How We Kept The Secret
TV Times
15 April 1992
TV Times: This Is Your Life article TV Times: This Is Your Life article
related pages...


Trying not to give the game away is a tricky task for the partners of Michael Aspel's This Is Your Life subjects and leads to embarrassing situations, as Andrea Kon reveals

When Michael Aspel confronts his 'victims' with that big red book and those awe-inspiring words: 'This is your life' every Wednesday, it's the moment when those nearest and dearest to the person in the spotlight can gasp with relief. For after months of secrecy and little white lies to cover inexplicable toings and froings, they can relax at last knowing they really did manage not to spill the beans.

But poor Debi Thomson, Tony Blackburn's fiancée, says she almost lost her man and gave the game away quite innocently – in her sleep!

'I have a habit of sleep-talking,' says Debi. 'Two nights before the show I had this awful nightmare that everything was going wrong and kept asking Michael Aspel if I could do it again. Next morning Tony demanded to know who Michael was and I went scarlet. Of course Tony put the wrong interpretation on my guilty looks.'

Lesley and Kevin Lloyd tell each other everything. Which is why, when Kevin – The Bill's Tosh Lines – was the subject of This Is Your Life, Lesley nearly gave the game away on day one.

'Mandy Nixon, daughter of the late David Nixon, was the researcher assigned to the job,' she explains. 'When Kevin came home that night, I almost said: "You'll never guess who I met today." I only just shut myself up in time.'

Paul Nicholas' appearance as the This Is Your Life subject was almost scuppered before it began, according to Linzi, wife of the star of Just Good Friends.

'Our son Oscar, who is 21, came home earlier than expected when Liz, the researcher for the programme, was interviewing me. He overheard part of the conversation and wondered what was going on. I spent the next evening ducking and diving out of Oscar's way until I was sure he'd forgotten about it.'

Enthusiastic TV cook Keith Floyd had only just met Shauna, now his wife, at the time the This Is Your Life team began working on his story, so the job of keeping the secret was up to his manager, John Miles.

'We quite genuinely were due to start filming a TV commercial for Ireland in Dublin on the Saturday that This Is Your Life was to be recorded,' says John. 'I told Keith that the work had been brought forward to Friday and I flew to Cork, where he lives, the night before. Keith insisted on meeting me at the airport and he was intent on getting me into all the local pubs to meet his chums.'

'I knew that I couldn't let him out of my sight so I had to go along with it. We didn't get back to his cottage until 3.30am! I couldn't tell him that it was crazy to have such a late night when he had to look good on TV the following day.'

Ruth Berglas, wife of TV magician David Berglas, says he still hasn't got over the fact that for the first time in their 35 years of marriage, she pulled a fast one on him. But she admits that tricking one of the Magic Circle's members wasn't easy.

'David works from home, so escaping to meet the researchers wasn't easy. Once I said I was going to help my cousin with a charity lunch. I couldn't say what was going on so I asked her to cover for me if David rang. She thought that I was having an affair!'