Clive DUNN (1920-2012)

Clive Dunn This Is Your Life

programme details...

  • Edition No: 301
  • Subject No: 303
  • Broadcast date: Wed 24 Mar 1971
  • Broadcast time: 7.00-7.30pm
  • Recorded: Wed 17 Feb 1971
  • Venue: Euston Road Studios
  • Series: 11
  • Edition: 19

on the guest list...

  • Cilla - wife
  • Mrs Dunn - mother
  • Jimmy Perry
  • Arthur Lowe
  • John Le Mesurier
  • John Laurie
  • James Beck
  • Arnold Ridley
  • Ian Lavender
  • Bill Pertwee
  • Frank Williams
  • Edward Sinclair
  • Janet Davies
  • Pamela Cundell
  • Hattie Jacques
  • David Bradford
  • Bill Fraser
  • Alfie Bass
  • Michael Derbyshire
  • Filmed tributes:
  • Polly - daughter
  • Jessica - daughter

production team...

  • Researcher: unknown
  • Writer: unknown
  • Director: Margery Baker
  • Producer: Robert Tyrrell
  • names above in bold indicate subjects of This Is Your Life
related pages...
Clive Dunn This Is Your Life

Clive Dunn is surprised by Eamonn Andrews for This Is Your Life

Clive Dunn's autobiography

Clive Dunn recalls his experience of This Is Your Life in his autobiography, Permission to Speak...

...Jimmy Perry rang to say that the television people wanted to record his beginnings in the entertainment world.

As he had been born in the house opposite mine in Barnes would it be all right if they came one day to film him, with me dressed as Corporal Jones, on Barnes Common?

I agreed, but only if they would come and dress me up, take me from my home and deliver me back as soon as possible...

This was all agreed…

...the doorbell rang and in came the television people to make me up and dress me for the filming with Jimmy.

...we crept through the drizzle onto Barnes Common. Jimmy Perry said. 'This is really nice of you, Clive, when you're so busy. Now when I ask you what you think will happen if the Germans come, say anything that comes into your head.' It all sounded very informal, and we made our way to where the camera crew was set up.

The crew all smiled a greeting and the director said, 'Sorry about the weather, Clive, but it won't take long. We're all set up and ready to go.'

'Action,' shouted Jimmy Perry, asking his rehearsed question, and as I was halfway through my reply an extra dressed in battledress jumped up rather red in the face. I turned to him as I thought the poor man had gone berserk when he said. 'Corporal Jones – Clive Dunn – this is your life.' Contrary to what many people think, I was truly flabbergasted.

We all eventually repaired to the Euston Road Studios of Thames Television, where I was put in a little room and left alone for what seemed hours. Robin came to find me and I asked where the others were. Robin told me they were having a drink. 'I want one,' I said petulantly, and soon a bottle of white wine was brought. I drank most of it and gave a very relaxed, not to say slightly inebriated, performance.

I just managed to recognise my mother, who had a slight row with Eamonn Andrews over her age, and when Polly and Jessica appeared on the screen I said 'They're awfully pleasant. Who are they?' It was a rather 'showbizzy' affair heightened for me by the appearance of Hattie Jacques who suggested we sang once again, 'I Don't Want to Play in Your Yard'.

Cilla told me later that I had been so involved in rehearsals and preparing for the Palladium that I was unaware of another world around me, and she could have had three love affairs a day, let alone keep This Is Your Life a secret. The Dad's Army team turned up in uniform, all smiling but probably feeling disgruntled because they had been obliged to wear battledress for the occasion. David Bradford, my old wartime friend, Bill Fraser and Alfie Bass were also there.

In 1971, during 'drinks and food' after the transmission, all the participants were slipped a five pound note; no matter how grand a star they were, they were still obliged to accept this surreptitious payment. Today you get nothing; there's progress for you. Michael Derbyshire, my oldest friend, had taken the trouble to come along and rehearse his lines, only to be cut out of the whole thing by the editor.

Peter Nichols said, after it was shown on television, that it was so jolly and 'showbiz' and superficial that they knew no more about me afterwards than they had done before. That, my friends, is show business.

Series 11 subjects

Bob Hope | Vidal Sassoon | Talbot Rothwell | Mike and Bernie Winters | Joe Brown | Patrick Campbell | Bobby Moore
Robert Soutter | Graham Hill | Sandy Powell | Edward Woodward | Moira Lister | Dickie Henderson | Wilfred Pickles
Kenny Ball | Marjorie Proops | Basil D'Oliveira | Clive Dunn | Peter Noone | Monica Dickens | Jon Pertwee
Lionel Jeffries | Adam Faith | Googie Withers | Matt Busby