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By far my favorite form of broadcast entertainment is the radio play. Virtually extinct, alas, in America but still going strong in England and, thanks to the internet, readily accessible.

I listen a play a day on average and some actors appear in different plays from time to time. But no one matches Sam Dale for ubiquitous presence. I just heard him in Chandler's 'The Lady In The Lake' on Radio 4. Before that he was in 'The Big Sleep'. He was also in the six-part 'I, Claudius' that was broadcast a couple of months ago. And the 'On Mardle Fen' miniseries. 'Planet B' on Radio 7.

Sam Dale is everywhere. My favorite Sam is as the Hungarian Toby Esterhase in 'The Complete Smiley' series of John Le Carré adaptations a year or two ago. No other part has suited his dulcet tones quite so well.

So here's to you, Sam Dale, and may you forever fill the airways (or internet broadcasts)!