Oliver REED (1938-1999)

Oliver Reed This Is Your Life

programme details...

  • Edition No: 690
  • Subject No: 685
  • Broadcast date: Wed 8 Jan 1986
  • Broadcast time: 7.00-7.30pm
  • Recorded: Tue 7 Jan 1986
  • Venue: Royalty Theatre
  • Series: 26
  • Edition: 12
  • Code name: Book

on the guest list...

  • Reg Prince
  • Josephine - wife
  • Lawn Mower Raiders
  • Ian Dobson
  • Stirling Moss
  • members of Rosslyn Park FC team
  • Jenny Dobson
  • Bill Dobson
  • Johnny Placett
  • Vicky Prince
  • Susan George
  • Peter - father
  • David - brother
  • Nicola - niece
  • Simon - brother
  • Janice - sister-in-law
  • Robin - uncle
  • Sarah - daughter
  • Mark - son
  • John Frost
  • Lee Naismith
  • Johnny Simmons
  • Lester Hanson
  • John Radford
  • Geoff Coles
  • Ted Bickle
  • John Catford
  • Denis Edwards
  • Andre Beilfuss
  • Ron Moody
  • Shani Wallis
  • Ken Russell
  • Ivan Straker
  • Filmed tributes:
  • Michael Winner
  • Christopher Lee

production team...

  • Researchers: Sue Green, David N Mason
  • Writer: 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...
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Screenshots of Oliver Reed This Is Your Life

Oliver Reed biography

Robert Sellers recalls this edition of This Is Your Life in his book, What Fresh Lunacy Is This?...

Oliver had always been a popular chat show guest during the seventies, though his appearances on them were sporadic. He placed chat shows very much in the same categories as premieres: something he felt obliged to do rather than something he enjoyed.

'They weren't really his motivator,' says Mark. 'I never remember him relishing going on a Parkinson or a Russell Harty. It was dread, because of his shyness.'

And when in 1986 he was the subject of This Is Your Life, well you can guess his reaction. Halfway up to London he'd worked it out and went, "It's mine, isn't it?" and his whole body language changed.

'Doing that show would have been outrageously painful to him,' says Sarah. 'He hated every minute of it, except probably when Dadi (his driver in Barbados) was the surprise guest at the end. But the rest of it would have been completely grim to him. That was putting him out of his comfort zone.' Probably because he had to be himself.

Michael Winner autobiography

Michael Winner recalls this edition of This Is Your Life in his autobiography, Winner Takes All...

Many years later two Granada executives producing This Is Your Life came to me. They said, 'This Is Your Life is normally recorded in advance but we've decided to do a live one with Oliver Reed.' I said, 'Obviously you wish to leave Granada. You have another job to go to.' They said 'We're told by Oliver's family that the person he most respects in the world is you. If we tell him he's going to be on your This Is Your Life, Oliver will keep sober. So if you'll meet him in the lobby of the Adelphi Theatre, we'll then reveal that it's his This Is Your Life and we'll all be all right.' I said, 'It's very generous of Olly's family to have this great faith in me. You've got at best a 50/50 chance.'

They got Michael J. Pollard over from America and had him on an elephant ready to ride in. They had friends and family assembled in the Adelphi Theatre. I'd read in the newspapers that TV electricians were causing lightning strikes on Granada Television. I rang the producer and said, 'Look if any programme's going to be struck, it's you. Don't ask me to come in until forty-five minutes before you need me.'

Sadly, I was right. An hour before the programme was due to start, they rang me and said, 'The electricians are on strike!' They did Oliver Reed's This Is Your Life later. They took the wise precaution of recording it. I did my tribute from a beach in Barbados. Oliver in the studio gave me a wave and said in a funny voice, 'Hello, my dear!' He did it with great affection. I could see he was very moved by what I said.

Malcolm Morris biography

Producer Malcolm Morris recalls this edition of This Is Your Life in his book, This Is My Life...

Many of the team said we were dicing with death to plan the programme on Oliver Reed. As far as I was concerned he was a wonderful actor, one of the country's most famous, and I felt that the public had taken him to their hearts. Oliver's brother had promised to keep him on the straight and narrow because Ollie's drinking bouts were the stuff of legends. On the day he was as good as gold, we did a wonderful programme at the Royalty Theatre and all Oliver's friends were there. The programme finished at about 7.30pm and we had booked the bar area of the theatre for our private party afterwards. Oliver drank with each of his friends and as the evening wore on things began to warm up, and much alcohol was disappearing, but that was all right with me. Nobody got paid to come on the programme and therefore it was our duty to see that they were well entertained afterwards. That was fair in my book. The manager of the theatre, however, did not see things quite that way and began to grumble about the rowdiness that was going on.

'I'm going to close the bar,' he informed me.

'No, you can't do that, these are our guests and we have hired the theatre for our programme and the party.'

He was not happy and threatened to call the police.

'Well, I'm not going over to Oliver Reed to tell him and his friends to get out.' I turned to the irate manager. 'You can if you wish.'

'Yes, I will,' he said, and we all winced as he went over to the table and proceeded to have a long conversation with Ollie.

I watched Oliver as his happy expression changed into the sort of evil one that his many screen villains had adopted. He then seemed to rise in slow motion holding the manager in the air. I went over as quickly as I could carrying a crate of beer. 'Here we are, gentlemen, take this with you into your waiting car. Will this be enough?'

Oliver paused, smiled thanks and decided to put the manager down as opposed to throwing him across the room. He and his friends and two crates of beer then went almost quietly into the night and from there I know not where.

I do know, however, that I like Oliver Reed very much.

Series 26 subjects

William Roache | Dennis Taylor | Elisabeth Welch | Sheila Mercier | Richard Branson | Maurice Denham | David Ellaway
Terry O'Neill | Gerry Marsden | Joyce Carey | Chas n Dave | Oliver Reed | Felix Bowness | John Harris | Bonnie Langford
Henry Cotton | June McElnea | Derek Jameson | Richard Vernon | Martyn Lewis | Peter Shilton | Ted Rogers
Simon Williams | Larry Slater | Lena Kennedy | Denis Quilley