Julia Lang

Julia Lang born London, 1921 is a film and radio actress and a radio presenter. She is best known for the BBC radio programme Listen with Mother.

The theme music for the programme was the Berceuse from Gabriel Fauré's Dolly Suite for piano duet, Op. 56. A recording was often used but, Lang, in an Anglia Television interview in the 1990s, said that during her tenure, when she finished reading the story, she had to get up (noiselessly), rush across to the piano in the studio and play the Berceuse live.

She married William Shine in 1942. They appeared together in the 1948 film The Red Shoes as "a balletomane" and "a balletomane's mate". Their marriage was dissolved in 1949. She has a son, Stephen.[1][2]

Lang died April 1, 2010 at the age of 88 in Aldeburgh, Suffolk.[3]


She appeared in 1977 in Coronation Street as a character called Ethel Platt.

"Are you sitting comfortably?"

Each story on Listen with Mother opened with the phrase "Are you sitting comfortably? Then I'll begin." (sometimes "...Then we'll begin")[5] The question, originally an ad lib by Julia Lang on 16 January 1950, became so well known that it appears up in The Oxford Dictionary of Quotations[6] It has been incorporated and sampled by many artists and musicians. For instance, in the episode "The Idiot's Lantern", in the revived series of Doctor Who, it was used by the alien presence known as "The Wire" appearing on a television screen and addressing its first victim, the hapless Mr. Magpie. It was also used as the opening line in the film The Others. English actor John Wood used the line in the 1983 film WarGames. It was also used on the song "It Doesn't Really Matter" by the Canadian band Platinum Blonde on their 1983 Standing in the Dark album.

The phrase was used as the title and was included in the lyrics of Moody Blues song, "Are You Sitting Comfortably?" from the 1969 album, On the Threshold of a Dream. It was also used at the beginning of the Slade song "Did Your Mama Ever Tell Ya?", which appeared on the band's 1976 album, Nobody's Fools.


  1. "Obituary of Bill Shine". The Independent. Retrieved 12 November 2015.
  2. Free BMD
  3. "Death". Westmorland Gazette. Retrieved 24 October 2018.
  4. "Aveleyman.com". Retrieved 12 November 2015.
  5. "Are You Sitting Comfortably?". Random Radio Jottings. Retrieved 31 August 2015.
  6. "January Anniversaries: Listen with Mother 16 January 1950". The BBC Story. Archived from the original on 2014-01-09.

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