Extended Life
Extended Life

also honoured...


28 November & 5 December 1963

Frederick Spencer CHAPMAN

2 & 9 January 1964


18 & 25 November 1970

Dudley MOORE

4 & 11 March 1987

related pages...

Life Second Time Around

The definitive list of 42 people who have been surprised more than once!

A Double Life

The definitive list of those editions which honoured more than one subject

Top of the Pops

A look at the stars of the music charts

It’s a Funny Old Life

Comics of the stand-up variety

Life In The Ring

From flyweight to heavyweight, a look at the world of boxing

The Glamorous Life

A look at the stars of Hollywood

Muhammad Ali

Douglas Bader

Frederick Spencer Chapman

Alice Faye

Albert Guerisse

Bob Hope

Bob and Dolores Hope

Johnnie Johnson

Danny La Rue

Bob Monkhouse

Mickie Most

Earl Mountbatten of Burma

Donald Sinden

Eric Sykes

Peter Ustinov

Ernie Wise

Two This Is Your Life subjects, featured in the early BBC period, had their stories told in two parts over consecutive weeks. Thames Television also told a couple of life stories over two parts. But it wasn't until 1977 that the production team produced the programme's first specially extended edition.


A few subjects have been treated to programmes longer than the usual 30 minutes, and these were invariably broadcast as Christmas or New Year, or end of series 'specials'. Here's a look at those who received a bumper Big Red Book treatment...

Lord Mountbatten Lord Mountbatten Earl MOUNTBATTEN of Burma
27 April 1977 - 8.00-9.00pm
The statesman and naval officer - and the only member of the Royal family to ever feature as a subject - was surprised by Eamonn in the foyer of Thames Television's Euston Road Studios - in the programme’s first hour long edition, which included a commercial break – something never before seen during This Is Your Life!
Muhammad Ali Muhammad Ali Muhammad ALI
25 December 1978 - 10.15-11.00pm
In a lively and popular extended edition - broadcast on Christmas Day - the three times world heavyweight champion was surprised by Eamonn as he arrived at the New London Theatre.
Ali’s show proves to be a real ratings winner, and includes tributes from boxers Henry Cooper, Joe Frazier and Joe Louis.
Eric Sykes Eric Sykes Eric SYKES
25 December 1979 - 9.45-10.30pm
The popular comedy actor and writer was treated to the programme’s second specially extended Christmas Day edition, when he was surprised by Eamonn at the New London Theatre. Eric – seated unusually on stage right due to his deafness – enjoyed a lively show which included comedy greats Frankie Howerd, Spike Milligan and Tommy Cooper.
Mickie Most Mickie Most Mickie MOST
31 December 1981 - 11.00-11.45pm
The highly successful record producer - responsible at the time for such recording artists as Donovan and Suzi Quatro - was surprised by Eamonn at BBC Broadcasting House. In an extended edition Mickie was joined by his colleagues from the television talent show New Faces, including Marti Caine, while other tributes came from Lulu, Little Richard and Peter Cook.
Douglas Bader Douglas Bader Group Captain Sir Douglas BADER CBE, DSO, DFC, FRAeS, DL
31 March 1982 - 8.00-9.00pm
Eamonn surprised the Second World War Royal Air Force flying ace - for an end of series extended edition - at a reception in London’s New Zealand House.
Fellow RAF pilots Johnnie Johnson and Robert Stanford Tuck pay tribute, while Eamonn reads a message from HRH Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother.
Jimmy Tarbuck Jimmy Tarbuck Jimmy TARBUCK
13 April 1983 - 8.00-9.00pm
‘Tarby’ was honoured with a rare hour long special edition when he was surprised by Eamonn while fronting his successful television variety show, Live From Her Majesty’s. A mixture of top sporting and entertainment names pay tribute to television's funny man, including singer Tom Jones, boxer Henry Cooper, golfer Tony Jacklin, entertainer Max Bygraves
John Mills John Mills Sir John MILLS CBE
26 October 1983 - 8.00-9.00pm
An extended edition opens series 24 when Eamonn surprises the popular and much loved actor - for his second tribute - on stage at London’s Wyndham's Theatre.
Joining the Mills dynasty to celebrate John’s achievements and pay tribute are fellow actors Richard Attenborough, Harry Andrews and Stewart Granger
Gloria Cameron Gloria Cameron Gloria CAMERON MBE JP
27 December 1983 - 7.00-7.45pm
A heart warming story was revealed for a Christmas audience when Eamonn - interrupting a Calypso concert - surprised the charity worker at the West Indian Parent Family Centre in Brixton, London.
Gloria - also a Justice of the Peace and an actress - was greeted via a live link by her son - a musician with the pop group, Hot Chocolate.
Danny La Rue Danny La Rue Danny LA RUE
18 April 1984 - 8.00-9.00pm
Series 24 was book-ended by extended editions, when Eamonn surprised the popular entertainer and female impersonator on stage at London’s Prince of Wales Theatre during a curtain call of the musical, Hello, Dolly! A host of top names from show business pay tribute - including actors Barbara Windsor, Donald Sinden and Anna Neagle, and singer Frankie Vaughan.
Alice Faye Alice Faye Alice FAYE
19 December 1984 - 8.00-9.00pm
In the This Is Your Life team’s first visit to Hollywood, the popular star of numerous musicals produced by 20th Century Fox was surprised by Eamonn at Metromedia Square on Sunset Boulevard.
In an hour long show Alice received tributes from many of her former co-starts, including Rudy Vallee, Ginger Rogers, Don Ameche and Ruby Keeler.
Millicent Martin Millicent Martin Millicent MARTIN
26 December 1984 - 6.00-6.45pm
In the second of three consecutive extended editions, Eamonn surprised the talented actress and singer during an interview on comedian Jimmy Tarbuck’s television show. Among the names paying tribute to Millicent are Hollywood star Howard Keel and fellow musical theatre stars, Julia McKenzie and David Kernan.
Bernard Miles Bernard Miles Lord Bernard MILES
1 January 1985 - 8.30-9.15pm
The actor and theatre manager was surprised by Eamonn during a performance of his famous monologues. Only the second actor - after Olivier - to be granted a life peerage, Bernard was manager of London’s Mermaid Theatre.
His guests include film director John Huston and opera singer Dame Eva Turner.
Donald Sinden Donald Sinden Donald SINDEN CBE
1 May 1985 - 8.00-9.00pm
Eamonn surprised the actor on location in Surrey, interrupting filming of an episode of the popular ITV situation comedy Never The Twain. Helping Eamonn spring the surprise is the actor's co-star from the series, Windsor Davies. Donald’s guest list is crammed with theatrical greats, including Joyce Carey, Judi Dench, Anna Neagle and Sir Peter Hall.
Johnnie Johnson Johnnie Johnson Air Vice-Marshall Johnnie JOHNSON CB, CBE, DSO, DFC
8 May 1985 - 8.00-9.00pm
An end of series special - on the 40th anniversary of VE Day - sees Eamonn surprise the Royal Air Force fighter ace in London’s Trafalgar Square. Johnnie - who claimed 34 individual victories over enemy aircraft - is treated to a flavour of wartime entertainment from Anne Shelton and the Herb Miller Orchestra.
Joyce Carey Joyce Carey Joyce CAREY OBE
26 December 1985 - 6.30-7.15pm
In a special Boxing Day edition of This Is Your Life, Joyce - currently celebrating 70 years in the business - is surprised by Eamonn at London's Waldorf Hotel.
Among those paying tribute to the actress - best known for her long professional and personal relationship with Noel Coward - are actors Deborah Kerr, Peter O’Toole and Rex Harrison.
Cliff Michelmore and Jean Metcalfe Cliff Michelmore and Jean Metcalfe Cliff MICHELMORE & Jean METCALFE
31 December 1986 - 8.00-9.00pm
The broadcasting couple - who met as presenters of the wartime radio programme Forces Favourites - were surprised by Eamonn at Broadcasting House.
In an hour-long New Year’s Eve special, the couple are reunited with guests such as singers The Beverley Sisters and Vera Lynn and musician Acker Bilk.
Ken Dodd Ken Dodd Ken DODD
7 May 1990 - 8.30-9.30pm
In what was billed as the 500th 'Life' produced by Thames Television, and broadcast as an hour long bank holiday special, Michael surprised the man from Knotty Ash at the London Palladium.
Ken’s tribute included song and dance with his Diddy Men, and guests included singer Vince Hill, entertainer Danny La Rue and actor and writer Eric Sykes.
Ernie Wise Ernie Wise Ernie WISE OBE
26 December 1990 - 6.45-7.30pm
A Boxing Day special pays tribute to the surviving member of one of Britain’s top double acts - surprised by Michael at Thames Television's Teddington Studios.
A number of former Morecambe & Wise guest stars pay tribute, including singer Shirley Bassey, and actors Glenda Jackson and Peter Cushing, while Michael reads out a letter from Hollywood legend, Gene Kelly.
Andrew Lloyd Webber Andrew Lloyd Webber Sir Andrew LLOYD WEBBER
2 November 1994 - 7.30-8.15pm
For the first This Is Your Life to be broadcast on BBC television since 1964, the team presented a special edition for the musical theatre composer’s second tribute, complete with live performances of songs from several of his musicals. Michael surprised him at London’s Aldelphi Theatre, the then home of his latest success, Sunset Boulevard.
Peter Ustinov Peter Ustinov Sir Peter USTINOV CBE
28 December 1994 - 7.00-7.45pm
Michael interrupted the actor and raconteur during lunch - at the United Nations headquarters in Geneva - and surprised him before flying back to London for the show’s recording.
This Christmas special, Peter’s second tribute, includes actress Jean Simmons, former Russian President Mikhail Gorbachev and King Hussein of Jordan.
Bob and Dolores Hope Bob and Dolores Hope Bob and Dolores HOPE
27 December 1995 - 7.20-8.00pm
The British born entertainer was treated to a second tribute - this time a joint one with his wife, when Michael surprised the couple at Hollywood's CBS studios. The show - an extended edition broadcast over Christmas, includes tributes from actress Jane Russell, former US President Gerald Ford, impresario Lord Grade and comedian Bob Monkhouse.
Anne Kirkbride Anne Kirkbride Anne KIRKBRIDE
27 December 1998 - 8.00-8.40pm
For a specially extended Christmas broadcast, Michael was back in the Rovers Return to surprise Anne - who has played Deidre since 1972.
A popular, emotional edition sees Anne greeted by, among others, Matthew Kelly, and reunited with her first Street husband Ray Langton, when actor Neville Buswell flew in from the USA to pay his tribute.
Bob Monkhouse Bob Monkhouse Bob MONKHOUSE OBE
23 April 2003 - 8.00-9.00pm
Michael surprised the comedian, for his second tribute, at the BBC Television Centre for a mid-series extended edition of the show.
Such is the breadth of Bob’s story two Big Red Books are needed, the second one delivered midway through the show by comedian Joe Pasquale. Other guests include actress June Whitfield and comedian Bob Hope.