David Spenser Radio Memories :
Gladys Young & Marjorie Westbury

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GLADYS YOUNG was one of the more elderly leading radio actresses. She dressed smartly but sensibly, even to finely knitted cardigans. There were times when I thought of her as a benevolent School Mistress, but my goodness she could pump out the emotions when they were required.

She did not exactly lack a lightness of touch, but her real forte was high drama and tension. She was always prepared for her scenes in a very professional way, and I never knew her to fluff ( a term for getting a word or sentence wrong!) and I never heard her argue with a producer. Her studio behaviour was crisp, quiet and exemplary,

MARJORIE WESTBURY was quite extraordinary. She was completely rotund like a rather large football, but small by most standards. When she sat on a sofa her feet never touched the ground but used to dangle some inches off it. She never rehearsed without her knitting; the delicate unobtrusive clicking of her needles was as much a part of her as her sweet-sounding ever-youthful voice.

She was also extremely professional and had a way of looking surprised when a director had any suggestion to make, and she never showed any wish to discuss a scene and showed a touch of irritation when the person she was acting with wanted to do so. I once played her lover in a Saturday Night Theatre and the mono microphone had to be angled at 45 degrees to enable us to sound intimate. She was of a different generation but sounded the same age as I did playing a 22 year old.

I was working with her on an episode of “Paul Temple” when she was left her second, rather large legacy by a female listener; so the rest of the rehearsals were spent by some of us discussing how we could change our voices so that we too could inherit a few thousand pounds.

My last memory of Marjorie was when she was playing the Queen in “Edward II”, with a rich cast that included many “gay” actors. At one rehearsal she was knitting away and missed her cue; John Tydeman said on the talkback: “Where’s the Queen?” Quietly laying down her knitting she called out “Which one?”


The Beginning
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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