George THOMAS Rt. Hon. VISCOUNT TONYPANDY, PC (1909-1997)

George Thomas This Is Your Life

programme details...

  • Edition No: 632
  • Subject No: 625
  • Broadcast date: Wed 7 Dec 1983
  • Broadcast time: 8.00-8.30pm
  • Recorded: Tue 25 Oct 1983
  • Venue: Royalty Theatre
  • Series: 24
  • Edition: 7
  • Code name: Chair

on the guest list...

  • Nerys Hughes
  • Iris Williams
  • Frank Topping
  • Norman Beaton
  • Sian Phillips
  • Fiona Kennedy
  • Angela Rippon
  • Richard Briers
  • Arthur - nephew
  • Ken - nephew
  • Marlene Philips - niece
  • Ruth - niece
  • John Webb - nephew
  • Reggie Webb - nephew
  • Dorothy - niece
  • Raydene Jones - niece
  • Olive Gwyther
  • Rev Cyril Gwyther
  • Max Boyce
  • Cliff Morgan
  • letter from HRH Prince Charles
  • Tydfil Thiry
  • Philippe Thiry
  • Muriel Thiry
  • Etienne Thiry
  • Filmed tributes:
  • Penelope Keith
  • James Callaghan
  • Harold Wilson
  • Harry Secombe

production team...

  • Researcher: Claudia Horvath
  • Writers: Tom Brennand, 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...
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Screenshots of George Thomas 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...

'It's amazing what God can do with a lad from the Rhonndda with a patch on his trousers,' was how the holder of the historic office of Speaker of the House of Commons once described himself.

Few politicians have closed their Parliamentary careers engulfed by such a tidal wave of all-party affection as Lord Tonypandy, formerly George Thomas MP, whose lilting Welsh calls for 'Order! Order!' also made him a firm favourite on the radio.

The newly retired Speaker was due to take up a new post as honorary chairman of the National Children's Home on 25 October 1983. A special concert – in aid of the charity – was being staged at the Royal Albert Hall to honour the incoming chairman. A celebrity gathering at the rehearsal was in on the secret, and included Nerys Hughes, Iris Williams, Sian Phillips, Angela Rippon and Richard Briers.

When Lord Tonypandy arrived, an extra celebrity was there – Eamonn Andrews with the Big Red Book. Back at the studios viewers heard how George's younger brother had gone down the pit at thirteen to help support the family so that George could stay on at school and become a teacher. He went into the Commons in 1945 as MP for Cardiff Central. Elected for Cardiff South was future Prime Minister the Right Honourable James Callaghan, who joined in the tributes along with Lord Wilson.

Prince Charles sent his 'warmest good wishes to one of the most distinguished Speakers the House of Commons has ever known in its long and proud history'.

And in the historic Speaker's Rooms at the Commons Lord Tonypandy's coat of arms featured the Crown and Portcullis sign of the House of Commons, surmounted by a miner's lamp.

Welsh rugby legend and veteran broadcaster Cliff Morgan told a story which summed up Lord Tonypandy's eight years as Speaker.

A member from Liverpool with a somewhat thick 'scouse' accent was speaking. A Scottish member complained he could not understand a word. Uproar broke out.

'Order! Order!' called the Speaker. Nothing. The uproar continued. Then, in the full majesty of office, he stood up – decreeing that everyone be silent. He glanced caustically around the chamber, eyes glaring.

'There are many accents in this House,' he said, reprovingly. 'I only wish I had one myself.'

A split second of silence – then the House of Commons rocked with laughter.

Series 24 subjects

John Mills | Norman Parkinson | Chaim Topol | Pat Jennings | Susannah York | Stuart Henry | George Thomas | Richard Noble
Matthew Kelly | Gloria Cameron | Geraint Evans | Matthew Lethbridge | Liza Goddard | Terry Lawless | Jim Davidson
Chris Gittins | Bob Todd | Nerys Hughes | Mike Spring | Eddie Macken | Freddie Starr | Kathy Staff
Jenny Pitman | Brian Blessed | Laddie Lucas | Danny La Rue