Lord BRABOURNE (1924-2005)

Lord Brabourne This Is Your Life
  • This edition is presented as the 501st made by Thames TV, and includes an audience of past subjects from the last 21 years

programme details...

  • Edition No: 785
  • Subject No: 774
  • Broadcast date: Wed 17 Oct 1990
  • Broadcast time: 7.00-7.30pm
  • Recorded: Sun 9 Sep 1990
  • Venue: The Old Brewery, London
  • Series: 31
  • Edition: 1
  • Code name: India

on the guest list...

  • Joanna - daughter
  • Amanda - daughter
  • Michael-John - son
  • Philip - son
  • Timothy - son
  • Lady Pamela Hicks - sister-in-law
  • Countess Mountbatten - wife
  • Doris Robinson
  • Sean Jamieson
  • David Featherstone-Hall
  • Maj Jim Cowley
  • message from HRH Prince Charles
  • Richard Goodwin
  • David Puttnam
  • Franco Zeffirelli
  • Anthony Havelock-Allan
  • Lord Crathorne
  • Norton - son
  • Penny - daughter-in-law
  • Eleuthera - granddaughter
  • Melissa - daughter-in-law
  • Kelly - granddaughter
  • Filmed tributes:
  • Peter Ustinov
  • Charles Harris-St John
  • Stewart Granger
  • Lewis Gilbert
  • Sidney Lumet
  • Leonora - granddaughter
  • Nicholas - grandson
  • Alexandra - granddaughter
  • In the audience:
  • Jeffrey Archer
  • The Beverley Sisters
  • Rodney Bewes
  • Felix Bowness
  • Judith Chalmers
  • John Conteh
  • Wendy Craig
  • Robert Dougall
  • Adam Faith
  • Bill Griffiths
  • Deryck Guyler
  • John Harris
  • Frazer Hines
  • Patricia Hodge
  • David Jacobs
  • Gorden Kaye
  • Martyn Lewis
  • Trevor McDonald
  • Sheila Mercier
  • Cliff Michelmore
  • Bob Monkhouse
  • Patrick Mower
  • Jackie Pallo
  • Su Pollard
  • Nosher Powell
  • Marjorie Proops
  • Esther Rantzen
  • Claire Rayner
  • Oliver Reed
  • Jane Rossington
  • Paul Shane
  • Dinah Sheridan
  • Peter Shilton
  • Donald Sinden
  • Jimmy Tarbuck
  • Richard Todd
  • Alan Whicker
  • June Whitfield

production team...

  • Researcher: Sue Green
  • Writer: Roy Bottomley
  • Director: Brian Klein
  • Associate Producer: John Graham
  • Producer: Malcolm Morris
  • names above in bold indicate subjects of This Is Your Life
related pages...
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Photographs and screenshots of Lord Brabourne This Is Your Life

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...

The Banqueting Hall of the Old Brewery in the City of London was the scene of a gala evening on 9 September 1990 – the occasion of the 501st edition of the Life since Thames Television first started broadcasting the programme.

Every guest had been the Life's guest of honour over a period of twenty-one years. As Michael Aspel said, 'I doubt if there has ever been such a stunning array of people, from all walks of life, gathered together: show business, sport, politics, courage in war, bravery in peace, light-hearted lives and lives of self-sacrifice.'

The man whose name was on the book that night covered them all. Our co-conspirator was Countess Mountbatten of Burma, and the man from whom she was keeping the secret was her husband, the host at that table, international film producer Lord Brabourne.

Said Michael Aspel as he sprang the surprise: 'As our dinner guests might say, "Welcome to the club."'

The curtains onstage parted to reveal friends, colleagues and family, including daughters Joanna and Amanda, sons Michael-John, Philip and Timothy, and Lord Mountbatten's second daughter Lady Pamela Hicks.

Before the war, Lord Brabourne's father had been Governor of Bombay and Bengal and Acting Viceroy of India as, of course, was Lord Mountbatten. So, uniquely, both grandfathers of Lord Brabourne's children were Viceroys of India.

In 1941, Lord Brabourne lied about his age – he was in fact seventeen – to enlist in the Coldstream Guards. By a coincidence he was among the troops drafted in as extras on Noel Coward's wartime classic In Which We Serve, based on the exploits of Lord Louis and HMS Kelly.

Lord Brabourne's younger brother Norton, an officer in the Grenadier Guards, was taken prisoner in 1943. He attempted an escape, but was recaptured and shot to deter others.

Himself commissioned, Lord Brabourne was in the thick of the action as the Guards swept through Europe following the Normandy landings in 1944. He was wounded in the shoulder.

Next he became ADC to General Sir William Slim of the 14th Army in South-East Asia. One day, the general invited the Supreme Allied Commander, Lord Louis, to tea at his Ceylon HQ. He took Lady Patricia with him, and that is when they met. The following year he became army ADC to Mountbatten, and he and Patricia were married in 1946 at Romsey Abbey.

Prince Charles wrote, 'Just tell him he and my godmother Patricia have been a part of my life since my earliest childhood recollections and they both mean a great deal to me.'

After demob, he went to work for film producer Herbert Wilcox and met a newly demobbed third assistant director, Richard Goodwin. They were to set up their own company, and the first film Lord Brabourne produced was Harry Black and the Tiger, starring Stewart Granger, who greeted him before going on stage.

International directors Lewis Gilbert, Sidney Lumet and Franco Zeffirelli paid tribute, as did producer David Puttnam.

The lives of Lord Brabourne and Lord Louis Mountbatten were inextricably linked from the moment he first met Patricia. And, with Patricia, he was at Lord Louis's side at the very end. A family fishing trip, a mile from Mullaghmore Harbour in County Sligo, on 27 August 1979, ended in a tragedy that made world headlines.

A bomb had been planted in the boat, resulting in the death of Lord Louis, Lord Brabourne's mother, Doreen Lady Brabourne, and his son Nicholas, aged fourteen, twin of Timothy. Local youngster Paul Maxwell aged fifteen, also died in the blast. Lord Brabourne himself, Patricia and Timothy were all seriously injured. Patricia ensures her father's memory lives on with the title she now proudly bears: Countess Mountbatten of Burma.

A moving example of this family's fighting spirit came from Lord Mountbatten's family home at Broadlands, where we filmed Lord Brabourne's son Norton, Lord Romsey, his wife Penny and their children Nicholas, aged nine, Alexandra, seven, and five-year-old Leonora, who was battling against cancer, and had been allowed home from Bart's Hospital for a few days.

Lord Romsey and Penny joined us live, and the family picture was completed with more grandchildren, Joanna's daughter Eleuthera, four, and surprise fly-ins from Portugal, Michael-John's wife Melissa, with their daughter whose name keeps alive the memory of Lord Mountbatten's heroic wartime experiences – two-year-old Kelly.

And a further reference from the same book...

Oliver Reed had taken the 'pledge' to behave himself for the 501st This Is Your Life bash at the Old Brewery in the City, but decided he'd like to take a bash at actor Patrick Mower instead. Ollie was legless.

'I'm only here for my old mate Eamonn,' he slurred. Ollie was escorted from the banqueting hall by former subjects wrestler Jackie Pallo and stuntman 'Nosher' Powell.

One man who missed it all was disc jockey Alan 'Fluff' Freeman.

All decked out in black tie he arrived for the gala evening the night after the event. He telephoned to say he must have got his dates mixed.

Series 31 subjects

Lord Brabourne | Graham Gooch | Norman Barrett | Richard Harris | Tracy Edwards | Stephen Hendry | Robert Pountney
Jimmy Savile | Evelyn Laye | Ernie Wise | Kenneth McKellar | Tom Gleave | Bernard Braden | Barry Foster | Carmen Silvera
Arthur Hailey | Tony Hatch and Jackie Trent | The Bee Gees | John Woodhouse | Evelyn Glennie | David Tomlinson
Dave Willetts | Harry Carpenter | Lionel Bart | Stan Richards | Lonnie Donegan