Andrew LLOYD WEBBER (1948-)

Andrew Lloyd Webber This Is Your Life

programme details...

  • Edition No: 554
  • Subject No: 550
  • Broadcast date: Wed 26 Nov 1980
  • Broadcast time: 7.00-7.30pm
  • Recorded: Tue 4 Nov 1980
  • Venue: New London Theatre
  • Series: 21
  • Edition: 7
  • Code name: Joseph

on the guest list...

  • company members of Evita
  • John Turner
  • Mark Ryan
  • David Burt
  • Stephanie Lawrence
  • Marti Webb
  • Don Black
  • Sarah - wife
  • Jean - mother
  • Dr William Lloyd Webber - father
  • Julian - brother
  • Celia - sister-in-law
  • Robin Barrow
  • Tim Rice
  • David Land
  • Gary Bond
  • Paul Nicholas
  • Robert Powell
  • Babs Powell
  • Elaine Paige
  • David Essex
  • Don Everly
  • Imogen - daughter
  • Nicholas - son
  • Recorded tribute:
  • Edmundo Ros - via telephone
  • Filmed tribute:
  • Hal Prince

production team...

  • Researcher: Vivien Lind
  • Writers: Tom Brennand, Roy Bottomley
  • Directors: Stuart Hall, Terry Yarwood
  • Producer: Jack Crawshaw
  • names above in bold indicate subjects of This Is Your Life
related pages...

Andrew Lloyd Webber

second tribute

Life is a Cabaret

a musical theatre chorus line

Life Second Time Around

surprised again!

Family Life

keeping it in the family

This is the secret life

Jack Crawshaw reviews his time on This Is Your Life

Life's awkward moments

TV Times looks at some 'unplanned' incidents

Paul Nicholas

Babs Powell

Andrew Lloyd Webber This Is Your Life Andrew Lloyd Webber This Is Your Life Andrew Lloyd Webber This Is Your Life Andrew Lloyd Webber This Is Your Life Andrew Lloyd Webber This Is Your Life Andrew Lloyd Webber This Is Your Life Andrew Lloyd Webber This Is Your Life Andrew Lloyd Webber This Is Your Life Andrew Lloyd Webber This Is Your Life Andrew Lloyd Webber This Is Your Life Andrew Lloyd Webber This Is Your Life Andrew Lloyd Webber This Is Your Life

Screenshots of Andrew Lloyd Webber This Is Your Life

Andrew Lloyd Webber's autobiography

Andrew Lloyd Webber recalls his experience of This Is Your Life in his autobiography, Unmasked...

NOVEMBER WAS BLANKED OUT for me and Gillie to audition up and down the country for that impossibly rare breed in 1980s Britain, dancers who could sing and act. That's how I first properly met Sarah Brightman. It was a surprise that she wanted to audition as she was a pop name with a big hit with "Starship Trooper" under her belt. A private meeting was arranged at my London flat. She arrived wearing a blue wig which may be the reason why I played "Don't Rain on My Parade" so appallingly for her. I thought she had a nice voice and that was about it.

Two days later it was up to Glasgow and Newcastle, in the middle of which I had a glorious half day off which I planned to spend squinting at architecture. I couldn't understand why Biddy, my sanguine PA, kept crazily scheduling an audition in London between the two northern casting dates. No matter how many times I said she was a congenial idiot either Cameron or Sarah insisted the London auditions were etched in granite.

I discovered what was behind this nonsense in the middle of the night. My poor wife was worried so sick about my suicidally stupid musical that she had taken to pouring out her angst in her sleep. One night I woke to hear her burbling on about a big secret that "Andrew mustn't know about." Naturally I took advantage of her semiconscious state and asked in my best soothing psychiatrist tones what it was. After a lot of incoherent drivel about relatives, she mumbled the words "This Is Your Life."

So that was the reason for my ludicrous schedule. It was that old chestnut of a TV show where ancient relatives and so-called friends were wheeled out to the surprise and shock of all too often B-list celebrities. Next morning I gave a virtuoso acting performance about knowing nothing which caused Sarah to fear the polar opposite.

I remember little about the TV programme nor the parade of relatives and friends who were dredged up. That was because my mind was entirely somewhere else. I had found our cats' home. The TV programme was recorded in the New London Theatre. During the endless procession of cousins I never knew I had, my eyes wandered around a perfect pussydrome. Built on the site of the old Winter Garden, the New London opened in 1973 as the "theatre of the future." It was designed by Sean Kenny, the man responsible for some of the most revolutionary sets ever, as both a proscenium theatre and theatre-in-the-round. Whilst kissing some long-lost great-aunt I remembered that this was achieved by a giant turntable in the floor.

The moment the show was over I told a disbelieving Sarah that I'd found a cats' home. Could she keep my various relatives and wellwishers at bay in the green room whilst I phoned Trevor Nunn? Luckily I got straight through to the RSC's HQ at the Aldwych Theatre and begged him to sprint the few hundred yards to the New London. Sarah did a brilliant covering job for me at the party by saying I was at the other end of the room when I wasn't, so for ten minutes Trevor and I had free rein of the empty theatre.

What happened next rendered us speechless. I don't think two theatre animals could ever have mouthed "eureka" so instantly. The building manager had wandered in and I asked him if the turntable that changed the audience configuration still worked. He said sure, would we like to see it? Next Trevor and I were looking at 300 seats moving to make a perfect theatre-in-the-round. We clutched each other. Not only had we found our cats' home, we could physically move our audience too! Trevor said it was the most exhilarating moment he had ever had in a theatre.

Roy Bottomley This Is Your Life book

Scriptwriter Roy Bottomley recalls this edition of This Is Your Life in his book, This Is Your Life: The Story of Television's Famous Big Red Book...

We had surprised Andrew with the cast of Evita, which included Elaine Paige, David Essex, John Turner, Stephanie Lawrence and Paul Nicholas.

As a child, Andrew had loved the music of Edmundo Ros, who rang from his home in Spain, delighted that Andrew's taste for Latin American music had come through in his latest hit musical.

Andrew also has a great love of pop/rock music. One of his favourite numbers is the Everly Brothers singing 'Bye, Bye, Love', and he couldn't be more delighted when we flew Don Everly in from Nashville to surprise him.

The Times article: Andrew Lloyd Webber This Is Your Life

The Times 13 April 1981

A voyage of exploration through T S Eliot

Berger Paints will not be having their annual sales conference at the New London Theatre this year. It is one of a number of commercial engagements which has had to be rehoused to make way for Cats, Andrew Lloyd Webber's first stage musical since Evita. The New London hardly had a happy opening with Peter Ustinov's The Unknown Soldier and his Wife and since that day it has not done much looking forward. But Cats could change all that and the New London, substantially restricted to accommodate its feline tenants, is at least going back to being a legitimate theatre.

The idea of using the New London for Cats came to Lloyd Webber when he was standing on the centre of its stage: "I had been 'kidnapped' to appear on This Is Your Life and while the passing parade of long-lost cousins and aunts was going on I took a look around the theatre and realised that it was what we had been looking for. The moment the show was over I abandoned Eamonn Andrews – it must have looked terribly rude – and rushed to the telephone to ring Trevor Nunn, who had been working on Cats with me, to tell him we had our 'space'."

Series 21 subjects

Joe Loss | Julie Goodyear | Lawrie McMenemy | Peter Bowles | Mike Yarwood | John Schlesinger | Andrew Lloyd Webber
Janet Brown | Rodney Bewes | Russell Harty | Joan Wells | Billy Connolly | Bill Owen | Jeffery Archer | Brian Jacks
Melvin Hayes | Fred Housego | Alex Higgins | Tim Brooke-Taylor | Bernard Cribbins | Gemma Craven | Jim Watt
John Thaw | Jonjo O'Neill | Judith Chalmers | Margaret Price