Hattie JACQUES (1922-1980)

Hattie Jacques This Is Your Life

programme details...

  • Edition No: 214
  • Subject No: 215
  • Broadcast live: Tues 12 Feb 1963
  • Broadcast time: 7.55-8.25pm
  • Repeated: Wed 19 Jan 2011 10.25pm
  • Venue: BBC Television Theatre
  • Series: 8
  • Edition: 19

on the guest list...

  • Eric Sykes
  • Vivienne Catlow
  • Shirley Eaton
  • Leonard Sachs
  • Bernard Miles
  • John Le Mesurier
  • Leading Seaman Rodney Conroy
  • Petty Officers from No. 10 mess of HMS Victorious
  • Leslie Phillips
  • Rosie the chimpanzee
  • Alma Berwick
  • Victor Brooker
  • Max Bygraves
  • Robin - brother
  • Robin - son
  • Kim - son
  • Mary - mother
  • Adelaide Thorn - grandmother

production team...

  • Researcher: John Dalzell
  • Writer: Nickola Sterne
  • Director: Vere Lorrimer
  • Producer: T Leslie Jackson
  • names above in bold indicate subjects of This Is Your Life
related pages...

It's a Funny Old Life

it's all about the comedy

Producing Life

the producers who steered the programme's success

Max Bygraves

Eric Sykes

Louie Ramsay

Hattie Jacques This Is Your Life Hattie Jacques This Is Your Life Hattie Jacques This Is Your Life Hattie Jacques This Is Your Life Hattie Jacques This Is Your Life Hattie Jacques This Is Your Life Hattie Jacques This Is Your Life Hattie Jacques This Is Your Life Hattie Jacques This Is Your Life Hattie Jacques This Is Your Life Hattie Jacques This Is Your Life Hattie Jacques This Is Your Life Hattie Jacques This Is Your Life Hattie Jacques This Is Your Life Hattie Jacques This Is Your Life

Screenshots of Hattie Jacques This Is Your Life and Hattie - a biographical film for BBC Four, broadcast in January 2011, which included a recreation of the tribute

Hattie Jacques's biography

Andy Merriman recalls This Is Your Life in his book, Hattie...

It was ironically during this turbulent time in the couple’s life that Hattie was selected as the subject of This Is Your Life. The show was recorded on 12 February 1963 at the BBC television studios in Shepherds Bush where Hattie had been rehearsing Sykes An A...

Eamonn Andrews was hiding behind a newspaper in the darkened studio and then approached Hattie and Eric Sykes. The lights went up and Hattie’s response was, ‘You’re kidding!’ She really seemed visibly shaken and she remained rather uncomfortable throughout.

Eric Sykes was interviewed first and told the audience that he had been hospitalised recently and couldn’t work out why, for the first few days of his admission, Hattie hadn’t been to see him. When Hattie did visit and he asked why she hadn’t been before, he discovered that she had been in hospital herself, but didn’t tell Eric as she didn’t want to worry him. ‘That’s the sort of person that she is.’ Sykes attempted to amuse the audience, but he needed a better straight man than Eamonn Andrews, the holder of ‘The Red Book.’

The next guest was her Red Cross Divisional Commander, followed by her husband John Le Mesurier. He opened by saying that he had been surprised that Hattie was on time for their wedding, ‘I must confess I’m inclined to be surprised when Hattie turns up for anything. It’s a standing joke in the family. I always get to appointments half an hour early. Hattie, on the other hand, makes every moment count.’ He went on to describe his wife’s housewifely skills, ‘So many things to be done. Dreary mundane things like shopping, a cupboard might need to be turned out at the last moment. She’s like a whirlwind. How she manages I really wouldn’t know.’

Eamonn responds by asking, unwittingly, ‘Never a dull moment with Hattie?’ Le Mesurier wistfully replies, ‘I’m eternally grateful to the way she runs the home, looking after the children, looking after me.’ He then adds rather pointedly, ‘The home comes first, if you don’t mind me saying.’

There is a nervous giggle from Hattie as John continues, ‘For someone who is so busy, and in the public eye, to do all those things is a jolly neat trick.’ John obviously felt that he wasn’t able to say what was really going on, but decided to be a little obscure. Hattie, who would probably have been unsettled by this attention at the best of times, was particularly and understandably disquieted during this section. The studio audience and viewing public had no idea that she and John were in the middle of a marital crisis and that John Schofield had moved in to the family home.

Rodney Conroy, accompanied by eight sailors from HMS Victorious, were next and he explained how Harttie had adopted their squadron. Hattie was genuinely pleased to see them. The presence of members of the Senior Service must have come as a welcome distraction from listening to her cuckolded husband. On came Leslie Phillips, ‘I enjoyed working with Hattie. She was a very popular girl. In fact, I was a bit jealous of her popularity. In the film we were acting with a pretty little chimpanzee – but the chimp wasn’t interested in me. Only had eyes for Hattie.’ Rosie the chimpanzee was introduced to the audience, took centre stage and immediately hugged Hattie!

The next two guests were a woman from the East London Spastics Society whose daughter Hattie had visited in hospital and given a bracelet and the Canadian jazz musician Victor Booker with whom Hattie had co-authored a song (Hattie wrote the lyrics) 'Don’t ask me why I’m crying'. According to Booker, Hattie was the band’s mascot and all of them had stayed at Eardley Crescent. Presumably he was talking about a quintet rather than a big band, although with Hattie one never knew...

Finally Eamonn Andrews announced, ‘Behind this public image is a family girl.’ On walked her brother Robin, embarrassed-looking sons, Robin and Kim, mother Mary and grandmother Adelaide, and bringing up the rear was John Le Mesurier. The only crucial person missing from this grand finale was John Schofield.

Series 8 subjects

Rupert Davies | Kenneth Revis | Sydney MacEwan | Cleo Laine | Arthur Baldwin | Edith Sitwell | Ben Fuller | Robert Henry McIntosh
Mabel Lethbridge | Stephen Behan | Ruby Miller | Richard Attenborough | Daniel Kirkpatrick | Michael Wilson | Dick Hoskin
James Carroll | Uffa Fox | George Thomas Cummins | Hattie Jacques | Sam Derry | Finlay Currie | Phyllis Lumley | Ben Lyon
Bertie Tibble | Zena Dare | Victor Willcox | Learie Constantine | Phyllis Richards | Michael Bentine | Joe Loss | Gladys Aylward