Bill TIDY (1933-)

Bill Tidy
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THIS IS YOUR LIFE - Bill Tidy, cartoonist, writer and television personality, was surprised by Eamonn Andrews at Thames Television’s Euston Road Studios.


Bill sold his first cartoon to a Japanese newspaper in 1955 while serving in the Royal Engineers. After leaving the army he found work in a Liverpool advertising agency, where he drew illustrations for magazine advertisements. Despite having no formal artistic training, he began to sell cartoons on a freelance basis and soon left the agency to work full-time as a professional cartoonist.


As his work became better known and published in the Daily Sketch and Daily Mirror, he moved to London where, together with a number of his contemporaries in Fleet Street, he formed the British Cartoonists' Association.


Bill is known for his cartoon strips — The Cloggies, which ran from 1967 in the fortnightly satirical magazine Private Eye, and The Fosdyke Saga, which was published daily in the Daily Mirror from 1971. He also wrote and illustrated many books, and appeared on numerous television and radio shows.


Screenshots of Bill Tidy This Is Your Life

Bill Tidy's autobiography

Bill recalls his experience of This Is Your Life in his autobiography Is There Any News of the Iceberg?...


In the mid-seventies opportunities were everywhere. When yet another TV spot was offered to me I had to make a long trip to London and then out to Teddington Lock for a day in the studio, but when I got there the receptionist looked through her book and shook her head.


‘You’re not down,’ she said. ‘The studio’s being used for a variety show!’


I asked her to look again, but there was no call for me and the letter in my hand was now a crumpled ball. ‘I’ve come down from Liverpool for nothing! This is absolutely disgrace-‘


My outburst at a completely innocent person was interrupted by a breathless man who grabbed me. ‘Thank goodness I found you before you took off. The programme’s transferred to Euston Road studio. I’m terribly sorry!’ The day was saved and, after I’d apologised to the receptionist, we jumped into a car.


As we turned into the Thames TV building I saw an amazing sight. ‘Good God, I know those people. They’re the Garstang Morris Men!’, and there they were, dancing happily in a London street in the rain. The car stopped and I said, ‘Look, I know I’m late but if they see me go in without at least saying “Hello” my life won’t be worth living.’ I waved to the lads, who didn’t see me, and was moving towards them when a hand was placed on my shoulder. I turned to see Eamonn Andrews holding a red book and, expletive deleted, I had been This is Your Lifed.


It was a genuine surprise and, after being led inside to a mixture of cheers and jeers from the wet dancers, was placed in a dressing room with a bottle and told to stay put. An hour later they let me out and the show began with Rosa, my children, half-brothers Mick and Eric, Rosa’s parents, my old friend Eric Stephenson, and a battery of colleagues with just one showbiz name, Rolf Harris, for Rosa had insisted during the secret planning that it should not be a showbiz ‘darlings’ outing. It had hardly been an outing at all, for after I’d risen to catch the early train that morning and she’d waited for the front door to slam before leaping out herself things had not gone quite as planned.


As my family tracked me to Liverpool to catch the next train, a car in front of them had overturned and even for Eamonn Andrews such an inconvenient incident could not be ignored. They stopped to assist just long enough to miss the train and give grey hairs to the man in the car at Euston. They made it eventually and the evening was one that, an old hand like Andrews insisted, was better than other Lifes. He would say that, I suppose, but who cared, because they were all there: my saviour at Pagan Smith’s Dick Millican; Bill Atkinson stroking his jaw; Jack Appleton with his bicycle pump memory; and the final guest, someone I never expected to see again, ‘flown all the way from Venezuela’ was Basilio. It all passed in a whirl of faces, and my strongest recollection of the show itself was that there were more of Rosa’s family there than mine, which hardly seemed fair. The party afterwards was a whing-ding, as were the train journey home and the post-shock celebrations in Southport which lasted a week.


This Is Your Life had never been a favourite of mine and I considered it sentimental slush, but the pleasure of seeing all Rosa’s team together again and ignoring me, plus the fact that on every other half-hour TV programme at least three people were beaten up or shot, and this was bloodless, changed my mind. In my case Rosa was right to exclude showbusiness types, and TIYL works if at least six Italians are on the show, but they’re not always involved and it’s a cruel truth that when worthy people such as lifeboat coxes and nurses are the subject it becomes sluggish because of the pace that goes with long-term achievement and heroism.

programme details...

  • Edition No: 420
  • Subject No: 417
  • Broadcast: Wed 17 Dec 1975
  • Broadcast time: 7-7.30pm
  • Recorded: Wed 19 Nov 1975
  • Venue: Euston Road Studios
  • Series: 16
  • Edition: 6
  • Code name: Tripe

on the guest list...

  • Garstang Morris Men
  • Rosa - wife
  • Sylvia - daughter
  • Nick – son
  • Rolf Harris
  • Colin Whittock
  • Nick Baker
  • Jack Kirkbride
  • Chic Jacob
  • Michael - brother
  • Eric - brother
  • Sylvia Ganooch
  • Lewis Ganooch
  • Jack Appleton
  • Eric Stephenson
  • Bill Atkinson
  • Dick Millican
  • Conqueeta Regoa
  • Giuseppe – father-in--law
  • Rosalia – mother-in-law
  • Toni – sister-in-law
  • John – brother-in-law
  • Gennaro – brother-in-law
  • Rosalia - niece
  • Robert - son
  • Basilio – brother-in-law

external link...

production team...

  • Researcher: Marilyn Gaunt
  • Writers: Tom Brennand, Roy Bottomley
  • Director: Royston Mayoh
  • Producer: Jack Crawshaw
names listed in bold indicate subjects of This Is Your Life
Series 16: Ronnie Dukes > Ray Milland > Mike Hailwood > Frank Windsor > Magnus Pyke > Bill Tidy > Gladys Mills > Andy Stewart > Windsor Davies > Ray Reardon > Patrick Mower > Alberto Remedios > Susan Masham > Betty Driver > Henry "Shrimp" Davies > Gwen Berryman > Vince Hill > Arnold Ridley > Beryl Reid > Alan Mullery > Percy Thrower > Gareth Edwards > June Whitfield > Terry Fincher > Richard Dunn > Norman Croucher