Saying hello to 2023 and goodbye to 2022 feels a relief for me. I am praying that this year will be kinder to our industry and we won’t lose so many greats from our big show business family to that big show in the sky.
I am not going to name all the wonderful performers who left us last year, for fear of missing anyone out. But I would like, here in print, to speak briefly about the ones that I knew well, or worked with. In my way I feel that will keep them and their talents alive.
I worked for a long time in the West End play Dirty Linen, written by Tom Stoppard, with the wonderful John Chalice playing one of the leads. He was a great mate and a very fine actor. I watched his rise to fame from there, it was so richly deserved and he has left us too soon.
Barry Cryer, I had worked with when I was employed as an actress on on the Radio four repertory company. I was lucky and very proud to do many voice overs for Sorry I haven’t a Clue. I also knew Barry personally, through both our close association with the Grand order of Rats and Ratlings, which we were both members. He was one of the cleverest and funniest performers I ever knew.
I toured with Cannon and Ball for six months in their first stage play. We laughed all the time, they were a great double act, and I adored working with them. Bobby was also a very fine straight actor. RIP Bobby. my heart goes out to Tommy. Their song, Together we’ll be OK, will live in my heart.
I can hardy bare to write the names Anna Karen, and Ruth Madoc, in this list. They were two of my very, very close friends and I will miss them both forever. Thank you both for your kindness, loyalty and your true friendship, I will never never forget everything you did for me. And on behalf of your millions and millions of fans, to both of you: ‘thank you for all the laughter and joy you brought through ON the Buses and HiDeHi.’
Let us now look to 2023. I pray that big show in the sky is fully cast, and our industry has a valuable year, with no exits.
Finally, I wish everyone reading this a very happy and healthy New Year.