Bill WADDINGTON (1916-2000)

Bill Waddington This Is Your Life

programme details...

  • Edition No: 705
  • Subject No: 700
  • Broadcast date: Wed 15 Oct 1986
  • Broadcast time: 7.00-7.30pm
  • Recorded: Wed 17 Sep 1986
  • Venue: Teddington Studios
  • Series: 27
  • Edition: 1
  • Code name: Game

on the guest list...

  • Joe Loss
  • Jill Summers
  • Tom Mennard
  • Thelma Barlow
  • Sue Nicholls
  • Helen Worth
  • Elizabeth Dawn
  • Nigel Pivaro
  • Michael Le Vell
  • Kevin Kennedy
  • Mark Eden
  • Sue Jenkins
  • Helene Palmer
  • Sean Wilson
  • Sally Whittaker
  • Sally Ann Matthews
  • Wendy Jane Walker
  • Bill Podmore
  • William Roache
  • Denise - daughter
  • Barbara - daughter
  • Stephen - son-in-law
  • Connie - sister
  • John Ingram
  • Charlie Chester
  • Walter Parker - cousin
  • Brian Clegg
  • John Allan
  • Rosalind Drury
  • Alex Denman
  • John Curtis
  • Filmed tribute:
  • Frankie Laine

production team...

  • Researcher: David N Mason
  • Writer: Roy Bottomley
  • Directors: Terry Yarwood, Michael D Kent
  • Associate Producer: Brian Klein
  • Producer: Malcolm Morris
  • names above in bold indicate subjects of This Is Your Life
related pages...

Street Life

from Elsie Tanner to Eddie Yates

The Story of This Is Your Life

a BBC Did You See...? special


the show's fifty year history

Did You See...?

Press reviews of the BBC's Did You See...? special on This Is Your Life

Thelma Barlow

Charlie Chester

Elizabeth Dawn

Sue Jenkins

Joe Loss

William Roache

Bill Waddington This Is Your Life Bill Waddington This Is Your Life Bill Waddington This Is Your Life Bill Waddington This Is Your Life Bill Waddington This Is Your Life Bill Waddington This Is Your Life Bill Waddington This Is Your Life Bill Waddington This Is Your Life Bill Waddington This Is Your Life Bill Waddington This Is Your Life Bill Waddington This Is Your Life Bill Waddington This Is Your Life

Screenshots of Bill Waddington This Is 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...

Behind the cantankerous character of Percy Sugden is a life of laughs. Actor Bill Waddington, like Betty Driver, had lived a full 'other life' before Coronation Street: he was a stand-up comedian of the old school.

Joe Loss and his Orchestra were the first surprise as he stepped off the train from Manchester one afternoon in September of 1986. 'Prickly' Percy could not believe his eyes, because he had shared many a variety bill with Joe Loss back in those immediate post-war years when variety was still packing them in.

Joe reminded Bill how the young comedian had actually got a few reluctant laughs when they played that 'graveyard' of English comedians, the Glasgow Empire. Joe had joshed, 'You were so good I reckon tomorrow night you could risk losing the Glasgow accent.'

The story Percy Sugden had been keeping under that famous flat cap started in Oldham, where he was born at the Clarence Hotel – his parents were the publicans – and started to learn violin at an early age. His sister, Connie, told everybody he was so bad even his pet dog put its paws over its ears. So he took up the ukulele.

This proved the chance to succeed for Bill. Called up during the war, he was taken up by army concert parties. He was in 'Stars in Battledress' at the Normandy landings in 1944, made his radio debut in Ack-Ack, Beer-Beer, and became a stand-up comic immediately after the war.

He had shared variety bills with the best, including Frankie Laine, who greeted him from San Diego.

Oh, yes, and someone else. Back in the early Fifties, when he was billed at Manchester's Hulme Hippodrome as 'Witty Willie' he used to do a sketch with a certain comedienne.

Her name was Jill Summers – now his 'love interest' as Phyllis in Coronation Street.

The only sadness was that his wife of forty years, Lillian, a former singer and dancer, had died, so could not share his night.

Series 27 subjects

Bill Waddington | Robert Foote | Carl Davis | Gorden Kaye | Teddy Johnson and Pearl Carr | Monty Fresco | Joe Johnson
Susan George | Bill Ward | Rachel Kempson | Gary Wilmot | Cliff Michelmore and Jean Metcalfe | Liz Hobbs | Jack Berg
Derek Scott | Patricia Hodge | Harry Friend | Norman Wisdom | Denis Compton | Christopher Cazenove | Dudley Moore
Terry Marsh | David Jacobs | William Rushton | Gabrielle Drake