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This Is Your Life

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  • JP received the big book treatment from Michael Aspel after presenting Top Of The Pops on 1995-12-14. The programme was broadcast 1996-01-24. (Ken Garner, The Peel Sessions p150, p235)

Peel Remembers

(From John’s Jukebox: 1990s 31 August 1999)

I hadn’t done Top Of The Pops for nine years and the technology has overtaken me. And I found it a most gruelling experience, because I kept looking in the wrong places and doing the wrong things and making people go back and do everything again and again and again.

But right at the end I was thinking to myself, “If I get this link right, within ten minutes I’ll be in the car, I can listen to the second half of the match on the radio, and I can buy a bag of chips in Baldock, and be home by 10, you know.”

I could feel someone pushing really hard at my right shoulder, and I thought, “When this is over, I’m going to turn around and give them a piece of my mind.” And I turned around, and of course it is Michael Aspel with the red book.

I was very wise, because I didn’t do that thing where you kind of go, “Michael, me? Little old me?” Because I thought myself I’d be the butt of the nation’s jokes for the rest of my life if he said, “Sorry, John, not this time. This is …” You know, then: “Narvel Felts, ace cameraman, this is your life!” I though, “No, I’d never recover from that.” So I hesitated a bit, but once I realised it was me…

You know, you think when you are sitting in the pub and talking to your chums and stuff, you say, “Of course, if they ever did it to me, I’d tell them where to go.” Everybody always says that. But when it happens, a lot of things happen.

First of all, you think, “It wouldn’t have got this far if Sheila, my wife, hadn’t OK’ed it.” And then, kind of curiosity takes over, because you want to know who they’ve got.


John Peel's This is Your Life (Part 1 2)15:06

John Peel's This is Your Life (Part 1 2)

John Peel's This is Your Life (Part 2 2)13:55

John Peel's This is Your Life (Part 2 2)


(Studio): Sheila Ravenscroft (wife); (children) Alexandra, William, Thomas, Florence Ravenscroft; Alan, Frank Ravenscroft (brothers); David Jensen (BBC Radio One DJ, Top Of The Pops co-host); Malcolm Davis (schoolfriend); Tony Blackburn, Ed Stewart (DJs, Radio London, Radio One); Alan Freeman (BBC Radio One DJ); Andy Kershaw (BBC Radio One DJ), John Walters (Peel show producer), David Gedge (Wedding Present), Paul Whitehouse (comedian), Ken Dowe (KLIF DJ);

(Video): David Bowie, Kenny Dalglish (Liverpool FC), Ken Dowe (KLIF, Dallas), Billy Connelly (comedian, ex-Humblebums), Richard Branson (Virgin Records), Mark E Smith (Fall)

(Others): included Bernie Andrews (BBC, Peel show producer) (Garner p150)

See also

Pages including transcriptions of some of the individual tributes on the programme:

After Peel's death, surprise This Is Your Life guest Ken Dowe of KLIF radio station in Dallas posted an online tribute here.

Lonnie Donegan

Prior to his own appearance on This Is Your Life, Peel helped set up Lonnie Donegan for the programme, broadcast on 1991-04-17. JP recalled the experience on his 08 January 1994 (BFBS) show:

"I had to pretend to be doing a kind of interview programme for television - so it was a proper television studio and a studio audience. ... Obviously they'd applied for tickets and they they were hoping they were going to see someone like Cilla Black, you know, instead of which there was me sitting there - they must have been grievously disappointed. … So I had to go and sit there, and I'm not very good at that sort of thing at the best of times, and I am incredibly nervous, and I am thinking, "I'm going to meet Lonnie Donegan.” … I just sort of said, "Welcome to Lonnie Donegan," and we did the first little bit of film and everything and the programme was going on as though it was a proper programme, and then Michael Aspel leapt out from behind the sort of scenery and so forth, and off they went with This Is Your Life. But a proud moment in my life."



Peel sets up Lonnie Donegan.

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