The Best of The Comedy Store: The Comedy Store, London, 1990
The News Quiz (BBC Radio recording): BBC Radio Theatre, London, various dates between 1997 and 2002
Linda Smith was a remarkable stand-up comedian and a brilliant mainstay on BBC Radio 4 shows The News Quiz, Just a Minute, and I’m Sorry I Haven’t A Clue for many years. She was just establishing her career on TV through note-worthy guest appearances on Have I Got News for You, Mock The Week, and QI, when she was struck down with ovarian cancer and died in 2006 aged just 48 years old.
I first her perform at the legendary Comedy Store in London where on the bill were Mark Thomas, Phill Jupitus and Hattie Hayridge all at the start of their comic careers. I saw her many times as a guest at recordings of The News Quiz between 1997 and 2002 where her subjects were many, she was always tough, precise and quick-witted and never let any ineffective commentator or insincere politician leave her sight. She was sweet and endearing in her on-stage delivery, with her homely voice and innocent, questioning technique which always intentionally managed to captivate the audience.
Her book I Think the Nurses Are Stealing My Clothes is a wonderful reminder of an extremely talent comedic voice and every so often tribute shows are staged in tribute to her in aid of raising money for cancer charities. I saw one of these shows in 2015 at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival which featured among other Jo Brand, Arthur Smith and Mark Thomas. After the show I met long time Linda Smith collaborator Hattie Hayridge where we talked about her career.
Smith is very fondly remembered by the comedy world as someone who was both clever and funny not afraid to voice her political opinions and life observations to try and make good with the world. Like so many other comedians who tragically die before their time, it would have been very interesting to see what Smith could have achieved. She was a mighty comic force and is a very sad loss.