Voice of an An­gela

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QUES­TIONIn

the last episode of TV’s Se­cret Army, An­gela Richards, play­ing Monique, sings a beau­ti­ful, mov­ing song en­ti­tled If This Is The Last Time I’ll See You. Was this song writ­ten es­pe­cially for the se­ries? AN­GELA RICHARDS grad­u­ated from Rada and made her Lon­don the­atre de­but in 1964, aged 20, as re­bel­lious daugh­ter Hen­ri­etta in Robert And El­iz­a­beth, a mu­si­cal ver­sion of The Bar­retts Of Wim­pole Street.

She has con­tin­ued to be one of Bri­tain’s finest mu­si­cal per­form­ers with star­ring roles in shows as var­ied as The Beg­gar’s Opera, High So­ci­ety, Cats (as Griz­abella), Blood Broth­ers, Moll Flan­ders and Call Me Mer­man. Her most re­cent run was as Frau Sch­nei­der in the lat­est ver­sion of Kan­der and Ebb’s Cabaret.

An­gela has per­formed in re­vues of the works of Cole Porter and Stephen Sond­heim, be­ing nom­i­nated for an Olivier Award for her ap­pear­ance in Sond­heim’s Side By Side.

She’s also a highly ac­com­plished non-singing ac­tress, hav­ing ap­peared as Mrs Dube­dat in Shaw’s The Doc­tor’s Dilemma, Cune­gonde in a non-mu­si­cal ver­sion of Voltaire’s Can­dide and BBC TV’s adap­ta­tion of Char­lotte Bronte’s Vil­lette, among many other the­atre and TV pro­duc­tions.

She’s per­haps best known in the UK for her role as Monique in Se­cret Army, com­bin­ing both tal­ents in the part of the singing wait­ress and later man­ager­ess of the cafe Le Can­dide, part of the un­der­ground life­line through Bel­gium for downed Bri­tish air­crew and es­caped PoWs.

In 1981, near the end of the third se­ries of Se­cret Army, An­gela was fea­tured on the BBC Records al­bum Au Cafe Can­dide, per­form­ing sev­eral songs from the se­ries, some of which were pop­u­lar tunes of the 1940s.

She dis­played a third tal­ent when, work­ing with Les­lie Os­borne and Ken Moule — who played Max, her ac­com­pa­nist at the Cafe — Can­dide — she co-au­thored six of the songs on the al­bum in­clud­ing If This Is The Last Time I See You. The al­bum — REC 412 — is a col­lec­tor’s item, be­ing no longer avail­able.

In sup­port of the King’s Head The­atre, Is­ling­ton, North Lon­don, An­gela ap­peared in March 2006 in a gala per­for­mance of a show called An Evening At Le Can­dide of which there is a DVD avail­able. She made a stu­dio record­ing un­der the same name, fea­tur­ing her six songs and sev­eral oth­ers of the pe­riod, some of which were not on the orig­i­nal LP.

They are avail­able through the Se­cret Army web­site: Sur­vivorstvseries.com/Se­cret Army. htm

Peter Fer­gu­son, Lon­don N1. SE­CRET ARMY, the ex­cel­lent BBC drama se­ries cre­ated by Ger­ard Glais­ter, was broad­cast on BBC1 in three se­ries from Septem­ber 7, 1977, to De­cem­ber 15, 1979.

It chron­i­cled the his­tory of a Bel­gian re­sis­tance cell dur­ing World War II.

The hero Al­bert Foiret (Bernard Hep­ton) runs a cafe, the only pub­lic house in a small Bel­gian town, where lo­cals mix with the Nazi oc­cu­pa­tion forces and a Re­sis­tance net­work de­voted to the repa­tri­a­tion of shot-down Al­lied pi­lots. Mem­bers of Foiret’s ‘se­cret army’ (in­clud­ing some of his cafe staff and Brus­sels doc­tor Pas­cal Kel­der­mans) take or­ders from Lon­don and risk their lives to find the pi­lots, hide, nurse and pre­pare them for the long, danger­ous jour­ney out of the Re­ich.

The en­emy is a group of Nazis, run by the gen­tle­man Luft­waffe Ma­jor Er­win Brandt and ruth­less Gestapo chief Sturm­ban­n­fuhrer Lud­wig Kessler. Al­bert’s af­fair with bar­maid Monique Duchamps (Richards), while his wife An­drée Foiret is bed-rid­den was a theme run­ning through the se­ries.

Se­cret Army is a clas­sic BBC drama se­ries. It’s a cry­ing shame it is most re­mem­bered now as the ba­sis for its par­ody ’Allo ’Allo.

Paul Tyler, Welling­ham, Nor­folk. QUESTIONDoes

any­one re­mem­ber the words to an al­pha­bet­i­cal ditty that my mother taught me 80 years ago which be­gan: ‘One old ox open­ing oys­ters’? THIS was a pop­u­lar 19th-cen­tury mem­ory game. The leader says the first sen­tence, which is then said by each player in turn.

The leader then adds a new line, to be copied by the other play­ers in suc­ces­sion. Any­one mak­ing a mis­take drops out of the con­test.

As the ranks grow thin­ner, the play­ers are re­quired to re­peat the sen­tences more rapidly, with no hes­i­ta­tions al­lowed. The one who makes no mis­takes wins the prize.

The rhyme has no spe­cific au­thor and there are many ver­sions, in­clud­ing: One old ox open­ing oys­ters. Two toads tee­to­tally try­ing to trot

to Trixburg. Three tony tigers tak­ing tea. Four fish­er­men fish­ing for frogs. Five fan­tas­tic French­men fan­ning

five faint­ing fe­males. Six slip­pery snakes slid­ing slowly

south­ward. Seven Sev­ern sal­mon swal­low­ing

sev­eral shrimps. Eight ego­tis­ti­cal English­men

eat­ing enor­mously. Nine nau­ti­cal Nor­we­gians

near­ing neigh­bour­ing Nor­way. Ten tiny, tod­dling tots try­ing to

train their tongues to trill. and One old ox open­ing oys­ters

with onions. Two toads rid­ing tame tigers and

drink­ing tea. Three tur­tles to­tally tired, trot­ting

to Turkey. Four fraz­zled frogs fry­ing

French fries. Five feath­ered flamin­gos fly­ing

fast to Florida. Six sim­ple Si­mons sweep­ing snow. Seven stub­born snakes slith­er­ing

up a sky­scraper. Eight el­e­gant ele­phants eat­ing

eggs with egg­plant. Nine neat nieces nib­bling nougats. Ten tipsy tom­cats tap-danc­ing on

a type­writer.

Mau­reen Marsh, Shrews­bury, Shrop­shire. QUESTIONCan

a saint be de­canon­ised? FUR­THER to ear­lier an­swers, it should be noted that the word ‘saint’ has ac­quired con­no­ta­tions ab­sent from the orig­i­nal bib­li­cal mean­ing.

The Greek word used in the New Tes­ta­ment, ha­gios, meant ‘set apart’, that is, some­one who had de­cided to turn from a life of world­li­ness and sin­ful plea­sures to ded­i­cate them­selves to liv­ing for, and serv­ing, Christ.

There were no ideas of qual­i­fi­ca­tion such as per­form­ing mir­a­cles or liv­ing a flaw­less life — even St Paul wrote of his strug­gle against sin­ful ac­tions. No hu­man agent — even the Pope — can ‘make’ or ‘un­make’ a saint. Any per­son who asks for and re­ceives God’s for­give­ness, and commits their life to Je­sus Christ, is, in the bib­li­cal sense, a saint.

Rick Tay­lor, Ox­ford. QUESTIONWhich

first came up with the con­cept of par­al­lel uni­verses — sci­ence or sci­ence fic­tion? FUR­THER to ear­lier an­swers, crime thriller writer Edgar Wal­lace was also in­ter­ested in sci­ence fic­tion.

In 1929, he wrote the short story Plan­e­toid 127 (pub­lished by Read­ers’ Li­brary), one of the ear­li­est ex­am­ples of the ‘twin Earth’ sci-fi theme.

This sup­poses an­other planet or­bits our sun, al­ways out of sight of our tele­scopes, which is vir­tu­ally a twin of our own. Wal­lace hy­poth­e­sises a du­pli­cate set of peo­ple but with a time se­quence run­ning slightly ahead of ours, so an ob­server on Earth can vir­tu­ally see our fu­ture.

There are oc­ca­sional anachro­nisms in the story but Wal­lace was among the pi­o­neers of this theme.

C. W. Farn­ham, Taun­ton, Som­er­set.

Boche-bash­ers: Angela Richards and Bernard Hep­ton in Se­cret Army

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