4 Extra Celebrates Dora Bryan

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20140301

Lynne Truss explores the remarkable career of Dora Bryan, with highlights from the archive

Oldham-born Dora Bryan is hailed as one of Britain's great all-round performers. With her unmistakable voice and scene-stealing comic timing, she was a regular pleasure of 1950s and 60s British cinema, playing a series of 'tarts with hearts'. But she was just at home on stage performing Pinter, belting out show tunes in Hello, Dolly! or captivating listeners from behind a microphone. And well into her 70s she was still in the West End singing, dancing and doing the splits.

Now aged 91, Dora has retired from the spotlight. But joining Lynne Truss in the studio to discuss her life and career are Dora's friend and co-star Bernard Cribbins, her long-time BBC radio drama producer Martin Jenkins, the theatre critic Benedict Nightingale and film writer Matthew Sweet.

Archive includes: Desert Islands Discs from 1987, when Dora was Michael Parkinson's castaway; Jimmy Chinn's drama Perfect Timing about a struggling music hall duo all at sea on a cruise ship booking starring Dora, Bernard Cribbins and Roy Barraclough; That Reminds Me from 2000, in which Dora recalls her stage, film and TV career; With Great Pleasure from 2003, featuring readings from Dora's favourite books; and The Child Within, Wally K Daly's moving monologue written especially for and performed by Dora Bryan.