This Is Your Life
Radio Times
1 November 1962
Radio Times: This Is Your Life article Radio Times: This Is Your Life article
Edition one - with Eamonn as the guest
Radio Times: This Is Your Life article
Tonight he introduces edition 200
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To mark the 200th edition some celebrities recall their feelings at hearing Eamonn Andrews say...


Have you ever wondered how you would feel if you found yourself on the stage of the Television Theatre, face to face with Eamonn Andrews as he told your story to the watching millions? Here's how it felt to a few of the many celebrities who have appeared as 'subjects' of This Is Your Life – which tonight reaches its 200th edition.

Recalls bandleader Ted Heath: 'I was so nervous that I didn't even recognise my wife's voice when I heard it over the loudspeaker. I asked Eamonn: "Who's that?"' And Jack (chinstrap) Train: 'I was never more frightened in my life. I remember whispering to Eamonn on the way up to the stage: "If I'd known about this, I'd have gone to the pictures!"'

From scriptwriter T E B Clarke, author of many Ealing film comedies, comes a characteristic reaction: 'References to the only racehorse I ever owned made me nervous in case he was led on to the stage. The horse never liked me, and I was scared to go near him...'

As for Richard Hearne: 'I don't remember very much of the first five minutes. I had a sort of numb feeling, and the stage felt as though it were made of carpet three feet deep. All through the programme I wanted to tip off Eamonn that I would like my wife to know this was going on so she could look in. I had no idea she had known all about it for weeks past – as, of course, had the rest of the family.'

The same thought occurred to Richard Todd: 'I wished I could phone my wife and let her know where I was and what was happening. Much to my surprise she eventually appeared on the stage. I must say all one's apprehension and embarrassment at the thought of being caught on such an occasion is quickly forgotten and forgiven when the thing actually happens... it's always touching and heartwarming to meet old friends and recall old times.'

For Freddie Mills, one such recollection was particularly vivid as Gus Lesnevich, twice his opponent in the ring, confronted him on the stage. Says Freddie: 'When he walked out my jaw ached all over again!'

Many of the subjects find that the aftermath of their appearance – the greetings from strangers in the street, the letters from long lost friends – is as memorable as the programme itself.

But the most spectacular sequel must surely be the experience of Sergeant Major Lord of the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst. 'During the programme, a Grenadier with whom I served in Egypt recalled the day when I turned out on guard with my pipe in my mouth, and was inspected and dismissed without this terrible sin being spotted. The morning after This Is Your Life, I had the whole of the Senior Division at Sandhurst on parade.'

'When I dismissed them, the 200 Seniors turned to the right, saluted the Adjutant – and then, as they stepped off, every single man placed a pipe in his mouth!'