Percy THROWER (1913-1988)

Percy Thrower
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Life As We Know It

Highlighting those broadcasting experts

Vince Hill

THIS IS YOUR LIFE - Percy Thrower, gardener and broadcaster, was surprised by Eamonn Andrews at the Ideal Home Exhibition in London's Earl's Court.

Percy’s first gardening job was at the age of 18 in the Royal Gardens at Windsor Castle. He passed the Royal Horticultural Society’s General Exam in 1937 while working in Leeds, but then moved on to Derby Parks Department where he worked his way up to the Assistant Parks Superintendent.

His final career move was to Shrewsbury in 1946, becoming the youngest Parks Superintendent at the age of 32.

Percy began sharing his knowledge of gardening on various television programmes, starting in 1956 on the BBC's Gardening Club, and later on the BBC's Gardeners' World from 1969.

“Oh Eamonn, very nice to see you! You’ve planted a very big surprise!”

Screenshots of Percy Thrower This Is Your Life

Percy Thrower's biography

In his biography of Percy Thrower, writer Timothy O'Sullivan briefly mentions this particular edition of This Is Your Life...

At Clack’s Farm there is a five-barred gate upon which Percy and Arthur sometimes rested or posed during a recording of Gardener’s World. Lady visitors to Clack’s Farm on open days would make for this gate and if necessary form a queue to file past, touching the top rail rather as if it were an icon in an Orthodox church.

Equally exotically, Percy’s ways with plants attracted the admiration of the Swedish actress Mai Zetterling whose husband, possibly bored by having Percy quoted all the time, induced him to write to his wife about her lilies.

He duly did so and the letter was much appreciated; so much so that when in 1976 Percy was given the bizarre accolade of popular approval, an edition of This Is Your Life, Mai Zetterling was specially flown in to meet her hero for the first time.

It was manifest from the programme that the actuality of Percy did not disappoint her. Such gestures of appreciation were a small part of Percy’s reward which lay, as it had always done, in making a living out of what was coincidentally his hobby.

programme details...

  • Edition No: 435
  • Subject No: 432
  • Broadcast: Wed 31 Mar 1976
  • Broadcast time: 7-7.30pm
  • Recorded: Wed 10 Mar 1976
  • Venue: Euston Road Studios
  • Series: 16
  • Edition: 21
  • Code name: Root

on the guest list...

  • Lesley Judd
  • Peter Purves
  • Shep
  • Bob Musk
  • Connie - wife
  • Margaret - daughter
  • Susan - daughter
  • Ann - daughter
  • Mabel – sister-in-law
  • Maurice – brother
  • Harry - brother
  • Maude – sister
  • Joan - sister
  • Ken Hodgkinson
  • Arthur Billit
  • Mai Zetterling
  • Harry Wheatcroft
  • Tina Lumley
  • Jim Smith
  • Leonard Dando
  • Ted Scurgess
  • Tom Holt
  • Fred Newman
  • Ursula Steier
  • Filmed tributes:
  • Lady Isobel Barnett
  • Simon Williams
  • Vince Hill

external link...

production team...

  • Researcher: Lavinia Warner
  • Writer: John Sandilands
  • Director: Mike Dormer
  • Executive Producer: Jack Andrews
  • 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