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Jeremy Beadle MBE
Born 12 April 1948(1948-04-12)
Hackney, London, England
Died 30 January 2008 (aged 59)
North London, England
Occupation TV presenter, writer and producer.
Spouse(s) Susan Marshall
Children Cassie and Bonnie
and stepchildren Leo and Clare[1]

Jeremy James Anthony Gibson-Beadle, MBE (12 April 1948 – 30 January 2008) was an English television presenter, writer and producer.


Early life

Beadle was born in Hackney, East London, on 12 April 1948. His father, a Fleet Street sports reporter, abandoned Jeremy's mother when he learned that she was pregnant. Before Jeremy reached the age of two, he was frequently hospitalised and had undergone surgery for Poland syndrome, a rare genetic disorder which stunted growth in his right hand.[2]

His mother worked as a secretary to help pay to raise him. Beadle did not enjoy school, and was frequently in trouble. He was eventually expelled from his secondary school, Orpington County Secondary Boys' School.[2][3]

After his expulsion, he travelled and worked throughout Europe. He had a number of jobs, at one point taking photographs of topless models,[2] and worked as a skin diving instructor, lavatory attendant and tour guide. He often said that he gave the best London tour.

Beadle was chosen around 1970 by Tony Elliott, the founder of Time Out, to set up a Manchester edition of the magazine, a venture which was short-lived,[4] though he subsequently maintained a connection with the publication in London. In 1972, North West Arts Association asked him to organise the Bickershaw Festival,[2] and he worked on further musical events over the next couple of years. In 1973, as an early member of the Campaign for Real Ale, he was elected to their National Executive and secured the Campaign's first TV or radio coverage in a one hour programme on BBC Radio London, which he hosted.[5] It was during this period that his talent for practical jokes became evident, although occasionally this rebounded on him, such as when colleagues left him naked in front of 400 women arriving for their shift.[3] He then started writing for radio and television, going on to provide material for stars such as Terry Wogan, Michael Aspel, Noel Edmonds and Kenny Everett.[2]

Later public life

Radio and television

He began supplying odd facts and questions to radio and television game shows, such as Celebrity Squares. On another late-evening phone-in show titled Nightline on LBC in London during the late 1970s (where he used to announce himself as Jeremy James Anthony Gibson-Beadlebum and his Producer as 'Butch' Bavin Cook) he developed a cult following. On Capital Radio he presented Beadle's Odditarium, a music show concentrating on strange, bizarre and rare recordings all taken from the archives of producer Phil Swern. He also became renowned for his off-air pranks and intellectually challenging quizzes. He wrote, devised and presented many television pilots for the highly successful game show company Action Time. He wrote and became the presenter of The Deceivers, a BBC2 television series recounting the history of swindlers and hoaxers.[6] The success of this led to using the same format for Eureka, which told the background behind everyday inventions. He then went on to become nationally famous as one of the presenters of LWT's Game for a Laugh (along with Matthew Kelly, Henry Kelly and Sarah Kennedy),a pivotal show in the history of English television since it was the first time ITV 'won' the Saturday night ratings battle. This was followed by a hidden-camera style practical joke show, Beadle's About (1986–1996) which became the world's longest continuously running hidden camera show. From 1990 he wrote and presented You've Been Framed!, a family show featuring humorous clips from viewers' home video recordings. An off-shoot of this was Beadle's Hotshots featuring viewers' intentionally funny parodies and sketches (some of which were re-edited and even re-shot by a young Edgar Wright in his first industry job, other sketches and scripts were produced by writer/director Chris Barfoot[7]). In total, Beadle hit the UK Number One ratings slot four times. In 1995, reflecting his days on LBC, he presented a relatively short-lived but hugely popular Sunday late-evening show on the newly launched Talk Radio UK. As well as his considerable television output as writer, presenter and producer he appeared in numerous pantomimes and acted as ring master for many circuses notably for Gerry Cottle. He also worked as a consultant for many television companies, wrote books and presented quizzes both commercially and for charity. As a radio presenter he was chairman of a brief revival of Animal, Vegetable, Mineral? on BBC Radio 4.


Beadle wanted to be the British Robert L. Ripley. A love of trivia led him to write Today's the Day, (published in UK by WH Allen in 1979 and by Signet in the United States two years later), researched in his own library of more than 25,000 volumes. This book recounts — for any given day of the year — notable births, deaths and other events which occurred on this date in previous years. Beadle briefly performed a similar duty on television's TV-am, informing each morning's viewers of prominent events on this date in past years.

For more than two years, he scripted a daily cartoon series of Today's the Day for the Daily Express. He worked alongside Irving Wallace and son David Wallechinsky and daughter Amy Wallace as the biggest contributor to the sex and death chapters of the sensationally successful The Book of Lists and was the London editor of The People's Almanac 2. The Wallaces' book The Intimate Sex Lives of Famous People (Dell (USA) Hutchinson (UK), 1981) was researched in part in Beadle's library, which contained an extensive canon of erotic literature. In autumn 2007 three new Beadle titles were published; Firsts, Lasts & Onlys Crime, Firsts, Lasts & Onlys Military (both co-authored by Ian Harrison) and Beadle's Miscellany a thousand incredibly tough questions from his weekly quizzes in The Independent. He guest edited the January 2008 edition of True Detective magazine which featured contributions from his friends who are crime experts including James Morton,[8] Paul Donnelley,[9] Andrew Rose and Matthew Spicer.

General knowledge

Renowned for his general knowledge, he was host of Win Beadle's Money (based on the US format Win Ben Stein's Money). Beadle lost his money only eight times in 52 shows. He wrote and presented a notoriously difficult quiz at London's The Atlantic Grill restaurant then owned by Oliver Peyton, often attended by celebrities and members of the press. He also wrote a quiz for The Independent every Saturday. He occasionally appeared as a panellist on BBC Radio 4's Quote... Unquote and in dictionary corner for Channel 4's Countdown.

Charity work

In the 2001 New Year Honours, he was made a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) for his services to charity.[10] Beadle was a keen supporter of the charity Children With Leukaemia, a disease he suffered from himself in 2005. He spent much time raising money for many different charities with Plastermind his 'outrageous quiz for those who don't like quizzes', as well as a school video venture called CamClass.[11]

Beadle was a Trust Patron of The Philip Green Memorial Trust, and he annually hosted a quiz party to raise money for disadvantaged children.

Beadle was Patron of Reach, an organisation providing support and advice for children in the UK with hand or arm deficiencies, and their parents.[12]

He was also a well respected and active Freemason, being a member of Westminster City Council Lodge No. 2882. Although he did not join this organisation until after his television heyday was over, he quickly became involved with all aspects of English Freemasonry, and particularly its charitable work, often using his celebrity status to assist in raising funds for masonic charities.[13] Beadle also helped to raise money, around £35,000, for the Air Training Corps in late 2007.[citation needed]

It is estimated that his total charitable fund raising was of the order of £100 million.[14]

Health and disability

Beadle had Poland syndrome[15] and was one of the first TV presenters with a visible disability which manifested itself as a disproportionately small right hand.[1]

In 2004, Beadle discovered he had developed cancer of the kidney and underwent a successful operation to remove it. However, in April 2005, a blood test during a routine post-op medical checkup led to him being diagnosed with leukaemia. Beadle was successfully treated for this too, though two serious illnesses in such a short space of time were detrimental to his general state of health.


On 25 January 2008, it was reported that Beadle had been admitted to The London Hospital and was subsequently placed in a critical Care Unit due to severe pneumonia.[16][17][18] He died on 30 January 2008, aged 59.[14]. On 2 February 2008, ITV1 dedicated that day's episode of You've Been Framed to Jeremy, and promoted their tribute webpage to him over the show's credits. ITV1's official tribute to Jeremy Beadle was broadcast on 4 February 2008 where various celebrity friends including Sir Alan Sugar paid tribute.[19] He was cremated at Marylebone Crematorium on 14 February 2008.[20] A further tribute was aired on Friday 16 May, An Audience Without Jeremy Beadle, hosted by Chris Tarrant and with contributions from Sir Alan Sugar, Henry Kelly, Ken Campbell, Anneka Rice and others.[21]

His obituary in The Daily Telegraph noted that he "achieved the paradoxical double distinction of being voted the second most hated man in Britain (after Saddam Hussein) and of being the most avidly watched presenter on television".[22]

TV appearances



  • Today's the Day - A Chronicle of the Curious (1979, US edition 1981)
  • The Book of Outlawed Inventions (with Chris Winn)
  • Beadle's About (with Robert Randell)
  • How to Make Your Own Video Blockbuster (with Mark Leigh and Mike Lepine)
  • Watch Out! My Autobiography (with Alec Lom)
  • The Gossip's Guide to Madame Tussaud's
  • Firsts, Lasts & Onlys Crime (with Ian Harrison) (2007)
  • Firsts, Lasts & Onlys Military (with Ian Harrison) (2007)
  • Beadle's Miscellany (2007)


  • The Best of Beadle's About
  • You've Been Framed
  • You've Been Framed Again
  • Jeremy Beadle's Beginners Guide to Practical Joking
  • The Story of Crime


  • True Detective January 2008 (Guest Editor. First in 57 years)


  1. ^ a b "Obituary: Jeremy Beadle". BBC News. 2008-01-30. Retrieved 2008-01-30. 
  2. ^ a b c d e James Macintyre, "Jeremy Beadle, king of the TV practical jokers, dies aged 59", The Independent, 31 January 2008
  3. ^ a b Barker, Dennis (31 January 2008). "Obituary: Jeremy Beadle". The Guardian (Guardian Media Group).,,2249518,00.html. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  4. ^ Tony Elliott "'I think he'd rather not have been a clown'", The Guardian, 1 February 2008
  5. ^ "What's Brewing", March 2008 edition.
  6. ^ Hodgson, Martin (2008-01-31). "Veteran TV joker Jeremy Beadle dies of pneumonia, aged 59" (registration required). Guardian media section (Guardian Media Group). Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^
  10. ^ London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 56070, p. 14, 2000-12-30. Retrieved on 2007-12-12.
  11. ^ "Now Beadle's about helping good causes". The Guardian. Retrieved 2009-05-10. 
  12. ^ "Who's Who in Reach". Retrieved 2007-02-11. 
  13. ^ See this website for citation.
  14. ^ a b "TV presenter Beadle dies aged 59". BBC News. 2008-01-30. Retrieved 2008-01-30. 
  15. ^ Burt, Jennifer (1997-10-20). "Jeremy was a role model for children". Leicester (UK) Mercury. 
  16. ^ "You've Been Framed host Jeremy Beadle seriously ill in hospital with pneumonia". Daily Mail. 2008-01-25. Retrieved 2008-01-30. 
  17. ^ Reynolds, Mark (2008-01-25). "Tv’s Jeremy Beadle seriously ill as he fights pneumonia". Daily Express. Retrieved 2008-01-30. 
  18. ^ "Jeremy Beadle has pneumonia". Daily Mirror. 2008-01-25. Retrieved 2008-01-30. 
  19. ^ "Jeremy Beadle dies". ITV plc. 2008-01-30. Retrieved 2008-02-09. 
  20. ^ "Jeremy Beadle Has Last Laugh At His Funeral - The Daily Record". Retrieved 2008-07-27. 
  21. ^ "Comedy - An Audience Without Jeremy Beadle - ITV Entertainment". Retrieved 2008-07-27. 
  22. ^ Obituary, Daily Telegraph, 30 January 2008

External links

Preceded by
Host of You've Been Framed
1990 - 1997
Succeeded by
Lisa Riley
Preceded by
Host of Chain Letters
Succeeded by
Andrew O'Connor

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