Voice of an Angela
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
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