Just A Minute blog

A blog on the BBC radio programme Just A Minute

Location: Wellington, New Zealand

March 01, 2006

RIP Linda Smith

JAM regular Linda Smith has died at the tragically young age of 48 of ovarian cancer.

Linda had been ill for some time - I guess this explains her absence from the show over the past year. She was also a regular on The News Quiz and A Brief History Of Time Wasting and guested on countless other shows.

It's so very sad for all of her many fans. She first appeared on JAM in 1999 at Derek Nimmo's last recording and made such an impact as to appear on more shows than anyone else in the BBC's short-lived Tv version of the show later that year. Since then she's been a "regular" with Paul, Clement, Graham and Tony.

She had a style all of her own which contrasted wonderfully with the others because it could be called a quiet style. In a way reminiscent of Peter Jones, she didn't try to shout the others down. She poked fun at herself and the show. She had a wonderfully inventive mind and was at her best in diatribes against modern life - without sounding old fashioned. You can admire Paul Merton's many comic gifts - but you don't feel as if you share his amazing way of seeing the world - you felt that Linda was in your mind and that her observations were things you might have dreamed up - if only you were as witty and clever as her.

She's a huge loss to JAM. Claire Jones would clearly liked to have had her on the show more often in recent years if it hadn't been for her illness. At one recording her illness meant she had to be replaced at the last minute by Charles Collingwood who arrived after the show had begun.

We will miss Linda terribly on JAM. If her family and partner happen to read this some day, my sincere condolences. But thank you for sharing Linda's brilliance with us.


Anonymous Emile Jumean said...

I am quite upset and saddened over the news of Linda's passing. She was one of my favourite Just A Minute panellists, and I always looked forward to the episodes she was appearing in. I didn't know she was battling cancer, and to die at such a young age is just very difficult to accept.

God bless you and rest in peace, Linda. We'll miss you!

5:16 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes I too will certainly miss Linda . I first met her when I had to fill in as a compere for a comedy nite at the Cockpit Theatre in London .Addison Cresswell organised the nite I believe and the compere had pulled out .There was absolutely no-one else to fill in .
Being the only verbose person working in the building I had to do it .Mark Thomas was the headliner but he wanted to go on first .This left the less-experienced Linda to take his spot .

I know I made no friends with Mark Thomas because he did not like his hairy legs being compared with King Kong's .(It was the height of Summer and the sweltering heat had lead to Mark wearing less than flattering shorts .Anybody would have thought that the audience had paid their money to see a tv recording of MY PET'S A PYTHON... if you get my meaning - it was all hanging out.Testiculatum flagranti.. He had no shame .All he was burning to do was comically slag of the government.He never thought of looking down at his own misgivings)But Linda put me really at my ease and my introductions got longer and longer and the audience seemed to be enjoying my funny bits .

I was so much at my ease that I casually forgot that I should listen out for the tannoy to tell when the next comedian had finished so that I could introduce the next one .I went in to the backstage toilet and did my business ,super -confident that I could get the hang of 'this compering lark .'

It was Linda's gentle tapping on the lav door that gave me my wake up call to remind me that I was meant to be on stage." aren't you meant to be compering all this ? " she said calmly through the wood door.I tell you I dashed onto that stage quicker than mice on a cheese grater .

I had to come clean with the audience and tell them where I was .It got one of the biggest laughs of the night - completely spontaneous. I gave Linda a really big build- up ...linking her qualities to all the brilliant and famous personalities I knew called Linda .....Linda Evans , Linda Carter ,Linda Robson....Linda Smart of 39 Larch Avenue who teaches boys how to kiss with their tongue in the Vale Flats, Acton ....and topping it off with saying that this Linda has all their qualities and is a lot more funny instead ....How prophetic that went on to be .

She was brilliant .Sharp ....unhurried....and had that air about her that she could have been some boy's Mum who had been called to the school about her son's truancy .How sad that Linda will be unable to join in the festivities for Just A Minute's 40th year .How funny would a Just A Minute first time all female line-up have been with Linda ,Jenny Eclair ,Sheila Hancock and Sue Perkins ? Thankyou Linda for all the fun . From Keith.

6:16 pm  

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