These Were Your Lives

This Is Your Life series 1 titles

programme details...

  • Broadcast date: Sun 20 May 1956
  • Broadcast time: 7.45 - 8.30pm
  • Recorded: Mon 30 Apr 1956
  • Venue: BBC Television Theatre
  • Series: 1

production team...

  • Researchers: Peter Moore, Nigel Ward
  • Writer: Gale Pedrick
  • Music: James Turner
  • Director: unknown
  • Producer: T Leslie Jackson

related pages...

Series 1

Eamonn Andrews

a brief biography


the show's fifty year history

Birth of Life

the genesis of the programme

Ralph Edwards

the man who created it all

The Surprise of Your Life

Radio Times previews the first edition

This Is Your Life

Radio Times previews the second edition

American Feature Arrives

The Manchester Guardian reviews the first edition

This Is Your Life: The Show that can never be fully rehearsed

TV Mirror goes behind-the-scenes of the first series

This is Leslie Jackson's Life

Interview with the first producer of This Is Your Life

Split Second Danny

Radio Times feature on the programme's chauffeur

Eamonn Andrews

Donald Campbell

Hugh Oloff de Wet

Johanna Harris

Freddie Mills

Ted Ray

Henry Starling

Johanna Harris This Is Your Life   Johanna Harris This Is Your Life

Gunilla Rix recalled how she wore a fake plaster cast to lead the British Red Cross nurse Johanna Harris to believe she had broken her leg in a ruse to get her to the theatre and before the cameras to be the subject of This Is Your Life.


Johanna Harris was later congratulated by Eamonn after receiving a surprise telegram informing her she was to meet HM Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, as a representative of the British Red Cross.

Ted Ray This Is Your Life   This Is Your Life's Big Red Book

Eamonn surprised comedian Ted Ray and his wife Sybil by introducing Ted's colleague, Kenneth Connor - who had been due to appear on Ted's edition - while Sybil told how she kept the secret from her husband.


Eamonn welcomed back market porter Henry Starling, who was given a holiday in Italy for himself and his wife Maud after their appearance on This Is Your Life. The couple met Mr K W Vale, who donated the trip, while Henry recalled how he felt about the tribute.

Eamonn Andrews This Is Your Life   Donald Campbell This Is Your Life

From the same seat in which he was surprised by American compere Ralph Edwards to be the subject of the first This Is Your Life, Eamonn Andrews was reminded how Freddie Mills tricked him into believing that he was to be the principal subject.


The Chiswick schoolboy Barry Knight, who helped bring the record-breaker Donald Campbell before the cameras, recalled how it was done to Eamonn.

Danny Roman and Eamonn Andrews This Is Your Life   This Is Your Life's Big Red Book

Danny Roman, a driver whose precision timing helped bring the unsuspecting subjects of This Is Your Life to the BBC Television Theatre at exactly the right moment, recalled some near misses to Eamonn.


The artist Hugh Oloff de Wet demonstrated to Eamonn how he was handcuffed in solitary confinement during the war.