BBC Radio 7, 9 May 2009
This monologue dating from 2002 was Dame Thora Hird's last performance
recorded shortly before her death at 91. She played Mrs. Walker, a resident of a care home who lived a humdrum existence whose
main highlight was the weekly visit of Mr. Pilling to read the Bible and discuss spiritual matters. We learned that Pilling's
"spirituality" consisted of flirting with the residents, while gratifying his lust by fondling them. Mrs. Walker's daughter
Vera reacted to this news with horror, and insisted that her mother be transferred to an alternative place at once. However
things turned out differently: Mrs. Walker did not object to a little harmless "fun" and eventually secured a double room
with her friend Blanche. Pilling escaped scot-free; on the contrary, his visits were eagerly awaited, particularly when he
decided to come twice rather than once a week. The monologue ended with Mrs. Walker gazing at the sun (hence the title) and
thanking the powers that be for the few moments of sexual excitement she continued to enjoy.
The Last of the Sun was a slight piece, performed by Hird in an occasionally
tremulous tone, but nonetheless emphasizing her strength of character. She resented the fact that her family had shut
her away in a care home; now she was there, she objected to further interference from her daughter. Like the actress herself,
Mrs. Walker was fundamentally good-hearted, standing up for herself in the face of adversity. The producer was Colin Smith.