Joe MERCER (1914-1990)

Joe Mercer This Is Your Life

programme details...

  • Edition No: 274
  • Subject No: 276
  • Broadcast live: Wed 25 Mar 1970
  • Broadcast time: 7.00-7.30pm
  • Venue: Euston Road Studios
  • Series: 10
  • Edition: 18

on the guest list...

  • Norah - wife
  • members of Manchester City FC team
  • Francis Lee
  • Colin Bell
  • Mike Summerbee
  • Alan Oakes
  • Alan Percival
  • David - son
  • Joan - daughter-in-law
  • Arthur - brother
  • Stan Cullis
  • Billy Dixie Dean
  • Jim Morris
  • Charles Palmer
  • Matt Busby
  • Frank Soo
  • Walley Barnes
  • Maurice Edelston
  • Bernard Joy
  • Roy White
  • George Hardwick
  • Raich Carter
  • Neil Franklin
  • Stanley Matthews
  • Filmed tributes:
  • Malcolm Allison
  • Susan - granddaughter
  • Albert Dyson - father-in-law

production team...

  • Researcher: unknown
  • Writer: unknown
  • Director: Margery Baker
  • Producer: Robert Tyrrell
  • names above in bold indicate subjects of This Is Your Life
  • with thanks to Susan and David Lea for their contribution to this page
related pages...
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Photographs of Joe Mercer This Is Your Life

Joe Mercer's biography

Gary James recalls this edition of This Is Your Life in his book, Football With A Smile, reproduced here with kind permission of the author...

This had been an extremely busy time for the Blues. Over a 21 day period City had played five League games, both semi-final legs and found time to work with television to honour their manager. On Wednesday 25 March – a week before the first leg of the ECWC semi-final - Joe was the subject of a This Is Your Life show.

This Is Your Life was viewed at the time as significant recognition for a lifetime's achievement. Only major stars and personalities were featured in those days, and the main idea would be that the subject of the programme would be surprised by the sudden appearance of presenter Eamonn Andrews and his 'big red book'. The subject would then be whisked away to a studio or other location where a variety of figures from the person's life would be brought out to tell anecdotes and the like. The main part of the show would be broadcast live.

On 25 March 1970 Joe Mercer was staying at the Hilton Hotel in London. He had been due to fly, with Malcolm Allison, to the continent to watch ECWC semi-final opponents Schalke but he had received a message to say the game was off. It was all a ruse of course. That night television viewers watched as Eamonn Andrews surprised Joe at the hotel reception desk: "Joe Mercer, former England playing star, now manager of Cup winning Manchester City, tonight. This Is Your Life!"

During the show the City team appeared, but Malcolm Allison was nowhere to be seen. He had been staying with Joe at the hotel and the City manager explained: "I'm a great sleeper you see, and subconsciously I heard Malcolm getting up and I thought, oh, he's going to the bathroom. I thought, well, he hasn't come back, so he must be having a bath, and then I went back to sleep. I woke about ten and Malcolm had gone, but occasionally this happens - Malcolm disappears!"

Andrews explained that Allison had left early to watch the match which was still on. Joe was flabbergasted: "He's left all his clothes! I've had to pack his bag as well!"

During the course of the show, Andrews informed Joe that Alf Ramsey had named the squad he was to take to the 1970 World Cup: "I know you haven't had a chance to hear the news, but I'm going to tell it to you now, that two of your boys have been named by Alf for the World Cup – Francis Lee and Colin Bell. And two more in the twelve reserves – Mike Summerbee and Alan Oakes. Congratulations lads, and to the whole of the Manchester City."

Joe was overjoyed.

Series 10 subjects

Des O'Connor | Bobby Charlton | Harry Driver | Twiggy | Honor Blackman | The Beverley Sisters | John Fairfax | Henry Cooper
Jackie Stewart | Jimmy Savile | Arthur Dooley | Wendy Craig | Tony Jacklin | Charlie Cairoli | Richard Evans | Alfie Bass
Jack Good | Joe Mercer | Ronnie Corbett | Colin Milburn | Frankie Vaughan | Lorna Ridgway | Val Doonican
Johnny Speight | Reg Varney | Harold French