Gwen BERRYMAN (1906-1983)

Gwen Berryman This Is Your Life

programme details...

  • Edition No: 430
  • Subject No: 427
  • Broadcast date: Wed 25 Feb 1976
  • Broadcast time: 7.00-7.30pm
  • Recorded: Wed 4 Feb 1976
  • Venue: Euston Road Studios
  • Series: 16
  • Edition: 16
  • Code name: Target

on the guest list...

  • cast members of The Archers
  • Edgar Harrison
  • Tony Shryane
  • Peggy Mount
  • Trevor - brother
  • Joan - sister-in-law
  • Connie Harwood
  • Chris Gittins
  • Margaret Fallon
  • Peggy Potts
  • Donald Crombie
  • Albert Tinkler
  • Michael Roll
  • Peter Croft
  • Vanda Godsal
  • Hughie Caldman
  • Ida Caldman
  • Marjorie Westbury
  • Jack - cousin
  • Margaret - Jack's wife
  • Stanley - cousin
  • Vaughn - Stanley's wife
  • Chris - nephew
  • Angela - Chris's wife
  • Mark - Chris's son
  • James - Chris's son
  • Lucy - cousin
  • Filmed tributes:
  • fans of The Archers
  • Morris Roll
  • Katie Roll

production team...

  • names above in bold indicate subjects of This Is Your Life
related page...

An Actor's Life For Me

spotlight on the stars

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Screenshots of Gwen Berryman This Is Your Life

Gwen Berryman's autobiography

Gwen Berryman recalls her experience of This Is Your Life in her autobiography, The Life and Death of Doris Archer...

A few weeks later, I found myself once again in the middle of a celebration, only this time I really was caught on the hop, by Eamonn Andrews for his This Is Your Life programme on commercial television.

Whenever I had seen the programme as an ordinary viewer, I always thought the 'victims' must have had some inkling of what was going on.

Either that or they must be daft. But when it happened to me, I can honestly say I did not have a clue. The collusion between Thames Television, who make the programme, and the BBC was total and none of my family or friends breathed a word of the plans that they had obviously been party to.

In fact, the whole thing nearly did not happen, because my arthritis was playing me up and I was in a particularly grumpy mood. We were recording in Birmingham when Tony Shryane said he wanted me to go to Broadcasting House in London the next day for some filming for a Canadian television station.

It was not one of the days I was contracted for and I actually had an appointment fixed with my hairdresser back in Torquay. My hair had been a problem for many years because of the psoriasis, and regular hairdressing was very important to me psychologically. I felt cross about having to miss the appointment and I know I grumbled a great deal about the lack of notice and why on earth I should have to put myself out for the Canadians.

I told Tony that I was much too tired and that I just wanted to go home, but for once he did not seem very sympathetic and more or less insisted that I went, otherwise it would look very unprofessional, he said. I was a bit shocked and reluctantly agreed.

I grumbled all the way to London and I am sure everyone must have been thoroughly fed up with me by the time we got into the studio, but that did not stop me complaining about having to work in unfamiliar surroundings. Why on earth could the cameras not have been brought to Pebble Mill, where we could have been filmed in our natural habitat?

There was an awful lot of messing about with lights and microphones and I was feeling just about ready to explode when the tall, handsome figure of Eamonn Andrews appeared from behind a screen and in that beautiful Irish brogue said: 'Gwen Berryman... this is your life.'

What happened after that is very hazy. I am sure I cried a lot. I always do when I am happy. I remember everyone at the television studios fusing around me offering champagne all the time, when all I wanted was a nice cup of tea. They had also had one of my evening dresses brought up from Torquay but, probably still smarting from the suggestion that I might have been unprofessional, I had a little fit of artistic temperament and insisted that for continuity reasons I should wear the same dress as when I had been first filmed in the morning.

There was quite a long delay from the time Eamonn introduced himself until we went into the studio to record the programme and by then I was almost frightened about what would happen and who would be brought on to illustrate my life story. But once the lights went on and the audience applauded, I relaxed and felt in my element, once again the centre of attraction.

It was lovely and I got thrill after thrill as friends I had not seen for years, friends I had seen only days before, my brother and his family, and finally the whole cast of The Archers came on to the set and said such lovely things about me. It really was an incredible feeling and if the veiwers get even a fraction of the enjoyment out of watching the programme that I can now say the 'victim' gets from being in it, there is no wonder it is one of the most popular shows on television. That famous red book - which, incidentally, contains even photographs taken in the studio - and a lovely note from Eamonn are now among my most treasured souvenirs.

Series 16 subjects

Ronnie Dukes | Ray Milland | Mike Hailwood | Frank Windsor | Magnus Pyke | Bill Tidy | Gladys Mills | Andy Stewart
Windsor Davies | Ray Reardon | Patrick Mower | Alberto Remedios | Susan Masham | Betty Driver | Henry Davies
Gwen Berryman | Vince Hill | Arnold Ridley | Beryl Reid | Alan Mullery | Percy Thrower | Gareth Edwards
June Whitfield | Terry Fincher | Richard Dunn | Norman Croucher