Jessie's Radio Career

Jessie Matthews broadcasting from the Royal Albert Hall during the Gaumont British Film Carnival 12th March 1937.

Jessie had a very full international radio career comprising live and prerecorded shows, concerts, plays, retrospectives, and most famously a very long running soap serial. Among the highlights were the 1976 Leading Ladies appearance in which Jessie narrated a potted autobiography featuring dozens of songs from shows, and films as well as a special recording of "A Room With A View" especially for the broadcast; and the 1953 Tasmanian music reviews in which Jessie performed many of her most famous songs to piano acompanyment. But Jessie is probably today best remembered for her radio Soap character Mary Dale, in 'The Dales' formerly 'Mrs Dale's Diary'. Jessie later recalled "I was constantly amazed at the enormous public 'The Dales' had. When I appeared on the Royal Command Performance the Queen Mother told me the programme was one of her favourites and she tried never to miss it. The members of the cast were lovely people. Shirley Dixon who played my daughter-in-law, was very glamorous and was always knitting for her two little daughters. Charles Simon, my doctor husband, slept a lot and was often woken up by me just in time to step up to the microphone. I was always amazed how wide awake he was in an instant reading his script word perfect. It was through this programme that I met the most important friend of my life, Rae Ball." Actually Jessie met Rae whilst commuting to 'The Dales' recording studio and it was by meeting him that she later did a television commercial for a soap detergent, from which she earnt enough to buy a small cottage in the country.

For more information and excerpt of Jessie playing Mary Dale on 'The Dales' please visit the marvelous 'Mrs Dale's Diary' page on the 'Radio Days' website.