ORIGINALLY HOSTED by television’s most ill-at-ease presenter (EAMONN ANDREWS), THIS IS YOUR LIFE was a behemoth of a television programme, an institution that spanned decades, crossed channels, yet still was never able to surmount that “I’ll just flick over at the beginning to see if it’s anyone interesting” lack of engagement by the watching populace. Each edition would invariably start with that wonderful fanfare, disingenuously called “Gala Performance” (but quite obviously written so that the viewer could accompany that four note opening salvo with a musical rendition of the show’s title). After that, the camera would pan across to Andrews awkwardly hanging around outside a stage door, or just off set, preparing to present his menacing frame in front of one of light entertainment’s leading figures. From thereon Eamonn (and later MICHAEL ASPEL) would recount a highly tweaked version of said celebrities life to date, usually featuring some old school years battleaxe-with-a-heart-of-gold, plus a pre-recorded message from the celeb’s local boozer, in which friends and family not sufficiently interesting to be allowed through the studio door would indulge in a choreographed mass “cheers!” Each episode could also be relied upon to feature a genuinely interesting celebrity guest who we never got to hear from thanks to the fact they were already positioned on the opposing sofa when that week’s subject was corralled onto the stage. Never much more than a super-charged THROUGH THE KEYHOLE, crossed with a dash of SURPRISE, SURPRISE, THIS IS YOUR LIFE nonetheless provided ageing celebs with a platform for the type of hoary old anecdotage previously confined to the AGM of the Grand Order of Water Rats, and for that we should be grateful.