Ian BOTHAM (1955-)

Ian Botham This Is Your Life

programme details...

  • Edition No: 577
  • Subject No: 573
  • Broadcast date: Wed 4 Nov 1981
  • Broadcast time: 7.00-7.30pm
  • Recorded: Wed 4 Nov 1981
  • Venue: Royalty Theatre
  • Series: 22
  • Edition: 4
  • Code name: Bit

on the guest list...

  • Keith Fletcher
  • Bob Willis
  • Raman Subba Row
  • members of the England Cricket team
  • members of the Somerset County Cricket team
  • Brian Rose
  • members of Scunthorpe United FC team
  • Paul Sugden
  • Willie Carson
  • Mike Gibson
  • Jack Keall
  • Bob Keall
  • Charlie Martin
  • Kathy - wife
  • Les - father
  • Marie - mother
  • Dale - sister
  • Stephen - brother-in-law
  • Wendy - sister
  • Paul - brother-in-law
  • Graeme - brother
  • Gerry Waller - father-in-law
  • Jan Waller - mother-in-law
  • Lindsay - sister-in-law
  • Paul - brother-in-law
  • Rev Douglas White
  • John Saunders
  • Robin Trevett
  • Richard Hibbitt
  • Bill Jones
  • Nick Harrison
  • Viv Richards - via telephone
  • Ron Ashman
  • Ron Harris
  • John Hollins
  • John Dempsey
  • Ian Hutchinson
  • Peter Osgood
  • Sarah - daughter
  • Liam - son
  • Garfield Sobers
  • Filmed tributes:
  • Mike Brearley
  • Geoffrey Boycott
  • Brian Close
  • Dennis Lillee

production team...

  • Researcher: John Graham
  • Writers: Tom Brennand, Roy Bottomley
  • Directors: Paul Stewart Laing, Terry Yarwood
  • Producer: Jack Crawshaw
  • names above in bold indicate subjects of This Is Your Life
related pages...
Ian Botham This Is Your Life Ian Botham This Is Your Life Ian Botham This Is Your Life Ian Botham This Is Your Life Ian Botham This Is Your Life Ian Botham This Is Your Life Ian Botham This Is Your Life Ian Botham This Is Your Life Ian Botham This Is Your Life Ian Botham This Is Your Life Ian Botham This Is Your Life Ian Botham This Is Your Life

Screenshots of Ian Botham This Is Your Life

Ian Botham's autobiography

Ian Botham recalls his experience of This Is Your Life in his autobiography, Head On...

The 'Botham summer' of 1981 was now over, but it had changed my life for ever. Before then I was reasonably well known in Britain and in cricketing circles abroad, but unknown elsewhere; now I was internationally famous. Even in America, where cricket was virtually unheard of, I made the cover of Sports Illustrated, the first cricketer ever to do so. It was hard to keep my feet on the ground at the time, with the phone ringing off the hook with offers of endorsements, advertising campaigns, book deals and personal appearances.

I also made a surprise television appearance, as the subject of This Is Your Life. Kath had obviously been in on the secret from the start and she'd vetoed the original list of people that the programme's researchers had come up with. They wanted to fill the programme with celebrities and people that I'd barely even heard of and Kath said, 'No. If you do it that way, it won't be a true reflection of Ian's life up to now. I'm not having him portrayed as if all he wants to do is hang around with celebrities, because he's not that type of person at all. If Ian's going to do it, he'll want his real friends and his family to be there, not all these other people.'

She dug her heels in and got her way in most of the arguments, so people like Charlie Martin, a Scots ghillie who had taught me to fish, were there – the first time in Charlie's life that he had ever been outside Scotland. The only exception was Gary Sobers. Kath had wanted Brian Close to be the final guest because he had been such a big part of both our lives. Though we became good friends later on, I barely knew Gary at the time, but he was a huge name back then and the TV company insisted on making him the final guest, so he came on stage with Liam and Sarah.

Ian Botham This Is Your Life

I had no inkling that it was being planned – Kath had sworn everyone to secrecy – though I was a bit puzzled why conversations kept fading away as I came into the room and why she kept sneaking off to the phone box while we were on holiday just before I was 'ambushed' for the programme. I was in an England team meeting ready for the trip to India when I saw Eamonn Andrews appear with that trademark rictus grin on his face and his Big Red Book clutched in his hand. I was sitting there thinking, 'Wonder who he's going to get – Boycott? Willis?' When he gave me the book I was gobsmacked. If I'd known in advance that he was coming for me, I would have told him, politely of course, what he could do with it; a lot of people say that, I know, but I really mean it. The idea of somebody saying 'This is your life' to someone in their mid-twenties was quite ridiculous. However, when it actually happened, I knew all my friends and relatives would be waiting backstage and would be bitterly disappointed if I pulled the plug on it. So I bit my tongue and went ahead with it, and I must admit it was touching to see all the people who had given up their time to come and say nice things about me... but it was still an absurd idea.

Ian Botham's biography

Kathy Botham recalls this edition of This Is Your Life in her book, Living With A Legend...

During August I was approached by a member of the This Is Your Life research team. They wanted to do a programme on Ian depending upon the result of the assault trial. This brought me up with a jolt. I had almost forgotten the court case hanging over us. True to form though - when you're up you're up - at the end of the three-day trial Ian was cleared of the stigma of having knocked out Steven Isbister's front tooth. In fact, Mr Isbister had lost not only his tooth but also any dignity he might have had. Even the newspapers, who had earlier screamed for Ian's blood over this affair, formed the general consensus that the case should never have come to court.

Following this we enjoyed a short break in California with the bat-maker Duncan Fearley and Norman Gifford of Worcestershire. It was Norman's benefit tour and a refreshing break for us. During our time there Liam was able to meet his hero of the moment, the 'Incredible Hulk', and Ian, more than most of us, enjoyed his day at Disneyland.

During this time a telephone call confirmed that This Is Your Life was to go ahead. Ian had already been selected for the forthcoming tour of India under a new captain, Keith Fletcher of Essex, so it was decided to televise the programme on the eve of the team's departure. On several occasions I nearly called the whole thing off when it became increasingly obvious that the producer wanted to pack the show with celebrities to the exclusion of many who really had influenced Ian's life. It was a complete surprise to him when Eamonn Andrews turned up at Lord's. The whole thing went off pretty well in the end, though, and I'm sure he was delighted to be the subject of that week's programme. It was a disappointment to everyone who had taken part in the programme, and the many others who had been invited to the party which followed, that the cricketers were not allowed to stay - not even Ian - because they had to attend an official function, the first of many during that tour.

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...

Sir Gary Sobers flew in from Australia for our surprise on Ian Botham. He had been young Ian's boyhood hero and inspiration.

It was 4 October 1981, [Bigredbook.info editor: Ian was actually surprised on 4 November 1981] and that summer Ian Botham had vanquished the Australian tourists virtually single-handed. His century at Old Trafford had made him Britain's most popular sporting hero.

We surprised him, appropriately, at Lords, thanks to England team manager Raman Subba Row, captain Keith Fletcher and vice-captain Bob Willis, who had assembled the team for a 'briefing' on the eve of their tour of India.

Ian Botham This Is Your Life

Former England skipper Brian Close greeted from Barbados, Dennis Lillee from Australia and Geoffrey Boycott from Hong Kong. Geoffrey had been the first to tag Ian 'Guy the Gorilla' – and sent him a present of a bunch of bananas and a couple of coconuts.

Ian's best pal from Somerset, probably the world's best batsman, Viv Richards, rang at the last moment to say his flight from Antigua had been cancelled. Hastily we arranged a live link so the two famous cricketing pals could talk to each other.

And the cricketing hero he had idolised as a boy, Sir Garfield Sobers, paid him this tribute: 'Today, Ian, I want to say you are the world's best all-rounder.'

Series 22 subjects

Bob Champion | Bill Fraser | Wayne Sleep | Ian Botham | Cannon and Ball | Rob Buckman | Angela Rippon
Julia McKenzie | Jackie Milburn | Paul Shane | Peter Adamson | Kiri Te Kanawa | Mickie Most | Anita Harris
Mike Brace | Faith Brown | Robin Bailey | Rod Hull | Bob Monkhouse | John Toshack | Wally Herbert
Joe Gormley | Roger Whittaker | Alan Whicker | Peter Davison | Douglas Bader