This Is Your Life (UK TV series)

Infobox Television
show_name = This Is Your Life


caption = Title card of 2007 revival
genre = Documentary
Biography
presenter = Eamonn Andrews;
Michael Aspel;
Trevor McDonald
starring =
country = UK
producer = BBC;
Thames Television;
ITV Productions/
SMG Productions
runtime =
network = BBC One;
ITV
first_aired = 1955-1964, 1969-2003, 2007-

"This Is Your Life" is a television documentary series airing in the United Kingdom, originally on BBC Television, and now ITV. It is based on the US show of the same name which aired from 1952 to 1961, and again in 1972 on NBC.

The UK version was launched in 1955 on the BBC and was presented by Eamonn Andrews (who also ended up being the first "victim"). It ended in 1964 when Eamonn Andrews moved to ABC, but it was revived on ITV (produced by Thames Television) in 1969, and Michael Aspel (himself [http://www.tv-ark.org.uk/itvlondon/thames/progs/thisisyourlife1980s.rm a "victim" in 1980] ) became presenter after Andrews died in 1987. It returned to the BBC in 1994, though it was still produced independently by Thames Television, and was axed again in 2003. It returned again in 2007.

Celebrity guests on the UK version included Muhammad Ali , Ken Dodd , David Nixon, Frankie Howerd, Norman Wisdom, David Jason, Jeremy Beadle, Anne Kirkbride, Lord Mountbatten, Frank Skinner, Jim Davidson, Charlie Cairoli, Joan Collins, Bernard Manning, Shirley Bassey, Stephen Behan father of Brendan Behan and Dominic Behan, Windsor Davies, Sydney MacEwan, Peter Davison, Alfred Marks, Brian Rix, George Best, Spike Milligan, Jon Pertwee, Eric Sykes, Marty Wilde, Justin Hayward, Bernard Braden, Paul Young, Gary Glitter, Patrick Macnee, The Bee Gees, Bill Oddie, Tim Brooke-Taylor, producer Bill Kenwright, Barbara Windsor, DJ John Peel, and Lynn Redgrave in December 1996, who was caught while taking her bow in her one-woman show on stage at the Haymarket Theatre, the only time the Redgrave clan was seen together onstage at the same time. Bob Hope and Dudley Moore have been the only subjects of two-part editions of the programme, in 1970 and 1987 respectively. Both were broadcast over two weeks. Clive Mantle's profile included a post-credits sequence where he thanked the audience for coming.

Footballer Danny Blanchflower turned down the "red book" on the British show in February 1961, as did author Richard Gordon (of "Doctor in the House" fame) in 1974. In 2001 Bill Oddie (of "The Goodies") initially turned it down, but changed his mind and appeared on the show. Actor Richard Beckinsale was a feature on the show shortly after his 31st birthday, 8 months before his death.

Originally it included non-celebrities who had done extraordinary things in their lives. In later years, following a persistent criticism of only deeming celebrities worthy of being featured on the show, non-celebrities were featured again. These included businesspeople, military personnel, the clergy and those had performed outstanding community or charity service but who were not well-known to the general public. Examples include Group Captain Sir Leonard Cheshire, Chay Blyth, Sir Nicholas Winterton and Sir Fitzroy Maclean. The series never profiled serving politicians, although retired politicians were occasionally featured, e.g. Lord Brabourne.

A few celebrities have appeared on the show twice, though, such as Bob Monkhouse and Eamonn Andrews himself. On 10 December 1969, the 20-year-old model Twiggy became the UK show's youngest "victim" - a record which still stands. When snooker player Stephen Hendry was surprised with the red book in 1990, aged 21, he remarked that he had "hardly had a life".

"This Is Your Life" returned in June 2007 on ITV for a special programme hosted by Sir Trevor McDonald. Simon Cowell was the first "victim" of the new series. The new edition was co-produced by ITV Productions, SMG Productions, TIYL Productions, Click TV and Ralph Edwards Productions.


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