Linda Smith (comedian)

Linda Smith (comedian)

Infobox Comedian

caption =
imagesize = 250px
name = Linda Smith
birth_date = birth date|1958|01|29|df=yes
birth_place = Erith, Kent, England
death_date = Death date and age|2006|02|27|1958|01|29|df=yes
death_place =
active = 1980s–2006

Linda Smith (29 January 1958 – 27 February 2006) was an English stand-up comic and comedy writer. She was born in Erith in Kent and was a regular Radio 4 panelist, being voted "Wittiest Living Person" by listeners in 2002.


Smith was educated at Erith College (now Bexley College), and gained a place at University of Sheffield, graduating in English and Drama. She joined a professional theatre company and turned to comedy. In 1987, she won the Hackney Empire New Act of the Year, [" [ Peter Aterman voted New Act of the Year 2004] ". Retrieved on 16 September, 2007.] then known as the "New London Comic Award", and performed on the Edinburgh Fringe before breaking into radio comedy. Her first appearances on national radio were on Radio 5's "The Treatment" in 1997. She was subsequently a regular panellist on "The News Quiz" and "Just a Minute", and appeared frequently on "I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue" (from June 2001 onwards), "Have I Got News for You", "Mock the Week", "Countdown" and "QI". She wrote and starred in her own Radio 4 sitcom, "Linda Smith's A Brief History of Timewasting".

In 2002, she was voted "Wittiest Living Person" by listeners to BBC Radio 4's "Word of Mouth". [" [ Press Releases & Press Packs] ". BBC Radio. 30 May, 2002. Retrieved on 16 September, 2007.] During "The News Quiz" she would often mockingly use Richard Littlejohn's catchphrase "to hell in a handcart". After appearing on Radio 4's "Devout Sceptics" to discuss her beliefs she was asked by the British Humanist Association (BHA) to become president of the society, a role she occupied with great commitment from 2004 until her death." [ President of the British Humanist Association] ". British Humanist Association. Retrieved on 16 September, 2007.]

On 27 February 2006, Smith died at the age of 48, following a battle with ovarian cancer. [ Radio comedian Linda Smith dies] Before she died, she chose that her funeral be humanist " [] Linda Smith: God, the biggest joke of all] and her memorial at the Theatre Royal, Stratford East on 10 March, [" [ An Evening of Linda Smith's Favourite Things] "., 12 May, 2006. Retrieved on 16 September, 2007.] was dedicated to the BHA. Smith's life and work was honoured at the British Academy Television Awards in 2006. The first episode of Dawn French's "", was dedicated to the memory of Linda Smith. Her obituaries described her style as beguiling, apparently vulnerable but often waspish. She excelled at deadpan diatribes about everyday irritations. Her most regularly quoted joke was probably her description of former home secretary David Blunkett as being "Satan's bearded folk singer".

Two tribute gigs were held in her memory. The first took place on 14 May 2006, at the Lyceum Theatre, Sheffield, entitled "In Praise of an English Radical", the second on 4 June 2006, at the Victoria Palace Theatre, London, entitled "Tippy Top: An Evening of Linda Smith's Favourite Things". In August 2006, Andy Hamilton presented a BBC Radio 4 tribute entitled "Linda Smith: A Modern Radio Star". An anthology on CD called "I Think the Nurses Are Stealing My Clothes: The Very Best of Linda Smith", as well as a book of the same name were released in November 2006. A tribute show of the same name was aired on BBC Radio 4 on 10 November 2006. Smith's sell-out stage show "Wrap Up Warm" has been available on CD from November 2006.

Linda Smith was working on a third series of "A Brief History of Timewasting" before she became incapacitated by her illness; as a tribute, digital radio station BBC 7 ran the previous two series, the first all on one day.


* "Sit-Down Comedy" (contributor to anthology, ed Malcolm Hardee & John Fleming) Ebury Press/Random House, 2003. ISBN-10: 0091889243; ISBN-13: 978-0091889241


External links

* [ A Brief History of Timewasting] BBC Radio 4
* [ Anarchist with attitude (interview) by Laurie Taylor] New Humanist, 6 September 2004
* [ Radio comedian Linda Smith dies] BBC News, 28 February 2006
* [ Obituary: Linda Smith] BBC News, 28 February 2006
* [ Jeremy Hardy pays tribute] BBC News, 28 February 2006
* [ Obituary by Mark Steel] The Independent, 1 March 2006
* [,,1720290,00.html Obituary by Jeremy Hardy, containing many biographical details] The Guardian, 1 March 2006
* [,,1721223,00.html "News Quiz" colleagues pay tribute] The Guardian, 2 March 2006
* [ Linda Smith: God, the biggest joke of all] The Independent, 2 March 2006
* [ President of the British Humanist Association, 2004 - 2006] British Humanist Association


* [ Linda Smith talking about "Just a Minute"] BBC2, Arena, 26 December 2005 (RealVideo)


* [ Linda Smith explores Auvergne & Corsica] BBC Radio 4, 12 April 2005
* [ The Limited Power of Satire/Linda's Rise from Obscurity] BBC Radio 4, The News Quiz, 7 September 2005
* [ Linda Smith has her eye on the Chairman's seat] BBC Radio 4, The News Quiz, 6 February 2006
* [ Interview with Jenny Colgan, containing tribute] BBC Radio 4, Woman's Hour, 1 March 2006

NAME= Smith, Linda
DATE OF BIRTH= birth date|1958|01|29|df=yes
PLACE OF BIRTH= Erith, Kent, England
DATE OF DEATH= 2006-02-27

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