Dr A B MACDONALD CBE (1892-1970)

Andrew Macdonald This Is Your Life

programme details...

  • Edition No: 84
  • Subject No: 84
  • Broadcast live: Mon 2 Feb 1959
  • Broadcast time: 7.30-8.05pm
  • Venue: BBC Riverside Studios
  • Series: 4
  • Edition: 19

on the guest list...

  • Katrina - wife
  • Hamish MacGregor
  • Jane Howie
  • Dr George Jamieson
  • James Ballantyne
  • Clement Wills
  • Jean Wills
  • Rev Alexander Taylor
  • Rev Daniel Umo
  • Filmed tribute:
  • Rev Robert Macdonald - cousin

production team...

  • Researchers: Peter Moore, Ronald Vivian
  • Writers: Peter Moore, Ronald Vivian
  • Director: Vere Lorrimer
  • Producer: T Leslie Jackson
related pages...

A Medical Life

examining the medical profession

Will a 'Life' man ever stalk out?

News Chronicle editorial

This Is Your Life

Radio Times feature on the sleuth-like manner of the 'pick-up'

Andrew Macdonald This Is Your Life Andrew Macdonald This Is Your Life Andrew Macdonald This Is Your Life Andrew Macdonald This Is Your Life Andrew Macdonald This Is Your Life Andrew Macdonald This Is Your Life Andrew Macdonald This Is Your Life Andrew Macdonald This Is Your Life Andrew Macdonald This Is Your Life Andrew Macdonald This Is Your Life Andrew Macdonald This Is Your Life Andrew Macdonald This Is Your Life Andrew Macdonald This Is Your Life Andrew Macdonald This Is Your Life Big Red Book

Photographs of Andrew Macdonald This Is Your Life - and a photograph of Andrew Macdonald's big red book

Andrew Macdonald recalls his experience of This Is Your Life in the introduction to his autobiography, In His Name...

At the end of January 1959, I was invited to a 'conference' at the offices of the British Leprosy Relief Association. Two first-class tickets from Callander to London were enclosed in the envelope, one for my wife, the other for myself. The Medical Secretary, Dr Ross Innes, wrote 'and you must bring your wife. We shall be quite outraged if she does not come'.

On the following Monday afternoon, the 'conference' with Ross Innes began, and we discussed at some length various aspects of policy and treatment in leprosy. We conducted proceedings - the two of us - with great solemnity and concentration, he taking careful notes!

My wife, in the meantime had been out 'shopping' - allegedly - with the Press Secretary of the Church of Scotland, who had accompanied us to London, but I afterwards learned that she had been most of the day at the B.B.C.

In the evening, after dinner with Dr and Mrs Innes at their home, I was informed that a lady who had Calabar connections would like very much to see me. Her home was at Clapham. In due course a taxi arrived, and the doctor and I proceeded on a tour of London - it might have been anywhere as, apart from the City area, I have no intimate knowledge of London, but Clapham seemed to be a long way ahead. Several times there were mysterious stops. The driver asked if he might look at his oil. He promptly got out and lifted the bonnet and fumbled about inside for a few minutes. Thereafter, on carefully examining his watch, he said it was all right.

Ultimately, we arrived in an area, which looked anything but a desirable district in which the lady from Calabar (a retired doctor) would live. Then we were held up by a policeman (or a man in police uniform, as I afterwards discovered) who demanded the driver's driving licence, which, being seriously inspected and passed, was returned to him. When we arrived at the end of the street, we were held up by another policeman and drew up near a doorway in the darkness of a February night, from which a brilliant light streamed. It was 7.33 to the split second. There, outlined in this doorway, stood Eamonn Andrews in what turned out to be the Riverside Studios of the B.B.C. He held in his hand a well-known book, and he stepped out on the pavement, and when I was introduced said, 'Dr. Macdonald - This is Your Life.'

It was a memorable night for us, and we shall always appreciate the honour done to us.

For me, the most exciting feature was when Eamonn Andrews said,

'Do you remember a former patient of yours, who became a headmaster and is now a minister?'

I said,

'Yes, Daniel Umo.'

'Do you know why he was missing? I'll tell you, because he left Itu last Wednesday, and, since then, has been travelling over four thousand miles to London.'

Then I heard Daniel's voice off-stage, and he came in. What a thrill that was!

Daniel was the first leper, as far as I am aware, who ever showed his face on television. I once saw one or two, but they showed only their backs. Daniel said frankly,

'Yes, I was a leper. I shall never forget the misery, when I first saw the marks on my body. The very remembrance is fearful. A battle began to wage in me, a battle of life and death, whether to go for treatment, or end my miserable existence. I was taken to Itu, with dark thoughts of suicide, but instead of entering a place of death I found a new life. After four years of treatment, Dr. Macdonald read out my name on the list of the "symptom-free" - and I was cured. I then thought of his favourite psalm, "The Lord is my Shepherd", and I lifted my eyes to heaven and said, "Lord I thank Thee".'

During Daniel's appearance before the cameras the beautiful Scottish tune Crimond to which, traditionally, the 23rd psalm is sung, was played softly in the background. But although that experience was so full of the pleasures of recollection and the meeting of old friends, there were so many other things to be said and remembered that in this book I have been prompted to enlarge on what my life has brought to me.

Series 4 subjects

Jo Capka | Jimmy Edwards | Andrew Milbourne | Bella Burge | Tommy Steele | Ronald Shiner | James Edward Wood
Margaret Rowena Jones | John Griffiths | Freddy Bloom | Bransby Williams | Miriam Moses | Elsie Mullock | John Vidler
Florence Desmond | Noel Duckworth | Alfred Daniel Wintle | Ted Heath | Andrew Macdonald | Harriet Cohen
Willie Hall | Reginald Blanchford | Kenneth More | Hugh Llewelyn Glyn Hughes | Miriam Jowett | Ted Willis
Alfred Southon | Tiger Sarll | Mary Ward | Roy Gill | Stirling Moss | Ethel Goldsack | Tommy Trinder