The Good Life
Funny Ladies

also honoured...

Alfie BASS

11 March 1970

Best known for the BBC sitcom The Army Game, and its sequel Bootsie and Snudge


Richard BRIERS

3 May 1972

RADA trained actor who appeared in the BBC sitcom Marriage Lines and the comedy series Brothers in Law


Jack SMETHURST

24 January 1973

Comedy actor currently appearing as Eddie Booth in the ITV sitcom Love Thy Neighbour


Diana COUPLAND

28 February 1973

Actress and singer best remembered for her role as Jean Abbott on the ITV sitcom Bless This House


Deryck GUYLER

9 January 1974

Actor best known for his portrayal of officious, short-tempered middle-aged men in sitcoms such as Please Sir! and Sykes


Jimmy JEWEL

30 January 1974

Comedian and actor well known for his role as Eli Pledge in the ITV sitcom Nearest and Dearest


Queenie WATTS

22 January 1975

Actress and occasional singer recently seen in the ITV sitcom Romany Jones


Leonard ROSSITER

5 February 1975

Actor with a long career in the theatre who found fame playing landlord Rupert Rigsby in the ITV sitcom Rising Damp


Mollie SUGDEN

9 April 1975

Comedy actress best known for her role as Mrs. Slocombe in the BBC sitcom Are You Being Served?


Michael BATES

16 April 1975

Actor known for his appearances in the BBC sitcoms Last of the Summer Wine and It Ain't Half Hot Mum

related pages...

The situation comedy - a staple part of the television schedules over the years - has provided us with numerous memorable characters and catchphrases, many of which were highlighted by the This Is Your Life team.


So, from Alf Garnett to Captain Peacock, we take a look at those talented actors and actresses behind the character creations, who were rewarded with the Big Red Book treatment....

Wendy Craig Wendy Craig Wendy CRAIG
11 February 1970
Wendy - a dramatic actress who appeared in several British films of the 1960s - became a household name in television sitcoms such as …And Mother Makes Three.
Eamonn surprised her at a Chelsea photography studio, and her guests include actor Dirk Bogarde and entertainer Harry Secombe.
Reg Varney Reg Varney Reg VARNEY
20 May 1970
The comedy actor who appeared in the sitcoms The Rag Trade and Beggar My Neighbour, and became a household name as the star of the ITV sitcom On The Buses, was suprised by Eamonn while handing out presents to children at a London bus depot.
Actresses Barbara Windsor and June Whitfield and comedian Ted Ray are on the guest list.
  Clive Dunn Clive DUNN
24 March 1971
Clive’s trademark character was that of a doddering old man - and this was no doubt a factor when he was cast in the role of Lance-Corporal Jones in the BBC sitcom Dad's Army in 1968. Eamonn surprised him - in character - while filming on Barnes Common in London. Among those greeting Clive back in the studio is comedy actress Hattie Jacques.
Doris Hare Doris Hare Doris HARE
29 December 1971
In a long career which included music hall, variety, radio, straight plays and comedy revues, Doris came to national attention in the hugely popular 1970s ITV sitcom On the Buses. Surprised by Eamonn outside London’s White House Hotel, Doris retorted ‘Oh, I haven’t had my hair done!’ and subsequently kept her hat on during the show’s recording.
Hylda Baker Hylda Baker Hylda BAKER
1 March 1972
The comedienne and former music hall performer was surprised by Eamonn outside Thames Television's Euston Road Studios.
Hylda - currently appearing in the popular ITV sitcom Nearest and Dearest - was greeted by her colleagues from that show, as well as producer Barney Colehan and singer Dorothy Squires.
Warren Mitchell Warren Mitchell Warren MITCHELL
6 December 1972
Warren - best known for his role as the bigoted cockney West Ham United supporter Alf Garnett, in the BBC sitcom Till Death Us Do Part - was surprised by Eamonn at London's City & Literary Institute.
The sitcom's creator Johnny Speight is among the guests while actor Richard Burton sends a recorded message.
Bill Maynard Bill Maynard Bill MAYNARD
4 December 1974
The actor - famous for his eponymous lead role in the ITV sitcom Oh No, It's Selwyn Froggit! - was surprised by Eamonn while traveling by train from Manchester to London.
Actor Jon Pertwee greets Bill in the studio, while his former comedy partner, Terry Scott, sends a recorded message.
Richard O'Sullivan Richard O'Sullivan Richard O'SULLIVAN
11 December 1974
Eamonn surprised the comedy actor on location for his current hit ITV sitcom Man About The House, with the help of the show's other stars, who join the tribute.
Richard - who had clearly taken advantage of the pre-show champagne - is greeted by, among others, the actor Trevor Howard, who appears to have also partaken of the hospitality drinks!
Nina Baden-Semper Nina Baden-Semper Nina BADEN-SEMPER
12 March 1975
Nina - best known to television viewers for her role as Barbie in the controversial ITV sitcom, Love Thy Neighbour - was surprised by Eamonn during filming for an episode of the comedy series.
Among those paying tribute to Nina - who is of Trinidadian descent - is the Trinidadian musician Edmundo Ros.
Windsor Davies Windsor Davies

Windsor DAVIES
7 January 1976
Windsor - who was currently playing the bullying Sergeant Major Williams in the BBC sitcom It Ain’t Half Hot, Mum - was surprised by Eamonn, and his colleagues from the comedy, outside a Chelsea restaurant.
His tribute closes with a rousing performance from a Welsh male voice choir.

Arnold Ridley Arnold Ridley

Arnold RIDLEY
10 March 1976
The actor and playwright - who found national fame through his role as Private Godfrey in the BBC sitcom Dad's Army - was surprised by Eamonn at London's Marylebone station - with the help of the show's other cast members.
Arnold's tribute includes a filmed message from actor Dirk Bogarde.

June Whitfield June Whitfield June WHITFIELD
14 April 1976
Eamonn surprised the popular comedy actress in her own living room at her Wimbledon home!
June appeared in many radio and television comedy series including Take It From Here and Happy Ever After. A line up of famous comedy names pay tribute including Terry Scott, Frankie Howerd, Peter Butterworth and Bob Monkhouse.
John Inman John Inman John INMAN
22 December 1976
The comedy actor - known to television viewers as Mr Humphries in the BBC sitcom Are You Being Served? - was in full pantomime dame costume when Eamonn surprised him at the Wimbledon Theatre.
At the This Is Your Life studios John is greeted by the rest of the cast from the comedy, along with writers Jeremy Lloyd and David Croft.
Patrick Cargill Patrick Cargill Patrick CARGILL
29 December 1976
The character actor - who became a household name in a role specifically written for him in the ITV sitcom Father Dear Father - was surprised by Eamonn at Thames Television's Euston Road Studios.
Paying tribute to Patrick are many of the guest stars who appear with him in the sitcom, including actors Beryl Reid, Joyce Carey and Tony Britton.
Tony Britton Tony Britton Tony BRITTON
26 January 1977
Eamonn dressed up as a doorman at London’s Café Royal - and enlisted the help of the actor’s co-stars from the television sitcom Robin’s Nest, Tessa Wyatt and Richard O’Sullivan - to surprise the comedy actor.
On the guest list are actresses Margaret Lockwood and Moira Lister, while actor Peter Finch sends a filmed message.
Richard Beckinsale Richard Beckinsale Richard BECKINSALE
23 November 1977
Richard - known to television viewers for his roles in the hit comedy series The Lovers, Rising Damp and Porridge - was suprised at London's Prince of Wales Theatre when Eamonn interrupted rehearsals for the musical I Love My Wife. His colleagues from the aforementioned shows, Paula Wilcox, Leonard Rossiter and Ronnie Barker join his tribute.
Arthur English Arthur English Arthur ENGLISH
18 January 1978
Another regular member of Are You Being Served? cast was surprised by Eamonn - this time at London's Victoria and Albert Museum.
The rest of the show's cast are all there, along with Arthur's colleagues from the ITV series, The Ghosts of Motley Hall, while entertainer Danny La Rue sends a recorded message.
Pat Coombs Pat Coombs Pat COOMBS
8 February 1978
The busy character actress - whose background was in radio but who became best known through appearing in various television sitcoms - was surprised by Eamonn while filming on location for You’re Only Young Twice – in a bingo hall!
Among those paying tribute to Pat are fellow actresses Irene Handl and June Whitfield.
Andrew Sachs Andrew Sachs Andrew SACHS
2 January 1980
The actor - perhaps best known for his portrayal of the Spanish waiter Manuel in the BBC sitcom, Fawlty Towers - was surprised by Eamonn at a book signing session at the HMV store on London's Oxford Street.
Among those paying tribute are actor Brian Rix, actor and playwright Ray Cooney and actress and singer Jessie Matthews.
Roy Kinnear Roy Kinnear Roy KINNEAR
13 February 1980
The character actor who found fame on the ground breaking satirical television show, That Was The Week That Was, was surprised by Eamonn in central London, with the help of his TW3 colleagues - who appear from the back of a van, as Roy leaves a rehearsal room with Willie Rushton. Actress Sheila Hancock and comedy actor Dick Emery join his tribute.
Peter Bowles Peter Bowles Peter BOWLES
5 November 1980
The actor - who became popular with the viewing public for his roles in the successful sitcoms Only When I Laugh and To The Manor Born - was surprised by Eamonn outside Burlington Arcade on London's Piccadilly.
Among those paying tribute to Peter are his fellow comedy actors Richard Briers and Leonard Rossiter.
Rodney Bewes Rodney Bewes Rodney BEWES
10 December 1980
Rodney's four children help Eamonn spring the surprise in central London by wearing t-shirts spelling out This Is Your Life!
The actor - best known as Bob in the BBC sitcom The Likely Lads - was greeted by puppet Basil Brush, actor Tom Courtenay, and writers of The Likely Lads, Dick Clement and Ian Le Frenais.
Bill Owen Bill Owen Bill OWEN MBE
7 January 1981
Eamonn - disguised as a policeman - caught Bill in London's Trafalgar Square. The actor was in costume for his most famous comedy creation, that of Compo in the BBC sitcom, Last of the Summer Wine.
Among those paying tribute are the residents and choral society of Holmfirth - the Yorkshire town where the comedy is filmed.
Melvyn Hayes Melvyn Hayes Melvyn HAYES
28 January 1981
Eamonn ambushed the curtain call of the pantomime Dick Whittington at the London Palladium, in order to surprise Melvyn - probably best known for his role as Gloria in the BBC sitcom It Ain't Half Hot Mum.
Among those paying tribute to the comedy actor are fellow actors Richard O'Sullivan, Edward Woodward and Alfred Marks.
Paul Shane Paul Shane Paul SHANE
16 December 1981
Paul - undoubtedly best known for his role as Ted Bovis in the BBC sitcom Hi-Di-Hi - was surprised by Eamonn in London's Covent Garden.
Paul's colleagues from the popular sitcom, including Su Pollard and Ruth Madoc, were all there to pay tribute, along with Emmerdale's Stan Richards and comedian Sandy Powell.
Diane Keen Diane Keen Diane KEEN
17 November 1982
Diane’s current ITV sitcom, Foxy Lady, was used as the basis of Eamonn’s surprise - when he disguised himself as a newspaper vendor and presented her with headlines declaring: Diane Keen This Is Your Life!
Lewis Collins - Diane’s co-star from her previous sitcom Cuckoo Waltz - sent greetings, as did Coronation Street’s Pat Phoenix.
Nerys Hughes Nerys Hughes Nerys HUGHES
22 February 1984
Eamonn enlisted the help of co-stars, Polly James, Liz Estenson and Mollie Sugden, from the BBC sitcom The Liver Birds - perhaps Nerys’ most famous role - to surprise the comedy actress at the reception desk of a London Hilton Hotel.
Actors Lynn Redgrave and Derek Nimmo are among those paying tribute.
Kathy Staff Kathy Staff Kathy STAFF
21 March 1984
The actress - best known to viewers as Nora Batty in the BBC's sitcom Last of the Summer Wine - was surprised by Eamonn in the London store, Harrods - along with her colleagues from the ITV soap, Crossroads, in which she plays cleaner, Doris Luke.
Film director John Schlesinger sends a message, while Barbara Windsor greets Kathy in the studio.
Ruth Madoc Ruth Madoc Ruth MADOC
28 November 1984
Eamonn dressed as a policeman to surprise Ruth while she was guest starring on Freddie Starr’s comedy show at Thames Television's Teddington Studios.
Ruth - currently appearing in the popular BBC sitcom Hi-Di-Hi - was greeted by many of her co-stars from the sitcom, including the shows writers and creators Jimmy Perry and David Croft.
Keith Barron Keith Barron Keith BARRON
9 January 1985
In a nod to Keith's role in the hit ITV sitcom Duty Free, set in a Spanish holiday resort, Eamonn dressed as a Spaniard to surprise the comedy actor at the curtain call of the pantomime Jack and the Beanstalk at the Richmond Theatre.
Among those paying tribute to Keith are actresses Thora Hird and Susan Hampshire.
Felix Bowness Felix Bowness Felix BOWNESS
15 January 1986
Felix - a regular on the sitcom Hi-Di-Hi - is the warm up man for the This Is Your Life studio audience - and it was in this capacity that he was surprised. The team had made sure that Felix's watch was running slow, so he didn't realise he was live on air when Eamonn appeared and retrieved the big red book from a shopping bag belonging to a lady on the front row!
Gorden Kaye Gorden Kaye Gorden KAYE
5 November 1986
The actor - who found fame as Rene in the BBC sitcom 'Allo 'Allo - was suprised by Eamonn at the curtain call of the show's stage version - at London's Prince of Wales Theatre, where the tribute was then recorded.
The show's cast are all there, while other guests include actor Christopher Timothy who brings along a piglet!
Su Pollard Su Pollard Su POLLARD
1 March 1989
Another star of the popular sitcom Hi-Di-Hi was surprised by Michael at the curtain call for the last night of the pantomime Dick Whittington at the Richmond Theatre, where the show was then recorded.
There was almost immediate chaos with Su’s first guests, Bernie Winters and his dog Schnorbitz, when it was unclear who was supposed to sit where!
Jean Boht Jean Boht Jean BOHT
22 November 1989
Jean - perhaps most famous for her role as the Boswell family matriarch in the BBC sitcom Bread - was surprised by Michael, and her co-stars from the comedy, at London’s Euston Station.
Among those paying tribute to Jean - who is married to and joined by composer Carl Davis - are Bread’s creator Carla Lane and actress Lynda Bellingham.
Carmen Silvera Carmen Silvera Carmen SILVERA
30 January 1991
Michael surprised Carmen - best known for her role as the wife of cafe owner Rene in the popular BBC sitcom ‘Allo ‘Allo! - during a recording of the comedy.
The cast of the show join the tribute; with Carmen's screen husband Gorden Kaye sitting beside her on the set. Other guests include comedy actress Barbara Windsor.
Richard Briers Richard Briers Richard BRIERS
9 March 1994
Michael interrupted an interview in the UK Living television studios to surprise Richard - best known for his role as Tom Good in the hit BBC sitcom The Good Life.
For this, his second This Is Your Life tribute, Richard was greeted by actor John Thaw, playwright Ray Cooney and screenwriter Harold French.
Lesley Joseph Lesley Joseph Lesley JOSEPH
4 January 1995
Lesley was surprised by Michael at The Mayflower Theatre in Southampton, at a curtain call for the pantomime Dick Whittington.
Lesley is greeted by her co-stars from the popular BBC sitcom Birds of a Feather - Linda Robson and Pauline Quirke along with the comedy’s writers Laurence Marks and Maurice Gran.
June Whitfield June Whitfield June WHITFIELD OBE
8 March 1995
Michael caught the comedy actress - for her second This Is Your Life tribute - during a dubbing session for the BBC sitcom Absolutely Fabulous at the BBC Television Centre.
June was reunited with her co-stars from various television and radio series, including Reg Varney, Roy Hudd and Leslie Crowther.
Trevor Bannister Trevor Bannister Trevor BANNISTER
22 December 1997
Michael interrupts another pantomime curtain call - this time Jack and the Beanstalk at Redhill's Harlequin Theatre - to surprise the actor best known for his role as Mr Lucas in the BBC sitcom Are Your Being Served? Trevor is greeted in the studio by playwright Ray Cooney, while Hollywood actors Tony Randall and Jack Klugman send a recorded message.
Brian Murphy Brian Murphy Brian MURPHY
5 January 1998
Several of the comedy actor's former colleagues assist Michael in surprising Brian at the King's Head theatre pub in London's Islington. Brian - best known to viewers for his role as George Roper in the ITV sitcoms Man About The House and George and Mildred, is reunited with his co-stars from the comedies: Richard O'Sullivan and Paula Wilcox.
Frank Thornton Frank Thornton Frank THORNTON
19 October 1998
Frank - best known as Captain Peacock in the BBC sitcom Are You Being Served? - was surprised by Michael at a gathering to celebrate British comedy at Pinewood Studios.
Paying tribute in the studio are actors Dulcie Gray and Donald Sinden, while entertainer Danny La Rue and actress June Whitfield send recorded messages.
George Layton George Layton George LAYTON
18 January 1999
The actor and screenwriter - best remembered for his roles in the sitcoms, It Ain't Half Hot Mum and Doctor in the House, and its subsequent spin-offs - was surprised by Michael during a photoshoot at London's Holborn Studios. George - who met his wife at a This Is Your Life party - is greeted by, among others, theatre producer, Bill Kenwright.
Bill Pertwee Bill Pertwee Bill PERTWEE
1 February 1999
The team gather at London's Imperial War Museum where Michael enlists the help of Bill's former colleague, Ian Lavender, from the BBC sitcom Dad's Army, to help surprise the actor - best known as ARP Warden Hodges in the long running series.
Among those paying tribute to Bill are fellow actors Bill Maynard, Bernard Cribbins and Paul Shane.
Ian Lavender Ian Lavender Ian LAVENDER
7 March 2002
Just after assisting Michael surprise one of his Dad's Army colleagues, Ian - who played Private Pike in the BBC sitcom - was himself caught out in a London restaurant. On the guest list are many of Ian's former colleagues, including Clive Dunn and Bill Pertwee, while the final tribute is made by Dad's Army's co-creator and producer, David Croft.
Brigit Forsyth Brigit Forsyth Brigit FORSYTH
24 April 2002
Brigit - best remembered for her role as Thelma in BBC Television's Whatever Happened to the Likely Lads - was surprised by Michael at BBC Broadcasting House.
Among those paying tribute are actors James Ellis and Elizabeth Spriggs and writers of The Likely Lads, Dick Clement and Ian Le Frenais.