Andy STEWART (1933-1993)

Andy Stewart This Is Your Life

programme details...

  • Edition No: 422
  • Subject No: 419
  • Broadcast date: Wed 31 Dec 1975
  • Broadcast time: 7.00-7.30pm
  • Recorded: Sun 7 Dec 1975
  • Venue: Scottish Television, Glasgow
  • Series: 16
  • Edition: 8
  • Code name: Scottie

on the guest list...

  • Jimmy Blue
  • Kenneth McKellar
  • Sheila - wife
  • Alice - mother
  • Moira - sister
  • Melanie - daughter
  • Lynsey - daughter
  • Debbie - daughter
  • Andrew - son
  • Moira Anderson
  • Jimmy Shand
  • Dixie Ingram
  • Jack Milroy
  • Mary Lee
  • Callum Kennedy
  • Jimmy Logan
  • Bill Lamb
  • Ken Roberts
  • Colin Wylie
  • Jane Macnair
  • John Cairney
  • John Grieve
  • Renee Houston
  • Marilyn Fields
  • Max Kay
  • Tara - daughter
  • Filmed tribute:
  • Sister Woods

production team...

  • Researcher: Debbie Gaunt
  • Writers: Tom Brennand, Roy Bottomley
  • Director: Royston Mayoh
  • Executive Producer: Jack Andrews
  • Producer: Jack Crawshaw
  • names above in bold indicate subjects of This Is Your Life
related pages...

A Song For Life

it's the singer not the song

The Big Red Book

the programme's icon

Moira Anderson

Jimmy Logan

Andy Stewart This Is Your Life Andy Stewart This Is Your Life Andy Stewart This Is Your Life Andy Stewart This Is Your Life Andy Stewart This Is Your Life Andy Stewart This Is Your Life Andy Stewart This Is Your Life Andy Stewart This Is Your Life Andy Stewart This Is Your Life Andy Stewart This Is Your Life Andy Stewart This Is Your Life Andy Stewart This Is Your Life

Screenshots of Andy Stewart This Is Your Life

Surprise Of Your Life book

Presenter Eamonn Andrews and producer Jack Crawshaw recall this edition of This Is Your Life in their book, Surprise Of Your Life...

Andy's wee dram with the Drum Major was interrupted by a Royal Highland Fusilier who broke ranks and got away with it. For the Scottish Soldier himself, Andy Stewart... THIS IS YOUR LIFE

The inevitable tension on the way to that dramatic confrontation was broken momentarily by what, for me, is a memorable This Is Your Life bon mot.

At the wheel of the high-powered Volvo saloon whisking us through the night to the Glasgow studios of Scottish Television was Harry Tanswell, our regular driver, whose skill and calculated daring has helped us pull off many a pick-up.

In times of emergency Harry has even been known to persuade himself that a one way street sign had been planted by some practical joker. But if you asked me to give evidence in a police court I am afraid I would have to plead snow blindness.

If I didn't, Harry would almost certainly accuse me of being racially prejudiced. Because between you, me and the no entry sign, Tanswell the driver is Welsh.

But, as we drove along a road that borders the River Clyde, it was our Anglo friend Jack "Mr Producer" Crawshaw, who broke the uneasy silence that often falls as the three of us contemplate the potential problems ahead.

He posed the question: "Have you heard the one about the Englishman, Irishman and the Welshman?"

"No" I said, perhaps a little wearily.

"They went", said Jack, rather smugly, "to pick up a Scotsman."

I know that he wouldn't lay serious claim to it as being his wittiest ever remark but it did what I know it was meant to do – break the tension by giving us all a smile. And believe you me a strong sense of humour is an essential qualification for anybody involved in the game of planning operations like ours.

This one had begun in September 1975 while Andy was touring Canada, fighting against ill health in a relentless pursuit of a career that has made him a folk hero in tartan outposts as far apart as Calgary and Canberra.

First we contacted his wife Sheila, who told us that shortly after his return he would be topping the bill in his own Hogmanay Show in Glasgow. It seemed to be the perfect place in which to pay our tribute to him and we wasted no time in contacting STV executive Liam Hood, and the show's producer/director Clarke Tait.

Clarke told us that in Andy's show would be the pipes and drums of the Royal Highland Fusiliers. Not only would they provide a colourful and stirring start to our show, they would also give me the ideal cover to get into the studio without being spotted by the audience, or more importantly by Andy himself.

Having agreed on the pick-up, we then had to set about switching our entire operation to Scotland. We booked the team and guests in as a conference party at the Erskine Esso Hotel overlooking the River Clyde, a few miles outside Glasgow.

There was no way in which we could visit the STV studios on the day of the show because Andy, being the dedicated worker he is, planned to rehearse there right up to the minute his own show began. And that meant we would all be going into that same studio "blind".

To cut the risks down to a minimum we did a "rehearsal" of our own. While Andy was going through his paces at the television studio, his surprise guests were being told where they would stand and where they would sit in a simulated set at a "conference" in the executive suite 609 to 612 on the sixth floor of the riverside hotel.

The guests weren't the only ones who needed a pre-show briefing. If I was to join the Highland Fusiliers and look anything like convincing, I would need the benefit of more than a two minute chat.

As it happened I was given an hour's verbal square bashing from the band's Pipe Major, Eddie Frame, who had come over to the hotel the night before carrying a parcel in an unmarked brown wrapper.

Inside was the full dress uniform of his regiment. The genuine article complete with tartan hat and trews to match. He told me it was the biggest in stock but when I tried it on I was amazed to find that, though the sleeves needed shortening, it was a bit tight across the chest. Deceptive-looking characters these Scottish soldiers! Maybe it's just because they keep breathing out all the time they play those bagpipes.

In making the alterations we had also to remove some of the flashes so as not to break Army regulations ("Andrews E. you are hereby charged that on or about the 31st of December hitherto referred to as Hogmanay, you did wilfully attempt to impersonate an officer...")

Andy Stewart This Is Your Life: Eamonn Andrews

Only three people in the band knew the secret of their latest recruit, Pipe Major Frame, the Drum Major, and the bandsman with whom it had been agreed I would make the switch at the last moment.

What is even more remarkable, considering their brilliant achievements later, was that even the studio cameramen were not told about the surprise that was going to fill their lenses.

The moment of truth approached as I hid in a corridor beneath the red "on air" sign warning outside the studio door.

When I heard the band strike up I did a Harry and broke the sacred no entry rule. I rushed through the door and quickly swapped places with a bugler at the back of the ranks and just out of sight of the audience.

As the order came to march I clutched a bugle in one hand and the book, which was hidden under a specially made tartan wrap, in the other. We marched in formation up a flight of steps and on to the studio floor.

Even though I was in uniform I felt that all eyes were on me. They weren't of course, but you try convincing a chap whose life depended on his not being spotted, and having to time to the second the moment that Andy Stewart would do as his producer had asked him to, and step forward to offer the Drum Major a wee dram.

No one needed a wee dram more than I did when I handed the bugle and tartan cover to a fellow bandsman, held onto the big red book and broke ranks to hurry along Andy's blindside to interrupt the session.

Fortunately I eventually got one, out of a paper cup, after Andy had agreed to star in a second show. This time he was my guest of honour as I told his story right there and then to an audience of Scottish folk united in their regard for their beloved Andy Stewart.

This Is Your Life: Andy Stewart and Eamonn Andrews
Gus Smith biography of Eamonn Andrews

Gus Smith recalls this edition of This Is Your Life in his book, Eamonn Andrews His Life...

He assumed the role of a Royal Highland Fusilier to surprise Andy Stewart, the Scots singer.

He obviously derived a lot of fun out of breaking ranks - and getting away with it. 'As the order came to march,' he recalled, 'I clutched a bugle in one hand and the book, which was hidden under a specially made tartan wrap, in the other.'

'We marched in formation up a flight of steps and on to the studio floor.'

Series 16 subjects

Ronnie Dukes | Ray Milland | Mike Hailwood | Frank Windsor | Magnus Pyke | Bill Tidy | Gladys Mills | Andy Stewart
Windsor Davies | Ray Reardon | Patrick Mower | Alberto Remedios | Susan Masham | Betty Driver | Henry Davies
Gwen Berryman | Vince Hill | Arnold Ridley | Beryl Reid | Alan Mullery | Percy Thrower | Gareth Edwards
June Whitfield | Terry Fincher | Richard Dunn | Norman Croucher