Alan Strachan

From Trot to Thatcher: the life of Kika Markham

In a varied career, the actress Kika Markham has regularly played real-life charcters, including, on television, Mrs Thatcher — piquant casting for a lifelong anti-capitalist — and memorably on the stage, in David Hare’s The Permanent Way. the novelist Nina Bawden, survivor of the Potters Bar rail crash in which her husband, Austen Kark died.

Not always a saint

On her sole experience of sharing a stage with Sybil Thorndike the redoubtable old dragon, Marie Tempest, found all her scene-stealing tricks foiled by her co-star. Hear- ing of Thorndike’s later damehood she muttered: ‘That’s what comes of playing saints’. Thorndike was, of course, always associated with Saint Joan from her first portrayal of Shaw’s

Love from Snoop or Poj

Noël Coward owned always that luck played a part in his astonishing career alongside his various talents as an actor, dramatist, composer, artist (he described his painting as ‘Touch and Gauguin’), film director and fiction-writer. At various times his reputation nosedived. After he catapulted to fame in his drama of society love affairs and drug-taking