Harry CARPENTER OBE (1925-2010)

Harry Carpenter
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THIS IS YOUR LIFE - Harry Carpenter, sports commentator, was surprised by Michael Aspel at the Royal Oak, Canning Town, London.

His speciality was boxing, and he was long associated with the BBC, presenting such programmes as Sportsnight and Grandstand and anchoring coverage of Wimbledon and golf tournaments.

Screenshots of Harry Carpenter This Is Your Life

Harry Carpenter autobiography

Harry Carpenter recalls his experience of This Is Your Life in his autobiography, Where's Harry?...

In the spring of 1991, Brian Barwick, editor of Sportsnight, asked me to do an interview with Frank Bruno at Terry Lawless’s Royal Oak gym in Canning Town, where Frank was training. He was known to be contemplating a return to the ring and I thought he might just confirm it in the interview.

I rang him up and asked him what he was going to say. He laughed: ‘Harry, be patient. I’ve got an exclusive for you.’ When he said that, I was sure I was right.

I turned up at the gym for the three o’clock appointment one Monday afternoon. Bruno was shadowboxing in the ring. A camera crew stood by. I was saying hello to Frank when someone tapped me on the shoulder. I thought it was a bit rude, to be honest. I looked round and this fellow in a grey tracksuit beamed at me. He had a big red book under his arm. It was Michael Aspel. I had been conned into appearing on This is Your Life. Conned, I may say, not only by Bruno and Barwick, but by my own wife, who knew all about it.

The initial shock takes some getting over, but the rest of the day is unforgettable. My mother, now in her nineties, was in the audience. My daughter-in-law, Bernadette, and her children, Aurelie-Anne and Tim, came over from France. My son, away on business in the Far East, recorded a message. So did Mike Tyson, Arnold Palmer, Virginia Wade and Muhammad Ali. There were personal appearances by Peter Alliss, Henry Cooper, Dan Topolski, Dan Maskell and, of course, Frank.

To cap it all, the men I’d talked and written about down the years came crowding on to the stage. All had won Olympic or world titles: Dick McTaggart, Terry Spinks, Terry Downes, Walter McGowan, Howard Winstone, John H Stracey, Alan Minter, John Conteh, Chris Finnegan, Charlie Magri, and Lloyd Honeyghan.

I was privileged to be there when they had their great moment. Now I was honoured that they had taken the trouble to be there for mine.

programme details...

  • Edition No: 807
  • Subject No: 797
  • Broadcast date: Wed 27 Mar 1991
  • Broadcast time: 7-7.30pm
  • Recorded: Mon 18 Mar 1991
  • Venue: Teddington Studios
  • Series: 31
  • Edition: 23
  • Code Name: Wood

on the guest list...

  • Adelaide - mother
  • Phylis - wife
  • Bernadette – daughter-in-law
  • Aurelie-Anne & Tim - grandchildren
  • Frank Bruno
  • Dick McTaggart
  • Terry Spinks
  • Terry Downes
  • Walter McGowan
  • Howard Winstone
  • John H Stracey
  • Alan Minter
  • John Conteh
  • Chris Finnegan
  • Charlie Magri
  • Lloyd Honeyghan
  • Reg Gutteridge
  • Dan Topolski
  • Ian Woolridge
  • Bob Duncan
  • Dan Maskell
  • Steve Ryder
  • Peter Alliss
  • Terry Lawless
  • message from Muhammad Ali
  • Henry Cooper
  • Recorded tribute:
  • Mike Tyson
  • Filmed tributes:
  • Clive - son
  • Sir Paul Fox
  • Des Lynam
  • Virginia Wade
  • Arnold Palmer

external links...

production team...

  • Researcher: Mandy Nixon
  • Writer: Norman Giller
  • Directors: Brian Klein, Paul Kirrage
  • Producer: Malcolm Morris
  • Associate Producer: John Graham
names listed in bold indicate subjects of This Is Your Life
Series 31 subjects: Lord Brabourne > Graham Gooch > Norman Barrett > Richard Harris > Tracy Edwards > Stephen Hendry > Robert Pountney > Jimmy Savile > Evelyn Laye > Ernie Wise > Kenneth Mckellar > Tom Gleave > Bernard Braden > Barry Foster > Carmen Silvera > Arthur Hailey > Tony Hatch and Jackie Trent > The Bee Gees > John Woodhouse > Evelyn Glennie > David Tomlinson > Dave Willetts > Harry Carpenter > Lionel Bart > Stan Richards > Lonnie Donegan