Friday 17 September 2004
Not only have the stage and screen lost a burgeoning talent in Fritha Goodey, writes Jack Adrian [further to the obituary by Di Trevis, 13 September]. Radio drama, too, has lost a promising recruit to its more exclusive ranks.
Fritha Goodey easily sailed over the first hurdle to acceptance in the medium. She had a distinctive and recognisable voice, and an ability to change its tonal qualities according to whatever parts she was playing - tough and spirited, for instance, as the scheming Caroline Addleton in The Case of the Determined Client (one of Bert Coules's "new" Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, directed by Patrick Rayner earlier this year), or whimpering and tyrannised as Isabella Linton, to Tom Goodman-Hill's snarling Heathcliff, in Peter Leslie Wild's fine production of Wuthering Heights (adapted by Lucy Gough in 2003).
Goodey's interest in radio came early. While at Lamda she was taught by John Tydeman, one of the great radio producers (i.e. directors) of the past 40 years, and after graduation she went straight into an Agatha Christie serial produced at the BBC by Enyd Williams. A year or so later, another Christie serial came up, Taken at the Flood, again produced by Williams, in which Goodey played the fake Rosaleen Cloade, the last to be bumped off and the victim whose actual identity is crucial to Poirot's solving of what was one of Christie's cleverer, certainly more Byzantine, plots.
In 2003 she played the rackety Lady Mordaunt in Alison Sutcliffe's The Warwickshire Scandal (from the book by Elizabeth Hamilton, about a real-life late-Victorian high society brouhaha involving the Prince of Wales). Both this one-off drama and the serial of Wuthering Heights led their producer Peter Leslie Wild to choose Fritha Goodey for a venture that could have meant regular work for some years to come: the serial adaptations of Lindsey Davis's highly regarded series of private-eye novels set in ancient Rome, for Radio 4.
The first of the series, The Silver Pigs (adapted by Mary Cutler), was broadcast in March this year, and featured Anton Lesser as Marcus Didius Falco, with Goodey taking the female lead, the cool and resourceful senator's daughter Helena. She turned in an admirable performance which, given further serialisations, might well in time have touched classic radio-drama status.
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