Arthur ASKEY (1900-1982)

Arthur Askey This Is Your Life

programme details...

  • Edition No: 116
  • Subject No: 116
  • Broadcast date: Mon 28 Dec 1959
  • Broadcast time: 7.30-8.05pm
  • Recorded: Mon 7 Sep 1959 7.30pm
  • Venue: BBC Television Theatre
  • Series: 5
  • Edition: 18

on the guest list...

  • Arthur Bowden - uncle
  • Richard Murdoch - live link
  • Vanessa Lee
  • Ben Crompton
  • May - wife
  • Billy Bird
  • Arthur Pinder
  • Tommy Trinder
  • Joe Mears
  • Betty Mears
  • Rene - sister
  • Filmed tributes:
  • Anthea - daughter
  • Dickie Valentine

production team...

  • Researchers: Ken Smith, Ronald Vivian
  • Writers: Ken Smith, Ronald Vivian
  • Director: unknown
  • Producer: T Leslie Jackson
  • names above in bold indicate subjects of This Is Your Life
related pages...

Arthur Askey

second tribute

It's a Funny Old Life

it's all about the comedy

Life Second Time Around

surprised again!

Tommy Trinder

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Photographs of Arthur Askey This Is Your Life

Arthur Askey's autobiography

Arthur Askey recalls his experience of This Is Your Life in his autobiography, Before Your Very Eyes...

In the autumn, I was very busy with television, which was now becoming more and more popular. One successful programme was This Is Your Life, which I thought was an embarrassing show and swore they'd never catch me for. But they did.

I was coming out of a TV rehearsal (for the commercial channel) with Brian Tesler and MacDonald Hobley when we noticed a BBC van at the bottom of the steps. Mac Hobley said, 'What's a BBC van doing here?' Then out stepped Eamonn Andrews with the book and the well-known death knell: 'Arthur Askey – this is your life.'

I was then bundled into a car and on the way to Shepherd's Bush I tried to put up a mild resistance, but Eamonn said, 'Don't let us down, we've got all sorts of relatives and friends there and a packed audience in the studio,' I said, 'Well, one relative you won't have is my little wife,' but he said, 'You're wrong, she's there all right.' Which just shows Eamonn's powers of persuasion, for if anyone ever shunned the limelight, it was my May. [ editor: Arthur was actually surprised outside the BBC Television Theatre]

The programme followed its usual pattern and I reacted with great surprise as each old acquaintance or relative was introduced. I had to over-act when one fellow from Liverpool 'who had been my best friend' came on and I had, and still have, no idea who he was!

Anthea appeared on film as she was very pregnant, as did Dickie Murdoch (not pregnant, I hasten to add). May surprised me with the ease and humour she displayed, and Rene came on at the end dressed like me. Poor girl, she's so like me, she has to stay indoors when I'm playing Dame in pantomime!

Series 5 subjects

Evelyn Laye | Donald Caskie | Eva Turner | Billy Butlin | James Slater | Edmund Arbuthnott | Louis Langford | O P Jones
Richard Hearne | Francoise Rigby | John Barclay | Thomas Drake | William Merrilees | John Lord | Russ Conway | Stanley Bishop
Leonard Stanmore | Arthur Askey | Robert Oldfield | Alicia Markova | Frederic Morena | Hilda Rowcliffe | Thomas Salmon
Harry Welchman | Harry Webb | Nat Gonella | David Barclay | Richard Todd | Thomas Bodkin | Gracie Fields | Michael Ansell