Bobby CHARLTON OBE (1937-2023)

Bobby Charlton This Is Your Life

programme details...

  • Edition No: 258
  • Subject No: 258
  • Broadcast live: Wed 26 Nov 1969
  • Broadcast time: 7.00-7.30pm
  • Venue: The Sportsman's Club, London
  • Series: 10
  • Edition: 2

on the guest list...

  • Matt Busby
  • Norman McGuinness
  • Bob - father
  • Cissie - mother
  • Joe Armstrong
  • Tommy - brother
  • Gordon - brother
  • unnamed family doctor
  • Norma - wife
  • George Best
  • Shay Brennan
  • Alex Stepney
  • Tony Dunne
  • Bill Foulkes
  • Pat Crerand
  • David Sadler
  • Brian Kidd
  • Johnny Aston
  • Jimmy Murphy
  • Wilf McGuinness
  • Filmed tributes:
  • Jackie Milburn
  • Jackie Charlton - brother
  • Eusebio ds Silva Ferreira

production team...

  • Researchers: Jack Crawshaw, John Stapleton, Mary McAnally
  • Writers: Tom Brennand, Roy Bottomley
  • Director: Margery Baker
  • Producer: Robert Tyrrell
  • names above in bold indicate subjects of This Is Your Life
related pages...

Match of the Day

tackling football's top names

The Theatre of Dreams

Manchester United's finest

Family Life

keeping it in the family

The Big Red Book

the programme's icon

Michael Aspel

a career review

Producing Life

the producers who steered the programme's success

The secret life of Eamonn Andrews

Weekend Magazine feature on the show's popularity

Matt Busby

George Best

Jackie Charlton

Jackie Milburn

Bobby Charlton This Is Your Life Bobby Charlton This Is Your Life Bobby Charlton This Is Your Life Bobby Charlton This Is Your Life Bobby Charlton This Is Your Life Bobby Charlton This Is Your Life Bobby Charlton This Is Your Life Bobby Charlton This Is Your Life Bobby Charlton This Is Your Life Bobby Charlton This Is Your Life Bobby Charlton This Is Your Life Bobby Charlton This Is Your Life

Photographs and screenshots of Bobby Charlton This Is Your Life

Bobby Charlton My Life in Football

Bobby Charlton recalls his experience of This Is Your Life in his book, My Life in Football...

I thought I was in London for the opening of the Sportsman's Club one evening in November 1969 when I became the latest victim of Eamonn Andrews brandishing a distinctive red book for the television programme This Is Your Life.

The other players were off to Blackpool for training and I was fed up because I was going to miss out on the trip to the Norbreck Hydro, one which I always enjoyed, instead having to head south along with Sir Matt Busby. As it turned out the lads weren't going to Blackpool at all, and they popped out to greet me after Eamonn had sprung his surprise.

I was pretty dumbfounded at first, then a little embarrassed at being the sole centre of attention, but it was wonderful to see so many people who were close to me, including my younger brothers Tom and Gordon.

Of course, Norma was there, too, and she had known about it all along without giving me the faintest clue.

In the end I did enjoy it, though I have to admit I would rather have been playing football.

Bobby Charlton This Is Your Life

Bobby Charlton 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...

Viewing figures prove that people never tire of stories of sporting achievement, particularly when someone wins against all the odds.

Opening the programme with soccer, Manchester United's Bobby Charlton was celebrating being Player of the Year, European Footballer of the Year, and receiving an OBE for services to the game when we surprised him at London's Sportsman's Club on 26 November 1969 – just three years after he had won a World Cup Winners' medal with an England team captained by Bobby Moore, whom we surprised a couple of years later. The programme, broadcast live from the club, was the second of Thames Television's Life transmissions.

Bobby had had a miraculous escape in the Munich air disaster twelve years before, escaping with hardly a scratch. He had just established a regular first team place and Sir Matt Busby said it must have taken 'a terrific effort of will' to go back on the field at Old Trafford 'with just about every familiar face now missing'.

In April 1958, two months after Munich, Bobby pulled on an England shirt for the first time and scored from a cross from legendary winger Tom Finney, also a Life subject.

Soccer ran in the Charlton family – his mother's cousin was Newcastle United and England star Jackie Milburn (who was himself surprised with the Big Red Book at the studios of Tyne Tees Television in Newcastle).

By the time we surprised Bobby's big brother, Jackie, Leeds United and England centre half, on 13 April 1973, they had become the first brothers to play together in an England side since Nottingham Forest's Frank and Fred Foreman back in 1899.

In 1967 Jackie had been voted Footballer of the Year, taking the title from Bobby. Leeds and Scotland star Billy Bremner said the only reason he got the Leeds captaincy was that Big Jack did not want to lead the team on to the pitch. He had a superstition that if he came out last he would play better.

Series 10 subjects

Des O'Connor | Bobby Charlton | Harry Driver | Twiggy | Honor Blackman | The Beverley Sisters | John Fairfax | Henry Cooper
Jackie Stewart | Jimmy Savile | Arthur Dooley | Wendy Craig | Tony Jacklin | Charlie Cairoli | Richard Evans | Alfie Bass
Jack Good | Joe Mercer | Ronnie Corbett | Colin Milburn | Frankie Vaughan | Lorna Ridgway | Val Doonican
Johnny Speight | Reg Varney | Harold French