Peter FINCH (1916-1977)

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An Actor's Life For Me

Spotlight on the stars of stage and screen

THIS IS YOUR LIFE - Peter Finch, actor, was surprised by Eamonn Andrews at his home in North London.

Peter spent his teenage years in Australia where he developed an interest in acting. He appeared in various stage productions in Sydney, before gaining work in several radio plays for the Australian Broadcasting Commission.

Following World War II, Peter established himself as Australia’s leading actor in radio. He co-founded the Mercury Theatre Company in Sydney, through which he came to the attention of Laurence Olivier, who encouraged him to move to London.

He achieved success in the London theatre under the mentorship of Olivier, and by the early 1950s was also gaining popularity as a film actor. Throughout the rest of the decade Peter became one of the top ranked film stars of the British cinema, and won the BAFTA award for best actor for his roles in A Town Like Alice and The Trials of Oscar Wilde.

Peter Finch

Eamonn Andrews, Peter Finch and guest Bill Kerr on This Is Your Life

Peter Finch's biography

The writer Elaine Dundy, briefly recalls This Is Your Life in her biography, Finch, Bloody Finch...

A year before, that popular programme This Is Your Life had as its Christmas subject Peter Finch.

And on came Bill Kerr, his old Australian mate … and on came Tony Britton, his English mate … and they had even flown over Donald Friend from Ceylon!

And Bert le Blanc, the vaudeville comedian was flown in from Australia … And directors he’d worked with, and actors he’d worked with were there … all telling wonderful stories about him, saying wonderful and funny things about him.

It was marvellous! Hilarious! And … “Peter Finch, This Is Your Life!” said Eamonn Andrews amidst studio cheers.

programme details...

  • Edition No: 173
  • Subject No: 174
  • Broadcast live: Mon 4 Dec 1961
  • Broadcast time: 7.55-8.30pm
  • Venue: BBC Television Theatre
  • Series: 7
  • Edition: 10

on the guest list...

  • Dame Edith Evans
  • Donald Friend
  • Lyn Foster
  • Bill Kerr
  • Sydney John Kay
  • Wing Commander Michael Ingle Finch DFC & bar – brother
  • Maxine Audley
  • Harold Huth
  • Tony Britton
  • Sam Savory
  • Yolande Turner - wife
  • Bert le Blanc
  • Filmed tributes:
  • Alex MacDonald
  • Norman Johnson
  • Max Osbison

external links...

production team...

  • Researcher: John Ralph
  • Writer: John Sandilands
  • Director: Yvonne Littlewood
  • Producer: T Leslie Jackson
names listed in bold indicate subjects of This Is Your Life
Series 7 subjects: Max Bygraves > Mario Borrelli > Alastair Pearson > Brian Rix > Derek Dooley > Elizabeth Twistington Higgins > Sandy MacPherson > Ronald Menday > Harry Day > Peter Finch > Charlie Drake > Timothy Cain > Isabella Woodford > David Park > Sefton Delmer > Coco the Clown > Jenny Gleed > Arthur E Davies > Tom Evans > David Pelham James > Kenneth Horne > Marie Rambert > David Butler > Glen Moody > Kenneth Cooke > Tom Breaks > Dora Bryan > Bob Oatway > Acker Bilk > Hester Meakin > Joe Filliston > Ellaline Terriss