Ann RACHLIN MBE (1933-)

Ann Rachlin This Is Your Life

programme details...

  • Edition No: 942
  • Subject No: 918
  • Broadcast date: Wed 31 Jan 1996
  • Broadcast time: 7.00-7.30pm
  • Recorded: Sun 21 Jan 1996
  • Repeated: Thu 1 Feb 1996 2.35pm
  • Venue: Savoy Theatre
  • Series: 36
  • Edition: 22
  • Code name: Gala

on the guest list...

  • Evelyn Glennie
  • Rabbi Hugo Gryn
  • Max Ziff - son
  • Jill Freud
  • Barbara Bowler
  • Iain Kerr
  • Joanna David
  • Emilia Fox
  • Lord Robert Runcie
  • Jessica Rees
  • Claus Bang
  • Paul Whittaker
  • Joy Chance
  • Jeremy Robinow
  • members of the Beethoven Fund for the Deaf
  • Filmed tributes:
  • Yehudi Menuhin
  • Georg Solti
  • Trisha Ziff - daughter
  • Julio Meyer - grandson
  • Naomi Benari

production team...

  • Researcher: Clare de Vries
  • Writer: Maurice Leonard
  • Director: Brian Klein
  • Associate Producer: John Graham
  • Executive Producer: Peter Estall
  • Producer: Malcolm Morris
  • names above in bold indicate subjects of This Is Your Life
related pages...

A Charitable Life

the unsung heroes

The Night of 1000 Lives

a celebration of a thousand editions

Evelyn Glennie

Georg Solti


Ann Rachlin recalls her experience of This Is Your Life in an exclusive interview recorded in December 2011

Ann Rachlin This Is Your Life Ann Rachlin This Is Your Life Ann Rachlin This Is Your Life Ann Rachlin This Is Your Life Ann Rachlin This Is Your Life Ann Rachlin This Is Your Life Ann Rachlin This Is Your Life Ann Rachlin This Is Your Life Ann Rachlin This Is Your Life Ann Rachlin This Is Your Life Ann Rachlin This Is Your Life Ann Rachlin This Is Your Life Ann Rachlin This Is Your Life

Screenshots of Ann Rachlin This Is Your Life - and Ann Rachlin photographed at her home with her big red book in December 2011

Gillian Best - a friend of Ann Rachlin and the former business partner of broadcaster Bernard Braden - recalls this edition of This Is Your Life in this exclusive contribution to the BigRedBook website...

In 1996 on the first anniversary of her husband Ezra's death, Ann decided that rather than sit at home and mourn, she would celebrate his life as a distinguished conductor, pianist and photographer. A glittering black-tie event called "Music is Where I Live" - for the benefit of The Beethoven Fund for Deaf Children - was staged at the Savoy Theatre on the 21st January, 1996 in the presence of Queen Anne-Marie of Greece. Some of the most eminent musicians and actors in the world – Anne-Sophie Mutter, André Previn, Sir Georg Solti, Lorin Maazel, and Yehudi Menhuin all recorded tributes to both Ann and Ezra and the star of the evening on stage was Evelyn Glennie.

Ann's friend, Iain Kerr recommended to Ann that I could help produce the event, and I was only too happy to oblige.

Early on in the pre-production, Iain took me to one side and suggested that the 'icing on the cake' would be if Ann could be the subject of the Big Red Book. I had met (the programme's producer) Malcolm Morris at parties with the Bradens and got in touch with him, pointing out that This is Your Life was being criticised for being a bit stale and that a prestigious evening with so worthy a cause might be appropriate. It was all agreed, and the programme was to be recorded at the Savoy after "Music is Where I Live".

To keep Ann 'in the dark', Iain had to go through a series of contortions, fielding mysterious phone calls from the researcher, even resorting to hiding in a wardrobe with his mobile phone! The problem I had on the day was explaining away an entire five camera outside broadcast unit and teams of technicians rigging the theatre for television, quite apart from my technical lighting, sound and set crew who were setting up for the live show. It was a real dilemma, so when Ann arrived and saw this seething mass of activity, I lied outright by reminding Ann that she'd asked me to arrange for the show to be recorded and I'd called in a favour.

The only other intervention I made was when I heard Ann telling the sound director that when the cast had come on and taken their bows, and they all turned to look at the screen and applaud the projected image of Ezra, he should play Ezra's orchestral recording of "Romeo and Juliet." When Ann moved on, I took the sound director to one side and said there would be no music. He looked aghast at this conflicting instruction and was torn about what to do. So I explained that this was the moment when Michael Aspel was going to come out on stage and surprise Ann, and I wanted that memorable audible audience gasp of surprise to be heard when they recognised him with the Big Red Book, which of course wouldn't be heard over Ezra's glorious music.

The rest as they say is history. It was a wonderful evening, and we got that huge delighted gasp from the audience. The only person who didn't know was Ann who mock-complained to Michael that she thought she was in charge, but was the only person who didn't know about this wonderful surprise.

Gillian Best – January 2012

Series 36 subjects

Rolf Harris | Lisa Clayton | Pam St Clement | Allan Norman | Alicia Markova | Tony Warren | Johnny Cooper | Clive Mantle
Charlie Drake | Stan Boardman | Frank Skinner | Desmond Llewelyn | Brian Conley | David Kennett | David Essex | David Croft
Bob and Dolores Hope | John Virgo | Rula Lenska | Gavin Hastings | John Peel | Ann Rachlin | Michael Buerk | Chili Bouchier
Benny Green | Sue Barker | Petula Clark