I Think the Nurses are Stealing My Clothes: The Very Best of Linda Smith, Paperback Book

I Think the Nurses are Stealing My Clothes: The Very Best of Linda Smith Paperback

Edited by Warren Lakin

2.5 out of 5 (1 rating)


Linda Smith was the brilliant mainstay of Radio 4's 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 blistering performances on Have I Got News for You, QI and Room 101, when she died of ovarian cancer in 2006.

Linda was one of the few women to conquer the male dominated world of comedy and she had the wit and the charm to win over millions of male and female fans in equal measure.

She had an eye for the absurdities of modern life and loved to prick the egos of the pompous and the vain.

When she called David Blunkett 'Satan's bearded folk singer', it was a simple statement of fact.

No wonder then Linda was voted the 'wittiest person alive' by Radio 4 listeners in 2002.

This collection of her material, from her early stand-up to her radio days, is a must-have for any comedy fan.


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 384 pages, 8 page colour plate section
  • Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton General Division
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Biography: arts & entertainment
  • ISBN: 9780340938478

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Linda Smith was a clever and funny woman, much liked by the Radio-4-audience demographic. Some of this comes across in this book, but sadly it doesn't really do her justice. There are two problems. Firstly, the first couple of parts of the book, giving excerpts from her standup whilst on the way up, feel dated because of the political content: lots of material about the miners' strike, that will mean very little to anyone non-British or born after about 1976 (and still feels very of-its-time even to the rest of us). Secondly, it takes skilful editing to transfer the rambling, freeform spoken language of standup to the page successfully, and the editors haven't really managed it all that well. They state in the Acknowledgements that the book was put together in three months: the question is, why? Was the publisher afraid that if they took six months over it, we'd all have forgotten who she was? There are some transcription blunders: misspelling of people's names ('Oliver Sachs'? surely Sacks) and unusual words ('doh-zee-doh'? surely do-si-do), and awkward spots where onstage Linda said something like "...and go like <em>that</em>", which was clearly accompanied by some gesture or mime, but the printed text gives no indication of what it was.Nevertheless, some other sections work better: Linda's contributions to radio programmes such as <em>The News Quiz</em>, <em>Booked</em>, <em>The Beaton Generation</em>, <em>I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue</em>, and so on, being at least semi-scripted, are more readable as prose.Included are a section of photos from 1985 to 2004, a few playbills/posters from early standup shows, and some nice commissioned cartoons from Steve Bell, Martin Rowson, and Phill Jupitus.