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Last Updated: Tuesday, 28 February 2006, 17:51 GMT
Obituary: Linda Smith
Linda Smith
Linda Smith: Witty commentator on modern life
Comedian Linda Smith was one of the sharpest performers on the stand-up circuit, but in recent years had become a favourite of diverse audiences on BBC radio and television.

Her roots, in Erith, south-east London, were working-class, but she stubbornly refused to fit any stereotype, her deadpan diatribes about everyday irritations resonating with millions.

She studied English and Drama at Sheffield University and joined a professional touring theatre company in 1983, where she met her partner, Warren Lakin.

Turning to stand-up comedy, she won the Hackney Empire New Act of the Year in 1987.

Throughout the 1990s, she made the annual pilgrimage to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, performing her own show and collaborating with others.

And the mid-90s saw the start of her prolific career on BBC radio, as a regular panellist on the former Radio Five's weekly news satire programme, The Treatment.

Linda Smith and Paul Merton on BBC 2's Room 101
Linda Smith appeared with Paul Merton on BBC Two's Room 101
From there she graduated to writing and performing in two critically-acclaimed series of her own Radio 4 sitcom, A Brief History of Time Wasting.

She was the first woman team captain and regular on the network's News Quiz and a frequent panel guest on two long-running Radio 4 favourites, Just a Minute and I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue.

Linda Smith also presented Home Truths and Pick of the Week and in 2002 was voted Wittiest Person in a poll of Radio 4 listeners.

She also won a following on television through several appearances on Have I Got News For You, along with Room 101, Q.I., Mock the Week, They Think It's All Over and Call My Bluff, while she contributed her own take on current affairs as a panellist on Question Time.

Dedicated humanist

She still managed to find time for a 35-date national tour in 2004, performing her show, Wrap Up Warm, to sell-out audiences.

Linda Smith blended the topical with the personal, the political with the surreal and silly.

She had a wealth of subjects to grumble about: motorway service stations, the trains, inane daytime television commercials for sun awnings or loans, all delivered in a downbeat fashion that belied a penetrating insight to social trends.

Linda Smith moved effortlessly from stand-up to radio and TV
Besides this, Linda Smith was a great fan of the rock musician and actor, Ian Dury, and president of the British Humanist Association.

In this connection, she recently said: "With fundamentalism on the rise, the rational voice of humanism needs to be heard."

Radio 4 Controller Mark Damazer said Linda Smith was a Radio 4 giant.

"She was incredibly funny, but also generated energy and warmth in every programme she ever did", he said.

Jeremy Hardy's tribute to Linda Smith, who 'loved life'

Radio comedian Linda Smith dies
28 Feb 06 |  Entertainment
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