Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Arthur Askey - This Is Your Life (1974)


THIS IS YOUR LIFE - Arthur Askey, comedian, was surprised by Eamonn Andrews at Thames TV’s Euston Road Studios.

Eamonn sprung from a Humpty Dumpty outfit to surprise the popular comedian, who was discussing the history of Pantomime with fellow comedians Jimmy Tarbuck and Ted Ray.

Arthur was celebrating 50 years in show business, and had previously been a subject of This Is Your Life in December 1959
Arthur recalls his experience of This Is Your Life in his autobiography Before Your Very Eyes, beginning with a reference to his first tribute..."I would not put my This Is Your Life show among the top twenty. But sixteen years later... It is now December 1974. I am asked to do a TV discussion show, talking about pantomime with Ted Ray and Jimmy Tarbuck.

We were surrounded by pantomime animals - the cow, the cat, etc. - and the fairy, when suddenly ‘Humpty Dumpty’ waddles on and throws back the top of the egg. Out pops Eamonn, book in hand, and says (giving an impression of Mike Yarwood), ‘Arthur Askey - for the second time, this is your life.’ 
What a star-studded cast I had this time: darling Gracie Fields who had flown in from Capri, Sabrini who had travelled from Hollywood, Val Doonican, Jack Warner, June Whitfield, Dickie Henderson, David Nixon, Kathleen Harrison, Norman Vaughan, Jimmy Jewel, MacDonald Hobley, Barbara Mullen, Cyril Fletcher, Charlie Drake, Peter Butterworth, Jimmy Logan, and Charlie Chester!  Dickie Murdoch was again in South Africa so had to appear on film (ed - telephone actually!), as did Ken Dodd, who spoke from a classroom at the Liverpool Institute.

They also unearthed one of my old colleagues from the Education Offices - Frank Ball, now happily retired, as I would have been had I followed Father’s advice.  And, of course, Anthea appeared with Bill, her husband, and my three darling grandchildren - and, naturally, my sister Rene.

All in all, it was a marvelous thrill for me, only marred by the fact that I could not stay for the orgy afterwards as I had to appear in cabaret at Bournemouth at 11 o’clock.

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