Friends and family remember broadcaster and Richmond resident Rita Fletcher

This Is Local London: Rita Fletcher: Independent spirit Rita Fletcher: Independent spirit

A talented broadcaster who managed to secure an interview with novelist John Boynton Priestley has been remembered by friends and family after she died this month.

Rita Fletcher, born in 1932, grew up in Merthyr Tydfil and considered a career in theatre after a degree at St Andrew’s University.

She started work as a studio manager for BBC radio, where her independent spirit helped her win professional success.

She confronted English playwright JB Priestley, who refused to give interviews, and won him over by telling him she only wanted to ask him one question, which was one he had asked in an essay.

He was so impressed he granted her the interview and told the BBC if they ever wanted another interview from him they should send Rita to do it.

In 1959 she married Ronald Fletcher, one of the BBC’s most celebrated radio announcers. 

Friend Lee Langley said: “They made a handsome couple, with Rita’s dramatic beauty, vibrant personality and mischievous sense of humour.

“Rita was no Pollyanna; she was very aware of life’s hazards and dark side, but she refused to be gloomy.

“Even towards the end, when she had become very frail, our meetings were lit by laughter.”

She became one of the pioneering all-woman team presenting ITV’s Good Afternoon - a programme that clocked up more than 1,000 editions.

She and her husband shared a passion for golf - she was an active member of the Stage Golfing Society, and the Royal Mid–Surrey Golf Club for many years.

The pair had two children - Amanda, a portrait painter based in Sweden, and Jonathan, who runs a golf hotel and spa resort in Madeira.

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