Thursday, 4 June 2015
153 This Is Your Life
First watched : Uncertain
I first saw this long-running show after I started watching Coronation Street because it was on just before it on a Wednesday. It was quite a frustrating thing to watch as a kid because I usually didn't know much about the week's subject so after the tension-filled opening when Eamonn Andrews jumped out on him / her , my interest in the programme usually deflated rather rapidly.
This was particularly the case when the subject wasn't a sportsperson or entertainer but some do-gooder e.g cancer survivor and subsequent campaigner Pat Seed and you'd get a parade of people you'd never heard of giving stilted tributes for half an hour. You can't imagine anything like that getting a prime time slot today.
Of course the programme was glib and superficial and skated over any awkward episodes in the subject's life.
It started on BBC1 in 1955 and ran until 1964 when Eamonn Andrews defected to ITV. Thames resurrected it with Andrews resuming as host . When Andrews died in 1987 Michael Aspel took over. That's round about when I stopped watching Corrie so I guess this fell out of my viewing schedule too.
It moved back to the BBC in 1994 though still produced by Thames and I did catch the odd episode. I remember Mike Rutherford and Christopher Cazenove being featured but it seemed even more superficial than I remembered it with a bias towards bringing in tenuously linked celebrities rather than friends and relatives . The last episode I can recall watching featured ahem Stuart Hall ( minus under age lady friends of course ) and I remember him having to fake enthusiasm for Alistair McGowan coming on to do an impression when it looked suspiciously like they'd never met before.
It was axed as a regular series in 2003 but there has been a one off special with Trevor McDonald to stroke Simon Cowell's ego in 2007. I'm certainly glad I missed that one.