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Last Updated: Tuesday, 21 October, 2003, 10:55 GMT 11:55 UK
BBC One drops This Is Your Life
Michael Aspel
Host Michael Aspel quit in June
The BBC has axed classic celebrity show This Is Your Life - but the famous red book may not have closed for ever.

The programme ambushed stars and took them in front of a studio audience for a look at their lives.

BBC One controller Lorraine Heggessey said: "It's never easy to bring such a long-running show to an end, but I see this more as au revoir than goodbye."

The makers of the show, Talkback Thames, said they were in negotiations with other broadcasters.

'Delight audiences'

"This Is Your Life is an institution and one which the British public have enjoyed for almost 50 years," a spokesman said.

"We respect the BBC's decision not to recommission the show but are actively talking to other broadcasters about it and are hopeful it will continue to delight audiences throughout the UK."

The show began on the BBC in 1955, moving to ITV between 1969-93 before returning to BBC One the following year.

It was first hosted by Eamonn Andrews, who was succeeded by Michael Aspel in 1988 after the original presenter died.

But in June, Aspel announced that he was quitting the show.

Rare refusals

At its peak, This Is Your Life was watched by 20 million viewers - but just 3.5 million tuned in for the final BBC One episode, featuring Aled Jones, in August.

Only three stars in the show's history have refused to take part after family and friends had gathered in a studio.

Footballer Danny Blanchflower refused to appear in the 1950s and author Richard Gordon also backed out but was later persuaded to take part.

Two years ago, former Goodies star and wildlife enthusiast Bill Oddie turned away the This is Your Life crew - but later agreed to appear.

Aspel closes big red book
03 Jun 03  |  Entertainment
This is Your Life faces axe
15 May 03  |  Entertainment
Oddie turns down TV red book
05 Dec 01  |  Entertainment

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