Andrew MILBOURNE (1923-2009)

Andrew Milbourne This Is Your Life

programme details...

  • Edition No: 68
  • Subject No: 68
  • Broadcast live: Mon 13 Oct 1958
  • Broadcast time: 7.30-8.05pm
  • Venue: BBC Television Theatre
  • Series: 4
  • Edition: 3

on the guest list...

  • Taffy Brace
  • Rev Talbot Watkins
  • RSM John Lord
  • RSM Allan Watson
  • Mr Milbourne - father
  • Mrs Milbourne - mother
  • Bill Athey
  • Joan Harry
  • Peggy - wife
  • John Charlton
  • Bob Giles
  • Jenny Giles
  • Ronald - son
  • Tom Driberg
  • Franz Worel
  • Sgt A Small
  • Sgt E Cleverly
  • Pte T Hannan
  • band of the 2nd Battalion, Parachute Regiment

production team...

  • Researchers: Ken Smith, Bill Nolan
  • Writers: Ken Smith, Bill Nolan
  • Director: unknown
  • Producer: T Leslie Jackson
  • names above in bold indicate subjects of This Is Your Life
  • with thanks to the staff of the Fusiliers Museum of Northumberland for their contribution to this page
related pages...

Military Life

saluting the armed forces

John Lord

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

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

Daily Express article: Andrew Milbourne This Is Your Life

Daily Express 14 October 1958


(whether you like it or not)


AN ex-paratrooper who lost an eye and both hands at Arnhem was tricked by the BBC into last night's This Is Your Life programme – although he had refused to appear after being tipped off he was the next victim.

Before the show, Eamonn Andrews said that usually a show was cancelled if the person concerned found out.

But this, he said, was a story too good to miss and the man had been persuaded to come to London to make a film.

"We arranged a convincing display of cameramen, producers and technicians. He had been rehearsing all day and is now being made up for the film, convinced he is going to be interviewed by a famous journalist."

A hidden camera then showed Andrew Milbourne of Alnwick, Northumberland, being made up. A moment later he was called "to the set" and stepped unsuspectingly on to the stage.

The roll-call of glory

For a moment it seemed as though he would refuse. We saw the hooks which replace his hands meet and link.

But the slick machinery swept into action and he was in the victim's chair almost before he could collect himself.

Then came the roll-call of Arnhem – the padre, the R.A.M.C. orderly who rescued Milbourne under fire, the regimental sergeant-majors who were prisoners with him, even Franz Worel, flown from Bonn, who was a Panzer grenadier company commander fighting against the British at Arnhem.

And his parents, his wife, his young son – and three smart paratroopers of 1958 to present him with a plaque on behalf of the airborne forces.

It was a roll-call of glory salvaged from disaster – soiled only by the slightly sour taste of the trickery needed to bring it about.

'I was pretty angry'

LATER, Mr Milbourne said: "I was asked by the BBC to take part in a film about the use of artificial limbs. I said I would."

"Then last week a friend of mine said jokingly: 'Oh, if you are going down on Monday, they probably want you for This Is Your Life.'"

"I said: 'Oh, no, that's not for me,' and told the BBC I would not come."

Then on Friday a producer telephoned me and assured me that I was not to be on This Is Your Life.

"He said that if I did not come down the series would be a dud. So of course I said I would come."

"When I discovered what I was here for I was pretty angry, but I feel all right about it now."

Daily Herald article: Andrew Milbourne This Is Your Life

Daily Herald 15 October 1958

Wouldn't it be luvverly?


ONE day soon This Is Your Life will lay an egg. I'm sure of it.

This hope, dreamed about and planned, has sustained me through months of creepy-crawly, goose-pimply nausea served up by Mr Eamonn Andrews on Monday nights.

The egg will make it all worthwhile.

Imagine it. One of the programme researchers, grinning through joy at the sweetness of life, will stumble into the dark catacombs of malice that underlie human affairs.

Nobody will warn him. He will be introduced to a polite and eager friend of the Eminent and Lovable Celebrity.

The friend, licking his lips with hateful relish, will play along, tell anecdotes, express passionate respect for the Wonderful Man Who Is With Us Tonight.

Then will come the night. The Helping Hand in Need will be standing there, covered in studio lights, compliments and embarrassment, smiling fit to burst. And through the curtains will come the friend.

He will say: "Remember Harry?" Of course I remember Harry. A rat. A lousy, slimy rat.

"This man stole my wife and then sent me her laundry bills. He has deserted his children and his mother has recently died of malnutrition."

"He has mauled his way to success with the savagery of a wart hog and has broken more lives than the public executioner."

"He is an evil man and I hate him."


He will then spit on the floor and go away.

Won't it be lovely? Won't it make it all worth while?

It would even atone for a particularly odious edition of the programme put out by the BBC on Monday night.

The man in the mug seat was Mr Andrew Milbourne, an ex-paratrooper, who lost an eye and both hands at Arnhem.

Mr Milbourne somehow got the hint that he was being sized up for the programme and reacted accordingly. He said: "Not on your life."

The BBC went ahead. They told Mr Milbourne to turn up at the studio to make a charity film. They said that if he didn't turn up he would be letting down the charity.


So Mr Milbourne appeared. And was promptly and mercilessly immersed in Mr Andrews' high-smelling brew of treacle, tears and trickery.

This was an act of deliberate deceit – a cynical intrusion into the private life of an intelligent and obviously sensitive man.

The BBC is a respectable institution and figures things out in a respectable way. This great stomach-pump of a programme is based on the sound proposition that when in difficulties an Englishman behaves like a gentleman.

It has worked so far.

But the egg is sure to come.

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