Life on the Hustings
Life on the Hustings

also honoured...


16 January 1961

Independent MP for Oxford University 1935-1950

Major Sir Brunel COHEN KBE

24 April 1961

Conservative MP for Liverpool Fairfield 1918-1931


12 February 1962

Author and Conservative MP for Brighton Kemptown 1959-1964


15 November 1989

Liberal MP for Rochdale 1972-1992

related pages...

The world of politics has produced a whole despatch box of personalities over the years - swinging from left to right wing through middle ground - to the activist, the reformer, and even the power seeking controversialist.

So a cry of order, order is in order, as we look at those names of all political persuasions, members of parliament past and present - with a couple of trade unionists thrown in for good measure - who received a right honourable mention in the This Is Your Life history with the Big Red Book* treatment...

Robert Boothby Robert Boothby Lord Robert BOOTHBY
17 October 1963
The controversial Conservative MP for East Aberdeenshire - who held the seat for over 30 years before being made a life peer in 1958 - was surprised by Eamonn at the BBC Television Centre.
Lord Boothby was a prominent commentator on public affairs on radio and television, and his tribute includes a recorded message from Noel Coward.
Vic Feather Vic Feather Vic FEATHER CBE
28 November 1973
Yorkshire-born Vic was surprised by Eamonn at the offices of Punch magazine in London. As General Secretary of the TUC from 1969-1973 he led the British trade union movement's fight against the Heath government's Industrial Relations Act of 1971. Something of a ‘character’ in public life, Vic was often imitated by Mike Yarwood, who is a guest on the show.
Jack Ashley Jack Ashley Jack ASHLEY
10 October 1974
Jack - the Labour MP for Stoke-on-Trent South since 1966 - was surprised by Eamonn in his own back garden while playing badminton with his family.
Jack became profoundly deaf as a result of complications from a routine ear operation in 1967, and consequently became the UK’s first totally deaf Member of Parliament.
Jeffrey Archer Jeffrey Archer Jeffrey ARCHER
14 January 1981
The former Conservative MP for Louth was surprised by Eamonn - along with the Somerset county cricket team - while out jogging on London’s embankment. Elected in 1969, Jeffrey resigned in 1974 - a casualty of a fraudulent investments scheme. This led to his new career as a novelist, with the publication of Not A Penny More, Not a Penny Less.
Joe Gormley Joe Gormley Joe GORMLEY OBE
3 March 1982
The retiring President of the National Union of Mineworkers was surprised by Eamonn - accompanied by a brass band - in London’s Victoria district.
Joe became a miner at the age of fourteen, and after several years as a trade union official, he worked his way up to general secretary of the North West region, being elected leader of the NUM in 1971.
Jo Grimond Jo Grimond Jo GRIMOND
2 March 1983
Eamonn gatecrashed the studios of TV-AM to surprise the former leader of the Liberal Party, on the eve of his retirement following 33 years as an MP for Orkney and Shetland.
Guests paying tribute include Ludovic Kennedy and his wife Moira Shearer, and Jo’s successor as Liberal Leader, David Steel.
George Thomas George Thomas George THOMAS
7 December 1983
The Labour politician - recently retired as Speaker of the House of Commons, a post he had held since 1976 - was suprised by Eamonn at a charity event at London's Royal Albert Hall.
Elevated to the peerage on his retirement, and known as Viscount Tonypandy, George's tribute includes messages from Harold Wilson and Prince Charles.
Laddie Lucas Laddie Lucas Laddie LUCAS CBE, DSO, DFC
11 April 1984
Eamonn surprised the former Royal Air Force Officer at London’s Park Lane Hotel. At the age of just twenty-six Laddie led the top-scoring 249 Squadron during the Battle of Malta. After the war he served for nine years as a Conservative MP for Brentford and Chiswick and later wrote numerous bestselling books based on his exemplary war service.
Fitzroy Maclean Fitzroy Maclean Sir Fitzroy MACLEAN
12 December 1984
Eamonn surprised the politician and former soldier at Teddington Studios with the help of Douglas Fairbanks Jr. Maclean was Conservative MP for Bute and North Ayrshire between 1959 and 1974. Previously a diplomat, he became one of the few people who entered the Second World War as a private and left having risen to the rank of Brigadier.
Robert Maxwell Robert Maxwell Robert MAXWELL
14 December 1988
The former Labour MP for Buckingham was surprised by Michael in the unlikely setting of the Royal College of Obstetricians & Gynaecologists.
Awarded the Military Cross for war action, Robert went on to build an extensive publishing empire which included the Mirror Group Newspapers. Among his guests is the former Prime Minister Harold Wilson.
Denis Healey Denis Healey Denis HEALEY
8 February 1989
Denis - the Labour MP for Leeds East since 1955 and the former Chancellor of the Exchequer under the Wilson and Callaghan administrations - was surprised by Michael at Teddington Studios during a ‘mock’ television interview.
Among those paying tribute are Henry Kissinger and Helmut Schmidt.
Bill Deedes Bill Deedes Lord Bill DEEDES
14 December 1998
Still working at the age of 85, Lord Deedes is to date the only person to have been a member of the cabinet while editor of a daily newspaper. He was Conservative MP for Ashford between 1950 and 1974 and served under Harold Macmillan as Minister without Portfolio. He was surprised by Michael while undertaking an interview with footballer David Ginola.
Paddy Ashdown Paddy Ashdown Lord Paddy ASHDOWN
31 October 2001
The recently retired MP for Yeovil - and former Leader of the Liberal Democrats - was surprised by Michael in the foyer of the BBC Television Centre.
The former Royal Marine who became a life peer was reunited with colleagues from all corners of the political spectrum - Denis Healey, Kenneth Clarke and Roy Jenkins.
Mo Mowlem Mo Mowlem Mo MOWLAM
9 January 2003
Michael surprised the former Labour MP during a recording of the BBC television comedy show Shooting Stars. As Northern Ireland Secretary, Mo was influential in securing the Good Friday Peace agreement in 1998, while recovering from a brain tumour. Among those paying tribute, in an emotional show, was Prime Minister Tony Blair and President Bill Clinton.

*obviously the pre-1970 subjects were surprised by a different coloured book - see the Big Red Book feature for full details