Elizabeth MCCOLGAN (1964-)

Elizabeth McColgan This Is Your Life

programme details...

  • Edition No: 818
  • Subject No: 808
  • Broadcast date: Wed 4 Dec 1991
  • Broadcast time: 7.00-7.30pm
  • Recorded: Fri 29 Nov 1991
  • Venue: Caird Hall, Dundee
  • Series: 32
  • Edition: 8
  • Code name: Line

on the guest list...

  • George Mitchell
  • Peter - husband
  • Martin - father
  • Betty - mother
  • Karen - sister
  • Martin - brother
  • Kevin - brother
  • Phil Kearns
  • Aidan - brother-in-law
  • Marie - mother-in-law
  • Tommy - father-in-law
  • Terry Reid
  • Ian Campbell
  • Kirsty Wade
  • Vi Bennett
  • Eilish - daughter
  • Filmed tributes:
  • Pat Fogerty
  • Robert Lees
  • Runrig
  • Deacon Blue
  • John Mitchell
  • Jo - Liz's protege
  • Desmond Lynam
  • Kriss Akabusi
  • Roger Black

production team...

  • Researcher: Sarah Ann Cockcroft
  • Writer: Roy Bottomley
  • Directors: Brian Klein, Paul Kirrage
  • Associate Producer: John Graham
  • Producer: Malcolm Morris
  • names above in bold indicate subjects of This Is Your Life
related pages...

Going for Gold

celebrating the world's best

Behind the Scenes

the programme's best kept secrets

Roger Black

Elizabeth McColgan This Is Your Life Elizabeth McColgan This Is Your Life Elizabeth McColgan This Is Your Life Elizabeth McColgan This Is Your Life Elizabeth McColgan This Is Your Life Elizabeth McColgan This Is Your Life Elizabeth McColgan This Is Your Life Elizabeth McColgan This Is Your Life Elizabeth McColgan This Is Your Life Elizabeth McColgan This Is Your Life Elizabeth McColgan This Is Your Life Elizabeth McColgan This Is Your Life

Screenshots of Elizabeth McColgan This Is Your Life

Liz McColgan biography

Adrianne Blue recalls this edition of This Is Your Life in her biography of Liz McColgan, Queen of the Track...

The sandy-haired young Dundee cab driver kept the secret when he overheard the This Is Your Life producer and the Grampian executive talking in his cab. If Liz found out, they told him, the This Is Your Life programme about her would be axed.

It is not till a month later that the phone rings in Vi Bennett's house. It is Sarah Ann Cockcroft of This Is Your Life. 'We are thinking of doing a programme about Liz McColgan,' Cockcroft says.

'That's wonderful, love,' Vi says, her voice rising in excitement.

'I am calling in confidence,' Cockcroft tells Vi. 'If Liz McColgan finds out about the programme, we will cancel it.'

'I promise I won't say a word to anyone.'

'That's what we usually advise,' Cockcroft says.

Vi's telephone is in the foyer. There is a knock on the door. It is a couple of friends popping in. A look of alarm invades Vi's face. 'I'll be with you in a wee moment,' she says abruptly, returning to her phone call. She seems unhappy to see them. That's not a bit like Vi.

As the worried visitors sit on the plump sofa waiting for her to finish her call, they overhear the odd, mysterious word, and when Vi comes in to the room they ask her, 'What is it, love? What is wrong, Vi?'

'It's nothing wrong. It's just a wee shock,' she finally confesses. 'That was a girl from This Is Your Life. They are doing a programme about Liz.' Vi swears them to secrecy. They too keep the secret.

Betty Lynch had far more of a problem. She was seeing Liz every day. On the night, a Grampian anniversary party was used to lure Liz to Caird Hall. As she was getting ready to go, her mother was in rather a state. Betty was on a tight timetable.

The limousine waited while Liz kissed Eilish goodnight. It was Eilish's grandmother who had undressed her and got her ready for bed. Liz went to say goodbye to her mother and to show herself off. With her glamorous new hairstyle and the long lean trousers, she looked a million bucks.

Betty Lynch, hiding in the bathroom, all dressed and fully made-up, called out, 'I'm in the bath. Have a good time.'

When the limousine pulled out of the driveway Betty was already buttoning Eilish into her frilly white dress.

Minutes after their daughter's departure, the Lynches and their granddaughter were on their way. When she arrived at Caird Hall, Betty handed over the baby and rushed on to the stage. She didn't have time to say hello to anyone, let alone have a steadying cup of tea. If you knew her you could just see she was shattered. But as the television audience didn't, she seemed fine.

Liz couldn't believe it when Michael Aspel appeared.

'I'm not old enough. I'm not good enough,' she said.

'But you've done quite a lot,' said Aspel. 'World Champion Liz McColgan, tonight this is your life.'

And the show went on. With all the great sporting moments – Edinburgh, Seoul, Tokyo and the marathon through the sky-scraper canyons of New York. With all of the touching personal sidelights – Liz running into her dad's arms and being lifted into the air immediately after her Edinburgh Commonwealth Games triumph; Liz, the new world champion weeping with emotion on the victory podium in Tokyo.

The people important to Liz were there. Her teacher Phil Kearns remembered her first race and her continuing visits to St Saviour's to encourage the pupils. Vi Bennett was there and Kirsty Wade, and her whole family, of course, and Peter's. There was even a video from America of Coach John Mitchell with some of the British athletes Liz had recommended to him. They were doing well.

At the end of the programme Michael Aspel held the famous red book out to her. Amending the programme's famous closing line, the line in the written script, he now said, 'This, so far, is your life, Elizabeth McColgan.'

He is right. We will see a lot more of her yet.

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...

It was the high road again, this time to Dundee, on 29 November 1991, to the vast Caird Hall to celebrate a slip of a girl who had just won the 10,000 metres world championship in Tokyo and raced to victory in the New York Marathon. What's more, Elizabeth McColgan had just become a mother.

The audience in her home city – celebrating its eight-hundredth anniversary – gave her a standing ovation. Two members of the men's relay gold medal winning team greeted her from training camp. Kriss Akabusi was Male Athletics Personality of the Year, and Roger Black Male Athlete of the Year. Liz McColgan had won the female equivalent of both titles. Baby daughter Eilish was there to share Mum's glory.

Series 32 subjects

Paul Nicholas | Keith Floyd | Gwyneth Jones | Norman Painting | Thelma Barlow | Nobby Stiles | Bernard Manning
Elizabeth McColgan | Michael Nicholson | Pam Ferris | David Berglas | Gary Glitter | Nigel Havers | Mo Moreland
Tony Blackburn | Wendy Toye | Alan Bleasdale | George Shearing | Jim Howard | Kevin Lloyd | Josef Locke
Robert Lindsay | Hannah Hauxwell | Rory Underwood | Susan Hampshire | Chris De Burgh