Who's the real burger then?
TV Times
7 May 1990
TV Times: This Is Your Life article
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Who's the real burger then?

Behind the frontlines of TV, 'This Is You Life' teams are using cryptic codes in their secret war to stay top of the ratings. Who is the mysterious 'burger'? Could it be Jonathan Ross, Trevor McDonald or David Hasselhoff? Now here's your chance to break the codes...

Since the next guest on This Is Your Life is always one of the best-kept secrets on television, you can't blame the staff for dabbling in a little bit of harmless espionage, can you?

For 21 years, they have gone to such lengths to make every programme a real surprise that they have invented code-names for the show's 'victims'.

This hush-hush information has fallen into the hands of TV Times, so here's your chance to break the codes. We give you the secret celebrity word – you work out who it refers to. Pick a, b or c in each case. Remember to cover up the answers, below right, before you start!


a) Su Pollard, because she has 100 pairs of them

b) Oliver Reed, who likes a drink or several

c) Ronnie Corbett, who fiddles with them


a) Eddie Large, who's potato shaped

b) David Emanuel, dress designer to the rich and famous

c) Phil Collins – referring to his hit album No Jacket required


a) Clint Eastwood, the man without one in his spaghetti westerns

b) Engelbert Humperdinck, because he changed his name

c) Pop singer Fish, because he's got a silly one


a) Mickey Rooney, star of the ancient Andy Hardy film series

b) The Duke of York, known to like the informal approach

c) Nick Faldo, a master of the famous St Andrew's golf course


a) Freddie Mercury, lead singer of the group of that name

b) Prince, American pop superstar

c) Esther Rantzen, after her initials E.R.


a) Jerry Hall, who gets so much exposure

b) Denis Healey, whose hobby is photography

c) David Hemmings, star of Blow Up


a) Rod Stewart, lead singer of The Faces

b) Twiggy, the face of the Sixties

c) Cliff Morgan – or rather Cliff Face


a) Robert Maxwell – coffee, perhaps?

b) The Duke of Westminster, who's got hundreds of them

c) Russ Abbot, since he's mad about one


a) George Cole, everyone's favourite second-hand car dealer

b) Nigel Mansell, British racing-driver

c) Bruce Forsyth, because he walks as if he's on wheels


a) Jean Boht, star of the sitcom Bread

b) Meat Leaf, pound for pound the best in rock

c) Debbie Greenwood, rising star


a) Henry Mancini, of the Pink Panther theme

b) Mick Hucknall, of pop group Simply Red

c) Barbara Cartland, gooey novelist who goes for anything pink


a) Jonathan Ross, who loves them

b) Trevor McDonald, newscaster, after the fast-food chain

c) David Hasselhoff, Baywatch beefcake


a) Peter Cushing, for his role as the famous Baron Frankenstein

b) Eric Idle, a star of the movie The Adventures of Baron Munchhausen

c) Penelope Keith, of To the Manor Born


a) Bob Hope, co-star of the Road film series with Bing Crosby

b) Dora Bryan, as Dora is an anagram of road

c) Sir Harry Secombe, of Highway


a) Politician Sir Cyril Smith, advertiser of credit cards

b) Sir Alastair Burnet, who has 'access' to the Royals

c) Alan Whicker, fan of Barclaycard


a) Jim Davidson, as he's likely to explode

b) Stephanie Beacham, linking her to the famous powders

c) Barbara Daly, the make-up artist


a) Freddie Starr, who growls a lot

b) Eartha Kitt, who does an impression of one

c) David Shepherd, from his tiger painting


a) Jasper Carrott, because of his Sun jokes

b) William Shatner (Captain Kirk) of 'Beam me up, Scottie' fame

c) Dennis Waterman, who calls people 'Sunbeam' all the time


a) Coronation Street's Liz Dawn, using the opposite of her surname

b) David Frost, who always says 'Good evening' to viewers

c) Nightclub owner Peter Stringfellow, as he's a real night owl


1a, 2c, 3b, 4a, 5c, 6b, 7c, 8a, 9b, 10a, 11c, 12b, 13a, 14c, 15a, 16b, 17c, 18b, 19a

How do you rate?

More than 13: Struth, what a sleuth! Even the tightest secret isn't safe from you. You're the sort who could read a John Le Carre novel – and understand it

7-13: Code do better! But not bad. You know your stars, you know your TV – perhaps all you need is a bit more imagination

Less than 7: Oh dear! Embarrassing, isn't it? Never mind, you are bound to be enjoying yourself on that desert island of yours.