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This Is Your Life

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This Is Your Life was a long-running television programme which originated in the United States of America in 1952. A version began on the BBC on 29th July 1955 and its format of a celebrity being gently tricked into having their life story told in front of an appreciative audience and also being reunited with surprise guests became popular with viewers.


Annie in the limelight

When the residents of Coronation Street planned a Christmas party in December 1963, Myra Booth came up with the suggestion of having their own This Is Your Life presentation on one of the residents. The event was planned by Dennis Tanner, Len Fairclough and Albert Tatlock and the people involved in springing the surprise were sworn to secrecy as to who the victim was. As the gathered audience watched in the Mission Hall, Dennis, as host of the evening and complete with his own "big red book" of the story of his subject, walked through the audience, teasing various members that they could be his target, before settling on an amazed Annie Walker. She made her way to the stage where her "years of public service" as the landlady of the Rovers Return Inn were relayed to the audience, most of who knew the story anyway. She heard a recording of greeting from Arthur Forsythe-Jones who she had met the year before in Babbacombe and who had stayed at the Rovers for a couple in weeks in the previous June, had a surprise appearance from fellow member of the St Agnes Amateur Operatic Society Edgar Nuttall with who she sang a duet, disagreed openly with Ena Sharples over the exact date she and Jack took over the tenancy of the Rovers and was delighted to be "reunited" with her children, Billy and Joan. One of the final guests was Esther Hayes who used the occasion to tell the assembled throng that she was moving away from the area to live in Glasgow.

The only sore point for Annie was a painful reminder that she played the part of Lady Godiva in a Weatherfield pageant in the 1930s. To reinforce her embarrassment, a picture of Annie in the pageant (tastefully photographed from behind) appeared on the projection screen and another surprise guest was a Mr. Stubbins who had led the donkey that Annie had sat on all those years ago. The pursed-lipped look on her face at this stage of the proceedings suitably conveyed her emotions.

All ended successfully though when the audience joined in a chorus of For She's A Jolly Good Fellow.

Real LifeEdit

In reality, the BBC version of the programme ended in 1964 but the format was resurrected by Thames Television in 1969. As another ITV company, they were keen to feature as many Coronation Street stars as possible and this trend continued even when the programme returned to the BBC in 1994. Below are listed the members of the Coronation Street regular cast who were subjects of the programme, together with a second list of people who made guest appearances on the Street or who had connections with it but whose fame overall led to them being featured in their own right over the years. Dates after the names relate to the date of transmission of the relevant edition of This Is Your Life.

Regular castEdit


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