By Susie Cook

RITA WEBB was waiting for me at the gate of her terraced house in Bayswater, London, and passing the time of day with a neighbour.
I could tell it was her from half a mile away. The damson-coloured hair, crowning 4ft 6in of curves that had given in disgracefully, and the fair sprinkling of "bloodys," could not have belonged to anyone else.

Rita Webb
"We go fishing"

"Hello, darlin'" she wheezed, bright red mouth beaming a motherly welcome.
As I followed her shuffling bedroom slippers into the kitchen, we were already friends. Rita, described by one TV producer as "an incredible hag." Is a lovely lady.
But she has made a speciality ofgin-soaked, fag-end types, like the character she plays in Till Death Us Do Part (BBC1, 9.25).
Settling me in a chair, with a biscuit and a cup of tea, she kicked off her slippers, and told me how she was almost in tears after one week with the Till Death team. "They were so bloody good to me," she said. "I've never been so happy as working with that crowd." Then Rita turned on her posh telephone voice "Yew know," she said, 2ai started in drama," then back to the cockney voice we know "but all I pay now is bloody old cows!"
Though Rita might be a hag to some people, to al Jeffery, her husband for 33 years, she is his affectionate "Podge." "He never wants to go anywhere without me because we love each other, and I hold him with reins of elastic," she said. "And when we've got time, we go off fishing, holding hands and singing songs in the car."


THE SUN Wednesday September 27th 1972