The Bee GEES - Barry (1946-) Robin (1949-2012) and Maurice GIBB (1949-2003)

The Bee Gees This Is Your Life

programme details...

  • Edition No: 802
  • Subject Nos: 790-792
  • Broadcast date: Wed 20 Feb 1991
  • Broadcast time: 7.00-7.30pm
  • Recorded: Thu 3 Jan 1991
  • Venue: Teddington Studios
  • Series: 31
  • Edition: 18
  • Code name: Hits

on the guest list...

  • Steve Wright
  • Bob Harris
  • Tony Blackburn
  • Alan Freeman
  • Jimmy Savile
  • Linda - Barry's wife
  • Michael - Barry's son
  • Travis - Barry's son
  • Ashley - Barry's son
  • Stephen - Barry's son
  • Dwina - Robin's wife
  • Robin-John - Robin's son
  • Spencer - Robin's son
  • Yvonne - Maurice's wife
  • Samantha - Maurice's daughter
  • Adam - Maurice's son
  • Barbara - mother
  • Hughie - father
  • Susan George
  • Michael Jackson - via telephone
  • Kenny Everett
  • Frankie Howerd
  • Bill Gates
  • Filmed tributes:
  • Neil Sedaka
  • Robert Stigwood
  • Lesley - sister
  • Lesley's family
  • Kenny Rogers
  • Dionne Warwick
  • Diana Ross
  • Barbra Streisand

production team...

  • Researcher: Sue Green
  • 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...

A Song For Life

it's the singer not the song

Top of the Pops

charting the pop stars

Family Life

keeping it in the family

A Double Life

two's company

Behind the Scenes

the programme's best kept secrets

Tony Blackburn

Alan Freeman

Susan George

Bob Harris

Jimmy Savile

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Screenshots of The Bee Gees 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 Bee Gees emigrated to Australia with their parents and found success. The family sailed there on August Bank Holiday 1958 on the £10 'assisted passage' scheme, brought in to encourage more British to settle in Australia. It more than paid for itself.

They were in the studio of DJ Steve Wright at Broadcasting House on the afternoon on 3 January 1991. On the turntable was their hit 'Got to Get a Message to You'. What they didn't know was that Michael Aspel was on his way with our special message.

For weeks, John Graham had been travelling to the Florida homes of Barry Gibb and his brothers, twins Robin and Maurice, conducting top-secret interviews with their wives. It was a well-kept secret, too, because when Michael Aspel walked into that radio studio the boys were dumbfounded.

'Jesus, I don't believe it!' yelled one, and buried his head in his hands. 'Stitched up like kippers!' shrieked another. The studio crew and producers burst into spontaneous applause as Michael delivered the line: 'Tonight, the Bee Gees, This Is Your Life.'

Outside, our limousine waited, engine ticking over, to take them to the studios at Teddington. Normally, on this journey, subjects are treated to a glass or two of champagne, but the Bee Gees do not touch alcohol and settled for diet coke. Michael Aspel travels separately, and for a good reason. Making idle chat during the journey he could easily let slip a surprise we have in store.

The Bee Gees' story spanned three decades of pop music, and the star names giving their personal tributes to the boys, not only as performers, but as composers, included Kenny Rogers, Dionne Warwick, Neil Sedaka, Diana Ross and Barbra Streisand.

Researcher Sue Green had been trying for weeks to get past the security screen surrounding Michael Jackson. On the morning of the programme her home telephone rang. It was Michael Jackson. He wanted to record a greeting there and then on her answering machine – but Sue hadn't a clue how to set it. 'I'll call back,' said Jackson. Luckily he did – because shell-shocked Sue hadn't taken his number.

Sue had also flown to Las Vegas, where the boy's parents, Hughie and Barbara were living. They came over. And Hughie's offstage line got a huge laugh from his sons: 'Do they realise it's taken an English TV programme to get your mother off the slot machines in Las Vegas?'

Barbara told how the boys were singing in harmony when they were still at infant school in England. And when the family emigrated they sang from the back of a lorry at Brisbane speedway track, where the crowd threw coins to them. Yet remarkably, the writers of hits like 'Massachusetts', 'Jive Talking,' 'How to Mend a Broken Heart' and so many more cannot read music.

Susan George, a long-time family friend, very kindly praised the way the programme handled a tribute to the boys' later brother, Andy, who had died at the age of only thirty, three years before.

For our final surprise we flew in the Brisbane DJ who had first talent-spotted the boys at the speedway track. His name was Bill Gates, and it was he who gave them the name the Bee Gees.

The Bee Gees This Is Your Life

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