Rev Dr P B ‘Tubby’ CLAYTON CH, MC, DD (1885-1972)

Tubby Clayton
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Life's Vocation

Celebrating the 'men of God'


THIS IS YOUR LIFE - Rev Dr Philip Thomas Byard (Tubby) Clayton, Anglian clergyman and founder of Toc H, was surprised by Eamonn Andrews in the audience of the BBC Television Theatre.


He founded Talbot House, a rest home for soldiers, at Poperinge, Belgium in 1915. Toc H, as it was known, fostered a spirit of friendship, and became a movement which continued with further houses opening in London, Manchester and Southampton.

From 1922 Clayton, as vicar of All Hallows by the Tower, travelled widely promoting Toc H and encouraging the establishment of new branches.

Photographs of Tubby Clayton This Is Your Life (click images to enlarge)

Tubby Clayton article

Manchester Guardian 5 Feb 1958


“This Is Your Life” - Distasteful approach


Television Notes – by our Television Critic


“This Is Your Life” is probably one of the BBC features about which people now say “It’s come to stay.” Meaning that there is no use arguing whether it should be there or not. When “This Is Your Life” (copied from the United States) was first put on by the BBC, the way in which people (some of them modest and much embarrassed by the publicity) were shanghaied on to the platform and made the object of a mercilessly sentimental spotlight, was regarded critically. Time has passed and nobody takes much notice any more. Yet, though the subject of this programme is often a person of character and courage, with a life story well worth telling, and though we are told they mostly do not mind it, there remains something distasteful in the way it is done.


This was particularly striking on Monday, when the Rev. P.B. (“Tubby”) Clayton, of Toc H fame, was the chosen “life.” It was a story so eminently worth telling, about so famous a personality, and yet he himself, completely taken by surprise, appeared bewildered and overcome. This is a natural man, who probably does not know much about television, for when his old friends were brought on, one by one, to meet him he seemed regretful that he was not given a little more time to talk to them. But a programme is a programme and must keep to time.


It is the camera that holds the face in close-up that one dislikes; the tricks of the trade, the pompous recital of Eamonn Andrews, the pinning down of the specimen whether with or without his consent. And when the life story is one that is really good to hear about, then one can detach this dislikable element due to the method, and be sure that there is in fact something to dislike there.

Tubby Clayton article

Manchester Guardian 8 Feb 1958


“This Is Your Life”


Sir – I think your Television critic is being a little ingenuous. “This Is Your Life” is fundamentally phony because the programme method is well known and the live audience from which the victim is taken is small. Nobody whose career is at all notable can truly be “taken by surprise” if he is “shanghaied on to the platform.”


The real surprise must lie with those viewers who have not switched off, on finding such a person as the founder of Toc H in the studio at all, taking the obvious risk of being “bewildered and overcome.” Are these people also shanghaied from their firesides into the studio?


Yours L Munroe Clark, Kirkella, Hull


(Our Television Critic writes: The BBC has many ingenious ways of getting people into this programme without their realising it. The “audience” method is only one.)

programme details...

  • Edition No: 53
  • Subject No: 53
  • Broadcast live: Mon 3 Feb 1958
  • Broadcast time: 8.15-8.45pm
  • Venue: BBC Television Theatre
  • Series: 3
  • Edition: 19

on the guest list...

  • E. Royalton Kisch MC
  • Lt Cmdr George W Potter RN
  • Bert Stagg
  • Lady Annie Clayton MBE - sister-in-law
  • Dr Leonard Browne
  • ‘Inky’ Bean
  • Rev Fred Molyneux
  • Dr J H Nicholson CBE
  • Alison MacFie
  • Rev Ronnie Royle
  • Peter Pedrick
  • Bill Howells
  • representatives of the worldwide branches of Toc H

external links...

production team...

  • Researchers: Ray Marler, Bill Nolan, Michael Williams
  • Writer: Ray Marler
  • Producer: T Leslie Jackson
Series 3 subjects: Albert Whelan > Colin Hodgkinson > Vera Lynn > Arthur Christiansen > John Logie Baird > Richard Carr-Gomm > Jack Train > Edith Muriel Powell > Anne Brusselmans > Norman Wisdom > Victor Silvester > Jack Petersen > Lucy Jane Dobson > David Bell > Matt Busby > Minnie Barnard > Gordon Steele > Louie Ramsay > Tubby Clayton > Daniel Angel > Anna Neagle > 'Dapper' Channon > Frederick Stone > Paul Field > Noel Purcell > Barbara Cartland > Harry Secombe > Archie Rowe > Humphrey Lyttelton > Francis Cammaerts > A E Matthews