BBC Radio 4, 13 June 2012
The phrase 'national treasure' has been much bandied about these days.
Stephen Fry objected to being described as such recently, while Jean Marsh was recently given the soubriquet after having
been recognized in the Queen's Birthday Honours List for her work in the theatre and on television.
June Whitfield may deserve the accolade more than most. She has been a fixture on
radio for six decades now, having made her name in Take it From Here. Her television career has been equally lengthy,
with long spells in Happy Ever After, Terry and June and Absolutely Fabulous. Her career shows
no signs of abating; last year she played Margaret Rutherford in A Monstrous Vitality, reviewed on this site.
Now she has been given her own four-part series of comedies in which she plays a
variety of roles. In Lost and Found she took the role of Kate, a retired ex-Member of Parliament with a penchant
for watching antiques programmes such as Lolly in the Loft, a fictionalized amalgam of Cash in the Attic
and Bargain Hunt with an equally obnoxious presenter Terence (Robert Blythe). Kate becomes involved with the
programme's researcher Sam (Ella Smith), who is unable to have children with her partner Danny (Joe Sims).
The plot is a slight one; focusing on the ways in which Kate sees her younger self
in Sam. Kate appears on the programme, makes herself some money, and ends up by trying to help Sam and Danny, after
Sam discovers that she has accidentally become pregnant.
Whitfield enjoyed herself in a fundamentally benevolent role, forming a comic double-act
with Marcia Warren's Virginia, Kate's equally dotty friend since childhood. The director was David Hunter.