How Eamonn carved a life from insecure beginnings
The Stage
15 March 1990
The Stage: Eamonn Andrews article
related pages...

Eamonn Andrews

a brief biography

The Legend That Was Eamonn Andrews

a celebration to mark the presenter's centenary year

Joe Loss

BOOKS: For Ever and Ever, Eamonn, by Eamonn and Grainne Andrews (Grafton Books, £12.95)

A COUPLE of years ago, Tom Brennand, who worked for many years with Eamonn Andrews on his television shows, wrote a biography which was condemned for its cruelty, making out Andrews to be an insecure and ignorant man whose benign public façade covered up numerous personal and professional faults.

Considering that his book was largely written by Andrews himself, and completed by his widow, who sadly died herself a year ago, one would not expect they and Brennand to be in much agreement. Yet it is a different kind of book, for Eamonn Andrews deals with his life as a whole, from which it becomes evident that he was essentially insecure, regretting his shortcomings in education but driving himself forward to his ambition.

Things certainly did not fall in his lap. He tried unsuccessfully to write plays, to become an actor and a championship boxer. He was a generally incompetent insurance clerk. He more or less wangled his way into broadcasting and journalism. But he is the shining example of the saying "It's not what you do or what talent you have but how you go about it".

In short, once he did get into radio he made himself one of its greatest professionals. He even made himself a stage personality, taking his radio quiz Double or Nothing into Dublin's huge Theatre Royal, where it was part of the regular film and stage programme, and then being brought over to England by Joe Loss.

It was hardly surprising that Brennand found him difficult to work with at times, for the fact that he spread himself too thin, commuting to Ireland every week, bringing up a family, writing columns for the English and Irish press, including the Catholic Herald, and running his own Irish theatrical and recording empire, as well as hosting some of the most popular television shows ever seen in this country.

With a naturally retiring personality like his, the strain must have been intense and there seems little doubt that the collapse of his Irish enterprises hastened his death.

Peter Hepple