Barry SHEENE MBE (1950-2003)

Barry Sheene This Is Your Life

programme details...

  • Edition No: 477
  • Subject No: 475
  • Broadcast date: Wed 25 Jan 1978
  • Broadcast time: 7.00-7.30pm
  • Recorded: Wed 11 Jan 1978
  • Venue: Euston Road Studios
  • Series: 18
  • Edition: 10
  • Code name: Gloss

on the guest list...

  • Stephanie McLean - partner
  • Frank - father
  • Iris - mother
  • Margaret Smart - sister
  • Paul Smart - brother-in-law
  • Francesc Bulto
  • James McMillan
  • Tommy Robb
  • John Lindsay
  • George Butcher
  • Les Edwards
  • Pat Hornblow
  • Rex White
  • Don Mackay
  • Mike Hailwood
  • Mick Grant
  • Stanley Woods
  • John Newbold
  • Ron Haslam
  • Steve Parrish
  • Roger Marshall
  • George Harrison
  • Dr Budd Neviaser
  • Giacomo Agostini

production team...

  • Researcher: John Viner
  • Writers: Tom Brennand, Roy Bottomley
  • Directors: Royston Mayoh, Terry Yarwood
  • Producer: Jack Crawshaw
  • names above in bold indicate subjects of This Is Your Life
related pages...

Life at Full Throttle

the lovers of speed

Mike Hailwood

Barry Sheene This Is Your Life Barry Sheene This Is Your Life Barry Sheene This Is Your Life Barry Sheene This Is Your Life Barry Sheene This Is Your Life Barry Sheene This Is Your Life Barry Sheene This Is Your Life Barry Sheene This Is Your Life Barry Sheene This Is Your Life Barry Sheene This Is Your Life Barry Sheene This Is Your Life Barry Sheene This Is Your Life

Screenshots of Barry Sheene This Is Your Life

Barry Sheene's biography

Stuart Barker recalls this edition of This Is Your Life in his book, Barry Sheene The Biography...

Soon afterwards, on 25 January 1979, Barry received further public acclaim when he was chosen as the subject of the hugely popular TV show This Is Your Life, which was then being hosted by Eamonn Andrews. Sheene, who had always thought the subjects of the show knew about it in advance, was genuinely surprised when Andrews, the famous big red book in hand, walked into an interview Sheene was doing at a bike show in London. The show was watched by a massive TV audience of 19.35 million. It might have run out of steam in recent years, but in the seventies This Is Your Life was generally the domain of major household names. It was indisputably another unique coup for a motorcycle racer.

Sheene brought up the subject of his schooldays again in 1978 when he appeared on the Parkinson show. Speaking of one teacher whom he had particularly disliked (he diplomatically stopped short of naming him) he said, "I was caught for This Is Your Life the other night. I thought, 'I hope they don't bring that teacher on because it would be the first punch-in.' I feel bitter about it. I think it is one of the things that's driven me on, because in the back of my mind there's always this guy saying you will never make anything of your life."

Roy Bottomley This Is Your Life book

Scriptwriter Roy Bottomley recalls this edition of This Is Your Life in his book, This Is Your Life: The Story of Television's Famous Big Red Book...

If there is a more testing moment in sport than pulling on the boxing gloves, then it must be putting on the crash-helmet in motor sport.

It is generally agreed the world's most dangerous sport is motorcycle racing. Barry Sheene was the master, world champion not once but twice in a death-defying sport which we illustrated with a piece of film at an exhibition of racing motorcycles in London.

Viewers saw Barry racing at 180 mph and surviving a crash at that speed at Daytona, Florida. Then Eamonn Andrews crashed through the screen on which the film was being shown – with the Big Red Book. It was 11 January 1978, and Barry had just been awarded an MBE.

Barry Sheene This Is Your Life

In that Daytona crash he had sustained a broken thigh, wrist, forearm, collar bone, six broken ribs and compression fractures of the vertebrae. Seven weeks later, he was racing again. One of the all-time greats, Giacomo Agostini, came to tell us that when he witnessed the crash he had thought Barry Sheene was dead.

Barry Sheene This Is Your Life

One of Barry's greatest fans joined us to celebrate the fact that the great motorcycle racer, whose father Frank had tuned motor-racing machines in Italy, was still alive: ex-Beatle George Harrison, making a rare TV appearance.

And a further reference from the same book...

Rhyming slang had eluded the Dublin-based Eamonn Andrews, and the night we did the Life of motorcycle world champion Barry Sheene, it showed.

Former Beatle George Harrison came along to say he was a keen fan, but until he met the amazing speed merchant he had thought he was a bit of a 'Midland banker'.

The audience stifled chuckles, as did the crew. Eamonn carried on regardless, and afterwards wanted to know why it had never appeared in any of the research that George had once worked for the Midland.

Series 18 subjects

Richard Beckinsale | Peter Ustinov | Virginia Wade | Robert Arnott | Lin Berwick | Bob Paisley | The Bachelors | David Broome
Arthur English | Barry Sheene | Margot Turner | Pat Coombs | Michael Croft | Max Boyce | Nicholas Parsons | Richard Goolden
Ian Hendry | Marti Caine | Ian Wallace | Dennis Waterman | Anton Dolin | Terry Wogan | William Franklyn | Richard Murdoch
Harry Patterson | Jule Styne | Mike Yarwood