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Wednesday, 5 December, 2001, 18:29 GMT
Oddie turns down TV red book
The Goodies
Bill Oddie (L) became famous for The Goodies
Former Goodies star Bill Oddie has turned away the This Is Your Life crew when they surprised him to tell him he was going to be on the show.

But his family, who had gathered to take part in the celebration of the presenter's life and career, were persuading him to change his mind and programme-makers were hopeful that the programme would be recorded.

Oddie, 60, became only the third person in the show's 46-year history to say "no" after the host pulled the famous red book out of the blue.

Michael Aspel, presenter of This is Your Life
Only two others have refused to appear on the show
He is most famous for his part in madcap comedy group The Goodies but has revealed how he has recently suffered from clinical depression.

"He turned it down, he said no, but has subsequently been persuaded by the family," a spokesman for Thames TV, who make the show, told BBC News Online.

"So we'll see whether the show does indeed get recorded but for the moment we're pretty hopeful."

He did not reveal why Oddie had turned the show down. "It's always a risk," he said.

Family and friends

Subjects of the show do not know they are going to take part until host Michael Aspel sneaks up on them at an unexpected moment while they are working.

Bill Oddie in Oddie Goes Wild
Oddie is now a wildlife presenter
They are then taken straight to a TV studio where their lives are picked through by assembled family and friends.

The Thames TV spokesman could not confirm what Oddie was doing when he was approached by Aspel and the show's crew.

Since The Goodies ended in 1982, Oddie has reinvented himself as a wildlife presenter, fronting shows like Bill Oddie Goes Wild and Oddie In Paradise.

'Suicidal'

But he suffered clinical depression at the end of last year and spent eight days in hospital in January.

"My mind wandered in a suicidal direction but, fortunately, I was so paralysed by the depression that I didn't have the energy to do anything about it," he told the Daily Mail newspaper in August.

He also told the newspaper that he had recovered and got control of his negative streak.

The only other personalities to turn down This Is Your Life were footballer Danny Blanchflower in the 1950s and author Richard Gordon in the 1970s - although Gordon was later persuaded to change his mind.

See also:

23 Feb 00 | Entertainment
Aspel takes Antiques job
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