Paul NICHOLAS (1944-)

Paul Nicholas This Is Your Life

programme details...

  • Edition No: 811
  • Subject No: 801
  • Broadcast date: Wed 16 Oct 1991
  • Broadcast time: 7.00-7.30pm
  • Recorded: Tue 1 Oct 1991
  • Venue: HTV Studios, Bristol
  • Series: 32
  • Edition: 1
  • Code name: Saint

on the guest list...

  • Linzi - wife
  • Peggy - mother
  • Oscar - father
  • Screaming Lord Sutch
  • Oliver Tobias
  • Patti Boulaye
  • Victor Spinetti
  • Dominic King
  • Frank Musker
  • Christopher Neil
  • Wayne Sleep
  • Michael Ball
  • David Ian
  • Dora Bryan
  • Jan Francis
  • Filmed tributes:
  • Robert Stigwood
  • Andrew Lloyd Webber
  • Elaine Paige
  • David Essex
  • Belinda Lang

production team...

  • Researcher: Elizabeth Ross
  • Writer: Roy Bottomley
  • Directors: Brian Klein, Paul Kirrage
  • Associate Producer: John Graham
  • Producer: Malcolm Morris
  • names above in bold indicate subjects of This Is Your Life
related pages...

Life is a Cabaret

a musical theatre chorus line

Behind the Scenes

the programme's best kept secrets

A Life Remembered

tributes to the original presenter

How We Kept The Secret

TV Times interviews recent subjects

Klein's having the time of his life

The Stage interview with Associate Producer Brian Klein

Dora Bryan

Andrew Lloyd Webber

Wayne Sleep

Paul Nicholas This Is Your Life Paul Nicholas This Is Your Life Paul Nicholas This Is Your Life Paul Nicholas This Is Your Life Paul Nicholas This Is Your Life Paul Nicholas This Is Your Life Paul Nicholas This Is Your Life Paul Nicholas This Is Your Life Paul Nicholas This Is Your Life Paul Nicholas This Is Your Life Paul Nicholas This Is Your Life Paul Nicholas This Is Your Life

Screenshots of Paul Nicholas This Is Your Life

Paul Nicholas autobiography

Paul Nicholas recalls his experience of This Is Your Life in his autobiography, Behind the Smile...

During the run of Barnum I was in Bristol one night coming down the death slide at the end of the show. Unfortunately the rope sagged. I didn't have enough momentum to reach the stage, which meant I was left dangling over the orchestra pit.

They had told me they were filming a commercial for the show and all I could think of was, 'This has messed up the TV commercial.' It was really embarrassing. It had never happened before and finally they managed to haul me on stage. It was very ungainly.

At that point the audience applauded. I thought they were applauding my heroics. I glanced to my right and on walked Michael Aspel holding the famous Red Book. He said, 'Paul Nicholas - This Is Your Life.'

Paul Nicholas This Is Your Life

I had no idea. Then I put two and two together. Of course the cameras were there to film him coming on. It wasn't a commercial. I had been totally conned. Everyone else in the company knew except me. I didn't have a clue.

When I was at the height of my television fame with Just Good Friends a few years earlier, I had always said to Linzi, 'If anybody ever contacts you from This Is Your Life the answer is "No!".' She said, 'Right.' I caught them out once. Somebody asked to speak to Linzi and it sounded like a very dodgy call. They pretended they were from a bookshop and I smelt it immediately. I couldn't think of anything worse than someone trotting out somebody I had not seen for a hundred years and saying, 'Do you remember Malcolm?'

I was not remotely interested in being the subject of This Is Your Life, but before I knew it I was backstage about to be whisked off to Bristol because they recorded it in a studio rather than on the stage. They'd had a suit brought in for me. My Irish dresser Trish McCauley knew, as did the cast. They'd all managed to keep it secret from me. They gave me time to have a shower and get changed. Then I walked out on to the set in front of an audience. There they were, all my family, friends and the rest of the cast.

Linzi had known about it since July. She had to keep this secret from the nosiest man in the world and she did. She had explained that I would not be comfortable in meeting blasts from the past, people I had not encountered for years. So it was a fairly civilised bunch like Jan Francis, Michael Ball, David Essex, Andrew Lloyd Webber, Victor Spinetti, Oliver Tobias, Elaine Paige, Wayne Sleep, Patty Boulaye, Belinda Lang, Dora Bryan, Robert Stigwood and my old employer, Screaming Lord Sutch.

Paul Nicholas 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...

Paul Nicholas, one of Britain's most popular television comedy actors because of his performance as Vince in Just Good Friends, was wearing another identity when Michael Aspel travelled to the Bristol Hippodrome to surprise him when the curtain came down on the musical Barnum on 1 October 1991.

He had started his musical career with the band of Screaming Lord Sutch and the Savages – and we could prove it by running a piece of film showing Paul in the band's leopard-skin outfit. Even better, 'Lord' David Sutch himself appeared to present Paul with his old costume. This time it was the audience who screamed.

Paul bade farewell to the Savages to star in Hair in 1968. The controversial musical also launched Oliver Tobias, who joined us in Bristol, as did singer Patti Boulaye. Hair coincided with the end of theatre censorship, and there was some nudity in the show, but Patti said she and Paul managed to keep their clothes on.

We heard from Andrew Lloyd Webber, Elaine Paige, and King Herod from Jesus Christ Superstar, Victor Spinetti. Wayne Sleep appeared from Cats and Michael Ball from Pirates of Penzance.

From a clip of Just Good Friends – a screen kiss in which they 'crashed' their scooter crash-helmets – came Penny, Jan Francis.

Paul Nicholas This Is Your Life

Series 32 subjects

Paul Nicholas | Keith Floyd | Gwyneth Jones | Norman Painting | Thelma Barlow | Nobby Stiles | Bernard Manning
Elizabeth McColgan | Michael Nicholson | Pam Ferris | David Berglas | Gary Glitter | Nigel Havers | Mo Moreland
Tony Blackburn | Wendy Toye | Alan Bleasdale | George Shearing | Jim Howard | Kevin Lloyd | Josef Locke
Robert Lindsay | Hannah Hauxwell | Rory Underwood | Susan Hampshire | Chris De Burgh