Christopher BIGGINS (1948-)

Christopher Biggins This Is Your Life

programme details...

  • Edition No: 1017
  • Subject No: 992
  • Broadcast date: Mon 4 Jan 1999
  • Broadcast time: 7.00-7.30pm
  • Recorded: Mon 21 Dec 1998
  • Venue: Teddington Studios
  • Series: 39
  • Edition: 18
  • Code name: Radio

on the guest list...

  • Neil Sinclair
  • Jonathan Altaras
  • Barry Burnett
  • Nichola McAuliffe
  • Aimi MacDonald
  • Gillian Taylforth
  • Anthony Andrews
  • Georgina Andrews
  • Bill - father
  • Pamela - mother
  • Sean - brother
  • John Brown
  • Lynda Bellingham
  • David Wood
  • Julie Dawn Cole
  • Angharad Rees
  • Paula Wilcox
  • Bonnie Langford
  • Louise - sister-in-law
  • Alice - niece
  • Jack - nephew
  • Barbara Windsor
  • Filmed tributes:
  • Cilla Black
  • Cameron Mackintosh
  • Sian Phillips
  • Bea Arthur
  • Joan Collins

production team...

  • Researchers: Emma Dooley, Steven Lappin, Ruth Malone
  • Writer: Ian Brown
  • Directors: Wendy J Dyer, Steve Docherty
  • Associate Producer: Helen Gordon-Smith
  • Executive Producer: John Longley
  • Series Producer: Jack Crawshaw
  • Producer: Sue Green
  • names above in bold indicate subjects of This Is Your Life
related pages...
Christopher Biggins This Is Your Life Christopher Biggins This Is Your Life Christopher Biggins This Is Your Life Christopher Biggins This Is Your Life Christopher Biggins This Is Your Life Christopher Biggins This Is Your Life Christopher Biggins This Is Your Life Christopher Biggins This Is Your Life Christopher Biggins This Is Your Life Christopher Biggins This Is Your Life Christopher Biggins This Is Your Life Christopher Biggins This Is Your Life

Screenshots of Christopher Biggins This Is Your Life

Christopher Biggins' autobiography

Christopher Biggins recalls his experience of This Is Your Life in his autobiography, Biggins My Story, reproduced here with kind permission of the author...

A pack of divas were unleashed as my 50th birthday approached in 1998. They were planning a top-secret party, which of course I knew almost everything about.

The divas were Joan Collins, Carole Bamford, Jeanne Mandry, Sue St John, Dame Maureen Thomas, Billy Differ – oh, and last but not least, dear Neil. As I wasn't supposed to be aware of the plans, I couldn't ask Neil how it was all going. But I could well imagine it was fraught with ego problems and dramas. I thought it was all hilarious.

What I didn't know was that something else was going on. The surprise party was real, but it was really only a smokescreen. I found out when I was on stage at the end of my panto matinee in Brighton. We didn't have an evening performance that day and I was looking forward to putting my feet up. I began my curtain speech as normal and halfway through I got a real roar from the crowd. I think I self-consciously congratulated myself on my comic timing. You're better at this that you thought, Biggins. They love you.

When the second roar began something told me there was more going on than my repartee. So I turned to see Michael Aspel and his famous red book. Someone was going to get the This Is Your Life treatment. But who? I looked around the stage in a genuine attempt to work it out. It's not false modesty to say I really didn't think it was me. But how pleased I am that it was. This Is Your Life is a fantastic programme. It's wonderful for friends and family, perhaps as much as for the person getting the honour. My parents were treated magnificently. They were driven up from Salisbury, put in a fantastic hotel and loved every minute of my show. Such a privilege to be able to let your parents into your professional and personal life like this. And oh, what fun to have all your old friends brought together for a marvellous party.

After coming off stage in Brighton – wearing a vast strawberry-blonde wig and an even more outrageous costume than normal – I got out of make-up and into my normal clothes. Then the producer took me outside. A white Rolls-Royce was waiting to take me to London. 'Is there anything you want, or need for the journey?' she asked.

'I'd love a nap, if that's OK.'

I woke up in a mild panic as we approached the studio in London.

'Will anyone have a toothbrush? What will I need to wear?' I asked the producer.

Neil, of course, had thought of everything and left everything I might need in my dressing room.

Cilla was the first guest to speak on the show, then Gillian Taylforth, Anthony and Georgina Andrews, my brother Sean and my parents, John Brown from my school days, Lynda Bellingham. They all made me laugh. Cameron Mackintosh spoke via a video link (he's far too grand to do a tacky show like This Is Your Life). My old Poldark pals Angharad Rees and Julie Dawn Cole were there with that gang. Then there was Paula Wilcox, Bea Arthur, the actress Amy MacDonald, Nicola McAuliffe, David and Jackie Wood – old pals from my Salisbury days – Bonnie Langford, my tiny little niece Alice and nephew Jack, neither of them more than five, who were led on by their mother, Louise. We had a video greeting from Joan Collins and, wrapping up an incredible night as my final guest, Barbara Windsor.

Christopher Biggins This Is Your Life

Then of course were all the other people who hadn't had a chance to speak in the half-hour show. In the audience were so many other dear friends. I look at the photographs – you're given them in the big red book – and to this day it moves me to tears. As I turn the pages I see my agent, Jonathan Altaras, Barry Burnett, Philip and Joan Kingsley, Anna and Graham Smith, Tony McLaren and his wife Veronica Charlewood, Esther Chatham, Gerald and Veronica Flint-Shipman from my Phoenix Theatre days, Sally Bullock, Stella Wilson, Jeremy Swan, Peter Deaney, Michael Codron and Mark Rayment, Paul Macbeth, Sian Phillips, Paula Wilcox, Lynda Bellingham, Peter Todd, Edmund and April O'Sullivan, Grace and David Tye, and so many more. I'm just so proud that so many of my family were at the show. Alongside my parents and Sean, there were the people who supported me for years – Auntie Betty and Uncle Jeff, who had put money into The Orchestra when I had desperately needed it. Auntie Monica and her husband Bryn, Uncle Ken and his wife Valerie, my relatives Michael and Annie O'Toole – the photographs and the memories just go on. It's traditional to end This Is Your Life in tears. I didn't stop for hours.

Christopher Biggins This Is Your Life Brighton Argus article

Brighton Argus 24 December 1998

Oh Yes You Are!

by Carren Heron

Panto star Chris is ambushed by man holding famous red book.

A HOST of stars helped panto dame Christopher Biggins celebrate the most prestigious moment of his career – being handed the big red book by Michael Aspel.

The star of the Theatre Royal pantomime Mother Goose was surprised by the This Is Your Life host as he finished a matinee performance.

Chris was whisked off to London for an evening of filming with showbiz names, including Barbara Windsor, Gillian Taylforth, Cilla Black and Joan Collins.

He said: "I was told by our director that local television would be filming for a round-up of pantomimes, so I didn't take any notice of the cameras."

"At the end of the show I thought something strange was going on because I saw a camera on stage, which I thought was a bit naughty."

"Then it was the most surreal moment of my life when Michael Aspel came on stage."

"I couldn't believe it. I thought he couldn't be there for me."

"The audience just erupted and the cast applauded and shouted – it was wonderful."

After a quick break to take his make-up off, Chris was chauffeur-driven up to London.


He said: "I had to have a little sleep in the car and when we got there I quickly had to ask for some shampoo and a toothbrush."

"All my family and friends were there, including my old school friend, John Brown, from 40 years ago."

Other stars paying tribute to Chris included Anthony Andrews, Paula Wilcox, Lynda Bellingham and Bea Arthur.

Chris added: "It was a great honour, absolutely wonderful, and a hundred more of my friends were in the audience."

"I had no idea at all, it was the best kept secret. My partner, Neil Sinclair, told me he was off to Scotland to see his family – all lies!"

"He said some wonderful things and was instrumental in getting everyone there."

"It was wonderful to see everybody – I did shed some tears. I've always thought it would be wonderful to appear on This Is Your Life, especially for my parents."

The show is due to be broadcast within the next few weeks.

Series 39 subjects

Charles Stewart | Carol Smillie | Roy Walker | Sharron Davies | Christopher Chittell | Barbara Dickson | Frank Thornton
Phillip Schofield | Alastair Stewart | Bob Wilson | Frankie Dettori | Elizabeth Spriggs | Rick Wakeman | Sue Johnston
Lord Deedes | Sylvia Young | Anne Kirkbride | Christopher Biggins | Damon Hill | George Layton | Floella Benjamin
Bill Pertwee | Mark Cook | Gary Mabbutt | Suzi Quatro | Ian Bannen