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Comedian Linda Smith dies of cancer
February 28, 2006 10:23 AM   Subscribe

British comedian Linda Smith dies of cancer. Linda Smith, president of the Humanist society and a regular on BBC Radio 4's flagship comedy shows such as The News Quiz and Just A Minute, plus her own A Brief History of Timewasting, her wonderfully deadpan style and the ability to transform moaning into an art form will be missed by many.
posted by ceri richard (31 comments total)

 
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posted by Jofus at 10:29 AM on February 28, 2006


There will be a tribute edition of The News Quiz this Friday at 18.30 on R4.
posted by Huw at 10:33 AM on February 28, 2006


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posted by greycap at 10:43 AM on February 28, 2006


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Very, very sad.
posted by Grangousier at 10:54 AM on February 28, 2006


Sad news.
posted by jack_mo at 10:57 AM on February 28, 2006


Hah! So ends the life of another alternative someone much younger and more famous but so much more talented, attractive, intelligent, female, courageous, funny, more happily married and more opposed to the Iraq thing. Life and secret ovarian cancer are often such absolute shit.

Thankyou Linda. You made me laugh and laugh and think and laugh again. Just can't believe it.

Howcome Nicolas Parsons just carries on? No ovaries I suppose...
posted by terrymiles at 10:58 AM on February 28, 2006


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posted by cillit bang at 11:02 AM on February 28, 2006


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posted by brilliantmistake at 11:13 AM on February 28, 2006


Fellow comedian Mark Steel will pay tribute to Linda on tonight's Front Row - Radio 4 at 7.15 UK time (now) Available as a download.
posted by Lanark at 11:17 AM on February 28, 2006


(though I consider her an enabler for a million crappy BBC panel shows, so maybe there's some good that can come of this)
posted by cillit bang at 11:18 AM on February 28, 2006


True, she enabled crappy BBC panel shows, but she also enriched the absolutely wonderful BBC panel shows. I'm going to listen to dig up an ISIRTA or JAM with her to commemorate I think. She'll be sorely missed.
posted by fvw at 11:28 AM on February 28, 2006


That's, um, rubbish. I'll miss her on the News Quiz and Just A Minute.
posted by Len at 11:30 AM on February 28, 2006


Wow. This makes me realize how long I've been away from Britain, and how central her voice on Radio 4 is to my memories of growing up there. Saturday family lunches won't be the same next time I visit. I also saw her speak about more serious stuff, and she was always great.
posted by crabintheocean at 11:34 AM on February 28, 2006


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I had no idea she was President of the British Humanist Society. She always made me laugh, in an easy listening kind of way - kind of like sitting round with your mates and having a giggle. When you heard her name on the introduction to a radio show, you'd sit back and relax, knowing you were about to have, not a riotous, but a pleasant and enjoyable half-hour.
posted by penguin pie at 11:37 AM on February 28, 2006


Her interview on Devout Sceptics is available from the BBC website but the link seems to be busy at the moment.

I fondly remember her on HIGNFY, specifically her comment to William Hague when he was hosting, "I remember you now! You're from that political party from the olden days!", and for giving Neil Kinnock a hard time for failing to beat John Major in 1992.

A Brief History of Timewasting was also good, I liked her death-obsessed elderly Welsh neighbour - "Come on, I haven't got all day. Well, I have but after that it's touch and go."

Any time she was on you could be confident of a few really big laughs. She will be missed.
posted by teleskiving at 12:07 PM on February 28, 2006


Sorely missed.
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posted by punilux at 12:30 PM on February 28, 2006


Very sad news. I remember her most fondly as Hilly/Holly in Red Dwarf.

Such a funny lady and I will miss her.



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posted by crustygeek at 12:31 PM on February 28, 2006


Holly was Hattie Hayridge, not Linda Smith
posted by hardcode at 1:02 PM on February 28, 2006


Crap - you're right. I have no idea why I just mixed up those two comedians. Linda Smith was by far the better comedian, with a much sharper wit.
posted by crustygeek at 1:16 PM on February 28, 2006


Hey, don't be hating on the Hattie. I think she and Smith are/were both brilliant.

Farewell Linda, you are missed.
posted by Pallas Athena at 1:25 PM on February 28, 2006


I met her. She was lovely.

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posted by apocalypse miaow at 1:42 PM on February 28, 2006


Jesus. I didn't even know she was ill. I liked her a lot.
posted by Decani at 3:18 PM on February 28, 2006


Fellow comedian Mark Steel will pay tribute to Linda on tonight's Front Row - Radio 4 at 7.15 UK time (now) Available as a download.

Where's the download?
posted by tapeguy at 3:37 PM on February 28, 2006


Where's the download?

Here (but you'll have to listen before 19:15 GMT on Wednesday when it will be replaced by that evening's edition.
posted by ceri richard at 4:50 PM on February 28, 2006


(but you'll have to listen before 19:15 GMT on Wednesday when it will be replaced by that evening's edition.

Correction, it'll be available for the next week.
posted by ceri richard at 4:51 PM on February 28, 2006


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posted by Acey at 5:50 PM on February 28, 2006


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posted by nickyskye at 10:30 PM on February 28, 2006


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Huge loss
posted by Wilder at 1:31 AM on March 1, 2006


Obituaries:

Jeremy Hardy in The Guardian
She was born at Erith in Kent, a town of which she said: "It's not twinned with anywhere, but it does have a suicide pact with Dagenham."

Mark Steel in the Independent:
In 2002, Radio 4 held a poll to see who their listeners felt was the "wittiest person on the planet". The overwhelming winner was Linda Smith - a regular on such programmes as I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue and The News Quiz.

The voters made a fine choice. For example, a group of us were watching the Euro 2004 final, which was won by Greece. As the Greek captain received the trophy, Linda said, "We'll have that in the British Museum by the end of the week claiming it's ours." Linda Smith's everyday conversation contained more jokes than most comedy scripts and more social comment than most dramas.

posted by ceri richard at 6:23 AM on March 1, 2006


Aw, shit. What crappy news.

I'm off to listen to A Brief History of Timewasting again...
posted by ninthart at 9:33 AM on March 1, 2006


fvw: was she on ISIRTA? Not being in Britain it's hard to place her, but I know some of that stuff backwards.

She sounds lovely, though. Best of luck to her karmically.

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posted by Sparx at 1:30 AM on March 2, 2006


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