PETER COKE I remember as tall and thin with an unblemished skin, and a rather naughty sense of humour that was perpetually encouraged by Martyn C. Webster. He always appeared to be imperturbable; and he and Richard Williams ( a delightful, witty man, and a good actor) often had a double act going that had us all laughing.
But as with so many actors on radio he seemed a very private person. This impression could have been heightened in so many cases because the time spent on a radio play was extremely short and did not leave much time for intimacies.
ROLF LEFEBVRE was one of my closest, most loved and most loving friends as well as a superb radio actor. He really rather deserved that misleading appellation “a radio actor” as he eventually refused to act in any other medium because he could not trust himself to remember lines.
Although his voice was instantly recognisable and tempting to imitate, he was a most versatile actor, and although he could make one laugh more than most people he took his work extremely seriously, and although he thoroughly enjoyed being teased as a person, he could get quite ratty if someone mucked around at work. I must just add that he was a wise and sensitive man and a benign influence in my life.
THEN I worked with actors and actresses like Grizelda Hervey, Laidman Brown, Felix Felton, Carleton Hobbs, Norman Shelley, Mary Wimbush, David March, John Westbrook, June Tobin, Stephen Jack, Sheila Grant, Valentine Dyall and Derek Guyler. So I could rattle on forever, but these few will have to do for the moment.
It might be worth mentioning that Laidman Brown and Gladys Young were known as the King and Queen of Radio, and by some more theatrically informed as “the Lunts of Radio.” Even during live transmissions (and they were all live in my younger days) everyone who wished to actually smoked at the microphone. Heron Carvic carried a box of 50 Du Mauriers with him, and later I learned to put a penny on the tip of an unfinished cigarette to stop it smoking and keeping it fresh to return to.
When I started broadcasting in 1945, and had begun to broadcast in adult Evening Plays, the Continuity Announcers all wore dinner jackets, and actresses wore long evening dresses; even I was sent home to rest in the afternoon and change into my long grey trousers and school blazer. A Saturday Night Theatre was treated like a theatrical First Night. Every drama was an Event.
David Spenser: RADIO MEMORIES
Actors & Actresses
Mary O'Farrell and James McKechnie
Gladys Young & Marjorie Westbury
Peter Coke, Rolf Lefebvre and others
Radio Producers: early days - Josephine Plummer and May Jenkins
David Davies and Uncle Mac
Howard Rose and Val Gielgud
Donald MacWhinnie and Raymond Raikes
Louis MacNeice and H.B.Fortuin
Douglas Cleverdon and E.J.King-Bull
Nigel Deacon / Diversity website
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