The voice of Listen With Mother;
Born: October 31, 1919; Died: December 21, 2012.
Daphne Oxenford, who has died aged 93, was a successful actress who appeared in many television programmes including Rising Damp and Some Mothers Do Have 'Em. She was also a member of the original cast of Coronation Street, but was most famous for her voice and in particular two sentences that meant it was time for Listen With Mother: "Are you sitting comfortably? Then I'll begin."
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She was born in Barnet in London and trained at the Embassy School of Acting before joining ENSA and entertaining the troops. After the war, she began broadcasting on schools radio and appeared in a series of stage successes – perhaps her biggest break was when Joyce Grenfell spotted her for her revue show. She and Grenfell became great friends.
Her work on Listen With Mother began in 1950 and she stayed with the programme as a storyteller until 1971. The programme – a mix of stories, songs and nursery rhymes – went out every weekday at 1.45pm and Oxenford's arrival was heralded by a snatch of music and a voice that said: "When the music stops, Daphne Oxenford will be here to speak to you." Along with "are you sitting comfortably?", it became a phrase warmly remembered by millions.
Away from Listen With Mother, Oxenford continued to work widely, most notably as Coronation Street's Esther Hayes, who appeared from the second episode onwards. She stayed a year and made occasional guest appearances until the early 1970s. She also made regular appearances with comedians such as Dick Emery and Les Dawson and in more recent years, there were roles in Casualty and The Bill.
She was pre-deceased by her husband David Marshall and is survived by their two daughters.