Jim DAVIDSON (1953-)

Jim Davidson This Is Your Life

programme details...

  • Edition No: 640
  • Subject No: 633
  • Broadcast date: Wed 1 Feb 1984
  • Broadcast time: 8.00-8.30pm
  • Recorded: Tues 17 Jan 1984
  • Venue: Royalty Theatre
  • Series: 24
  • Edition: 15
  • Code name: Face

on the guest list...

  • members of the Royal Irish Rangers
  • Sergeant Major Phil Moffat
  • Julie - wife
  • Jock - father
  • Emily - mother
  • Eileen - sister
  • Bill - brother
  • John - brother
  • George - uncle
  • Jean - sister
  • Terry Cowling
  • Nicholas Day
  • Brian Capron
  • Anita Dobson
  • Sue Nicholls
  • Keith Emerson
  • William Franklyn
  • Bob Todd
  • Anna Dawson
  • Barry Cryer
  • Pam Ayres
  • Linda Lou Allen
  • John Junkin
  • Daphne Oxenford
  • Ronny Lee
  • Brian Shepherd
  • Ken Scott
  • Danny La Rue
  • Captain Denis Thomas
  • Iris Williams
  • Clive Pyatt
  • Cameron - son
  • Omar Sharif
  • Michelle Waters
  • Filmed tributes:
  • Lionel Blair
  • Jackie Redding
  • Victor Spinetti
  • Melvyn Hayes
  • Windsor Davies
  • Derek Waters
  • Margaret Waters

production team...

  • Researchers: Angela Clark, David Mason
  • 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...
Jim Davidson This Is Your Life Jim Davidson This Is Your Life Jim Davidson This Is Your Life Jim Davidson This Is Your Life Jim Davidson This Is Your Life Jim Davidson This Is Your Life Jim Davidson This Is Your Life Jim Davidson This Is Your Life Jim Davidson This Is Your Life Jim Davidson This Is Your Life Jim Davidson This Is Your Life Jim Davidson This Is Your Life

Screenshots of Jim Davidson This Is Your Life

Jim Davidson's autobiography

Jim Davidson recalls his experience of This Is Your Life in his autobiography, Close to the Edge...

I never really got over that first Falklands trip. I went again in June 1984 and this time I took my little video camera with me. I videoed all the shows that were going on. We had a great time and when I came back, I played it to Philip Jones, at Thames Television.

'Let's go down and do a Christmas show there,' I said to him. 'We can film it and you can screen it on Christmas Day. It'd be great.'

Little did I know that he had another show lined up to get me on TV... and that the name of that other programme was This Is Your Life.

I didn't smell a rat at all when Eamonn Andrews came knocking.

'I think I'll pop down to the pub,' I said to Julie one night.

'Oh, don't go,' she said quickly.

'What do you mean?' I said, 'going to the pub is what I do.'

She back-tracked. 'Well, don't get too drunk, then.'

'What are you talking about – don't get too drunk?' I said, 'that's what I do.'

So, I came home drunk, took a sleeping tablet, then headed up to bed. I was in a bit of pain because the Christmas before, I'd dropped a bloody paving slab on my foot, nearly chopped my toe off and had had to cancel my show. It was a nightmare. They'd sewn my big toe back on and, even to this day, it's grown back like a monster's toe.

I'd woken up the following morning, a bit hungover, a bit groggy, and my toe was killing me. Suddenly I heard bagpipes in my driveway. 'What the fuck is this?'

I was listening to the hi-fi at the time. I turned up the volume, thinking it was interference. The bagpipe noises didn't go away.

Suddenly, a knock at the door. With my poorly toe, I limped to the door, opened it, looking like a dog's breakfast, and there in front of me was the sergeant major I'd met on my first trip to the Falklands, with a company of the Royal Irish Rangers, who were the battalion down there at the time.

And Eamonn Andrews popped up with his Big Red Book and said, 'Jim, This Is Your Life.'

'Oh,' I thought, 'this is it. Fantastic. I've cracked it. About bloody time.'

Jim Davidson This Is Your Life

Then I thought they'd push off. But I had to get straight in the car and go with them. They don't hang about on that show, you know. I hurriedly grabbed a fresh shirt, yanked some trousers on, combed my hair, and jumped in the car with Eamonn.

As we drove past the Crooked Billet pub in Staines, I said to him, 'I painted that pub once, you know.'

And there I was, heading off to the greatest accolade in British show business. Eamonn looked at the pub and replied, 'Good for you.'

And, with that, he opened a bottle of champagne and we drank it in the back of the car.

'All your family are there, you know,' he said to me.

I panicked. 'It's the afternoon now,' I said, 'what time's the show?'

Eamonn replied, 'Seven thirty tonight, why?'

Oh, oh.

'How long has my father been there?'...

'Ah,' said Eamonn, 'your Dad's a bit of a character, isn't he?'

I shuddered. Dad would be as pissed as a fart by now.

Eamonn must have read my thoughts.

'He's been there since midday.'

That was it.

'Oh noooo.'

When we arrived at the studio, I was locked away in a little room, trying to work out who was going to be on the show. I suspected my sister would be there from America because I know the way television works. And I knew that all my family were going to be there. It was going to be great.

But I was dead worried about Dad.

So I walked on to the set, down the ramp and I limped on with my bad foot. I sat there and on came Julie, my wife. Then on came Mum – without Dad – and I thought, 'Oh no, they've sent Dad home and they're going to have to say he's passed away or something because he's so drunk.'

Then Eamonn asked me his famous question, 'Do you recognise this voice?'

And I heard some indecipherable man, spouting this Glaswegian gibberish over the PA system.

It was Dad.

The doors opened and my little old Dad stood there with his walking stick. Seeing my Dad, old Jock from Glasgow on the telly was bloody marvellous. One of the greatest moments in my life.

Mum and Dad were sat there, and Eamonn asked them, 'What's it like having a famous son?'

'Well, Eamonn,' Mum replied, 'when Jim cracked it in show business he said to me, "Mum, you'll never have to work again as long as you live," And I never have.'

She never did work again. I paid for her not to work. And Dad was then too ill and too old to work.

But that was a great This Is Your Life and a great night.

After the party, we all jumped in cars and took the limousines to my Dad's pub in Woolwich, where he used to drink. We got drunk as skunks and I got Keith Emerson playing the piano while I played drums. It was a night to remember forever.

These days, I can't bring myself to watch the video of my This Is Your Life. It's just too sad for me, especially now that my Mum and Dad and sister Eileen have all died. Looking back at the past is always a bit scary for me. I tend not to ever look back, if I can avoid it.

If I do look back, instead of saying, 'Weren't those great times?' I'll always tend to get terribly nostalgic.

But I think the real reason that I don't look back is that deep down I know I could have done it so much better and hurt less people.

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...

...we launched a friendly 'invasion' of Jim Davidson's home in Sunningdale. Through his living room window he saw thirty Royal Irish Rangers, with pipers, marching up the drive.

Jim had travelled to the world's trouble-spots to entertain them and other regiments, including two visits to Falklands. They loved the idea of being 'in' on entertaining Jim, and sat on set throughout the programme, during which we learned that his family all called him Cameron – his second name.

He had failed an audition for Opportunity Knocks, but reached the All Winners Final of New Faces in 1976. Danny La Rue was there to tell us he gave Jim a maximum of one hundred points.

'You can't do that,' Danny was told. 'Nobody's been given a hundred points before.'

Said Dan: 'In that case I'll give him a hundred and twenty five!'

Jim's older brother Bill told us how Jim had come by his 'Nick-Nick' catchphrase. Bill himself had been in the police for ten years. And that was how Jim came across the 'talking brooch' expression – from the radio on the police lapels.

Jim Davidson This Is Your Life

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