Dec 1974
  • Broadcast time: 7.15-7.50pm
  • Recorded: Wed 4 Dec 1974
  • Venue: Euston Road Studios
  • Series: 15
  • Edition: 8
  • Code Name: Eyes

on the guest list...

  • Ted Ray
  • Jimmy Tarbuck
  • Dickie Henderson
  • Rene - sister
  • Anthea - daughter
  • Bill Stewart - son-in-law
  • Sabrina - Norma Sykes
  • Richard Murdoch - via telephone
  • David Nixon
  • Val Doonican
  • June Whitfield
  • Jimmy Jewel
  • Kathleen Harrison
  • Jimmy Logan
  • Barbara Mullen
  • Cyril Fletcher
  • Norman Vaughan
  • Alan Melville
  • Macdonald Hobley
  • Peter Butterworth
  • Charlie Chester
  • Charlie Drake
  • Gracie Fields
  • Jane, Andrew, William - grandchildren
  • Filmed tributes:
  • Ken Dodd
  • Frank Ball

external links...

production team...

  • Director: Robert Reed
  • Producer: Jack Crawshaw
names listed in bold indicate subjects of This Is Your Life
Series 15 subjects: Jack Ashley > John Conteh > Jack Howarth > Chay Blyth > Bill Maynard > Richard O'Sullivan > Dick Francis > Arthur Askey > Jean Kent > Geoff Love > Ray Cooney > Queenie Watts > Harry Johnson > Leonard Rossiter > John Hanson > Denis Law > Ted Ray > Peter Butterworth > Nina Baden-Semper > Dickie Davies > Moira Anderson > Precious McKenzie > Mollie Sugden > Michael Bates > Willie John McBride > Petula Clark > Garfield Sobers