Linda Smith, the comedian, writer and broadcaster, has died aged 48.
Linda was one of the small band of women who made it to the top of the male-dominated world of comedy.
Her many appearances on BBC Radio 4’s the News Quiz won her the admiration and affection of the listeners and she was one of the most popular figures on the network.
This was made clear in 2002 when she topped a listeners’ poll to find the “wittiest person on radio”.
She also wrote and starred in two highly successful series of her situation comedy Linda Smith’s A Brief History Of Time Wasting.
Mark Damazer, Controller, Radio 4, said: “Linda Smith was a Radio 4 giant. She was incredibly funny.
“She generated an energy and warmth in every programme she ever did that made her fellow comedians and millions of listeners love her. It’s a terrible loss.”
Linda also had a successful career on television with a string of winning appearances on numerous programmes including Have I Got News For You, QI and Mock The Week.
She had been ill for some time with cancer and died on Monday.
She is survived by her partner Warren Lakin.
Jeremy Hardy, comedian and News Quiz regular, paid this tribute: “I am so lucky to have had such a wonderful friend.
“Working with someone so funny always reminded me of what comedy is all about. Her banter and flights of fancy were amazing.”
“In a second, she could summon up the perfect word, the daftest English expression, the most appropriate literary quotation or line of movie dialogue, or the most savage put-down of any fraud, bully or tyrant in the news.
“She was the wittiest and brightest person working on TV or radio panel games.
“And it was impossible to be in her company for more than a few minutes without laughing.
“Even when she was very ill, she had her friends laughing and feeling uplifted despite our sadness. I loved her very much.”
There will be a special tribute edition of the News Quiz this Friday (3 March) at 6.30pm presented by Andy Hamilton, her friend and fellow panellist.