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

Edited By Warren Lakin
2.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
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Book Description

4 Oct 2007

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.

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I Think the Nurses are Stealing My Clothes: The Very Best of Linda Smith + Driving Miss Smith: A Memoir of Linda Smith + The Chain Of Curiosity
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Product details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Hodder Paperbacks (4 Oct 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0340938471
  • ISBN-13: 978-0340938478
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 19.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 2.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 273,341 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


'This is a ravishing book and I urge you to read it ... the world is sadder and more tender for Smith's tragic loss, and reading I Think the Nurses are Stealing my Clothes will remind you why.' (Maureen Lipman, Guardian)

'Linda's mix of incredulity and spite, her brilliant manipulation of language and sheer warmth of personality, made her more loved - almost worshipped - than any entertainer in recent years ... A comic who had few equals in radio history, but no betters ...Buy this book: it will make you happy' (Word magazine)

'Linda Smith's everyday conversation contained more jokes than most comedy scripts and more social comment than most dramas.' (Independent)

'A plump anthology of deftly witty material ...It's very sad that the woman who defined the word "palisade" as "what the queen drinks" and who observed of John Prescott "I think language isn't his first language" is no longer with us' (Nick Curtis, Evening Standard)

'One of the best-loved and funniest voices on radio.' (EVENING STANDARD)

'The funniest woman I have ever known.' (SIMON HOGGART)

'A truly funny woman' (Daily Mail)

'The many tributes last week describing the late Linda Smith as one of the funniest women in Britain have got it wrong. Linda was simply one of the funniest people in Britain and her gifts were such that most of the time, listening to her thoughtful, provocative, casually brilliant one-liners, you forgot she was a woman. I mean that in the best way, the same way that when you read Margaret Atwood or Zadie Smith, you are not conscious of reading a 'lady novelist'.' (Stephanie Merritt, Observer)

'One of the country's finest stand-ups' (Evening Standard)

'One of the country's more precious natural resources ...Priceless' (David Graham, Manchester Evening News)

'Full of wonderful material ... So many memories!' (Simon Hoggart, Guardian)

'Linda's joyous humour was infused with a fearless inventiveness ... Irreplaceable' (Frances Lass, Radio Times)

Book Description

A sparkling celebration of the wit and wisdom of Linda Smith - a 'national treasure' of Radio 4 and BBC TV.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Laughing for hours 10 Jan 2008
Absolutely wonderful collection of Linda's work from her first stand-ups, through her radio sitcom scripts to amazingly funny bites from her the news quiz, Just a Minute and Have I Got News for You (amongst many other things). I was spluttering, absolutely exploding with laughter. The amazing finale is the transcript of a stand up she did in Sudbury.

Friends and people Linda worked with do intros to the chapters which are poignant and well placed. Amazing tribute to the funniest person we've had around for a long time.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A brilliant comic's best bits, well compiled 17 Feb 2008
By Mr. Stuart Bruce TOP 1000 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Linda Smith was a Radio 4 favourite for many years before her untimely death, and this book is a thorough example of why she was so loved. She was innocent(-seeming), optimistic and determined, yet Linda Smith was one of the all-time masters of sarcasm and dry wit. If only there were more such literate, intelligent and angry people broadcasting today.

A well put-together book- a few page-long tributes from close friends and a short introduction from her partner act as punctuation between big helpings of Linda's comedy, which ranges from stand-up and Radio 4 transcripts to scripts and published writing.
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5 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Some good lines 25 Mar 2008
We all enjoyed Linda Smith's brilliant work on the News Quiz, so I was pleased to come across this collection in a charity shop a few weeks ago. It's a collection of her pieces from stand-up dates, radio plays and contributions to shows like the News Quiz and I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue. It's difficult to go from hearing these words performed to seeing them written down (this collection is also available as a CD, which would perhaps be preferable) because all sorts of elements get lost: the intonation, the audience and - above all - the timing. This is particularly problematic for the stand-up routines, which lose a lot of their force when transcribed to the page, even with the (laughs) included.

In their commentary on contemporary issues, her early pieces have, of course, also become somewhat dated. For example, it's a little hard to remember that it was once possible to make jokes about Princess Diana ("So thick and yet so thin"), and a lot of people will be unable to appreciate her fury at Neil Kinnock's squandering of the election (though this produces one of her best lines: "Neil Kinnock has announced today the guidelines for resisting the Poll Tax... you pay it, but when you pay it, you give that Town Hall clerk *such* a look.")

The funniest parts, I thought, were towards the end, especially in the selection from the News Quiz, in which she's allowed to use all her gifts of allusion and imagery. Reading these, you can almost hear her voice in your head (e.g. "Tony Blair. He's never had the populist touch. He's like the Geography teacher at the school disco. Everyone wants him to leave so they can start enjoying themselves."). And I was delighted to find, on p236, Simon Hoggart's memory of the best moment from that show - namely, the hysterical exchange between him, Sandi Toksvig, Alan Coren and Linda about National Condom Week. Like the death of JFK, nobody who heard that will ever forget where they were when it happened.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars The audio CD is not the same as the book 23 Sep 2009
Format:Audio CD
Having read the earlier reviews and have enjoyed immensely Linda's contributions on Radio 4, I was really looking forward to this double CD. It appears, however, to be very different from what was described for the book. The recordings go back as far as 1986 and were made for Linda's own personal use, so they are of variable quality in all senses. Hattie Hayridge introduces the performances and explains their context but it seemed to me that, particularly in the earlier sessions, Linda's timing and confidence were very far from what they came to be. Most disappointingly, all her Radio 4 work was squeezed into the last nine minutes as a medley of brief snippets without particular rhyme nor reason. All in all, it most definitely does not do her justice and is far, far from being The Very Best of Linda Smith.
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