Feminist icon: Linda Smith
Dear Linda Smith,
My God, why did you hide from us all for all this time?
OK, so maybe we didn’t really do much to promote your work, but we always liked what you did, when you did stuff. You were perhaps the funniest person in the world (well, at least 2002’s Wittiest Person according to a poll.) And Stephen Fry loved you, and if you’re good enough for the smartest man on Earth, than you were more than good enough for us.
And if being very, very funny wasn’t enough, you also went and became the President of the British Humanist Society too. God bless you.
Although it might be slightly belated, we at MookyTowers salute you.
Love, Mookychick xxx
Typical Linda Smith Quote:
“I don’t want to give them the oxygen of publicity. I don’t even want to give them the oxygen of oxygen.” ( on the Hamiltons )
Fairly high, in a middle class sort of way. She managed to come up from the typically cliched working class background and claim the moral high ground from the usual right wing disgruntlement and push it through a very common filter. She was the quiet wit in all of us and deserves to have a glass or two raised in her memory.
She was, in short, a bit of an inspiration for any budding witty grumbler.
Linda Smith links:
With working class roots, born in Erith and studying at Sheffield University, Linda began her career in theatre, turning to comedy in the mid-eighties.
She won several awards and soon became a bit of an underground legend before she found her niche in radio, where her deadpan delivery found its perfect home.
She was a regular on just about every Radio Four panel game going and often became the funniest and wittiest contestant. Which, considering she was duelling with people like Stephen Fry and Paul Merton, is no mean feat.
She died of ovarian cancer in 2006 at the far too young age of 48.
Linda Smith Best Known For:
Depressingly little. She was a consummate panellist and all-round wit who appeared on BBC Radio Four panel games such as The News Quiz and Just a Minute but never really reached the mainstream. She won the Hackney Empire New Act of the Year back in 1987.
Least Known For:
Just about everything she ever did. She kept a very low profile as far as the mainstream was concerned and made semi-regular appearances on the telly in stuff like Have I got News for You and QI, but always seemed a little self-conscious. Her Radio Four series A Brief History of Timewasting managed two series, but it’s doubtful that most people heard it.