Victoria WoodCBE(19 May 1953 – 20 April 2016) was an English comedian, actress, singer and songwriter, screenwriter and director. Wood wrote and starred in sketches, plays, musicals, films and sitcoms, and her live comedy act was interspersed with her own compositions, which she performed on piano. Much of her humour was grounded in everyday life and included references to quintessentially "British" activities, attitudes and products. She was noted for her skills in observing culture and in satirising social classes.Wood started her career in 1974 by winning the ATV talent showNew Faces. She established herself as a comedy star in the 1980s, winning a BAFTA TV Award in 1986 for the sketch seriesVictoria Wood as Seen on TV(1985–87), and became one of Britain's most popular stand-up comics,winning a second BAFTA forAn Audience with Victoria Wood(1988). In the 1990s she wrote and co-starred in the television filmPat and Margaret(1994) and the sitcomDinnerladies(1998–2000).She won two more BAFTA TV Awards , including Best Actress , for her 2006 ITV1 television film,Housewife, 49.Wood frequently worked with long-term collaborators Julie Walters , Duncan Preston and Celia Imrie .
and then Bury Grammar School for Girls ,where she immediately found herself out of her depth. She recalled in an interview forDesert Island Discsin 2007:
She later went on to study drama at the University of Birmingham .
That's Life!in 1976. Wood met long-term collaborator Julie Walters in the early 1970s, when Wood applied for Manchester Polytechnic ,and coincidentally met again when they appeared in the same theatre revueIn at the Deathin 1978 (for which Wood wrote a brief sketch). Its success led to the commissioning of Wood's first playTalent(also in 1978), starring Hazel Clyne (in a role originally written for Walters), for which Wood won an award for the Most Promising New Writer. Peter Eckersley , the head of drama at Granada Television , sawTalentand invited Wood to create a television adaptation. This time Julie Walters took the lead role, while Wood reprised her stage role.
led to Wood writing the follow-up,Nearly a Happy Ending. Shortly afterwards she wrote a third play for Granada,Happy Since I Met You, again with Walters alongside Duncan Preston as the male lead. In 1980, she also wrote and starred in the stage playGood Fun.
suffered due to his death.She was not impressed by Brian Armstrong, the fill-in for Eckersley, and was of the opinion that he hired unsuitable supporting actors.
Wood appeared as a presenter in Yorkshire Television 's 1984 schools television programme for hearing-impaired children,Insight, in a remake of the series originally presented by Derek Griffiths . In 1982 and 1983 she appeared as a panellist on BBC Radio 4'sJust a Minute.
had theAcorn Antiquessketch, a parody of a low-budget soap opera,Crossroads, and rumoured to be named after an antiques shop in her birthplace.Acorn Antiquesis remembered for characters such as "Mrs Overall" (played by Walters), the deliberately bad camera angles and wobbling sets, and Celia Imrie's sarcastic tone as "Miss Babs". Wood's most popular comic song,"The Ballad of Barry and Freda (Let's Do It)", originated in this show. It tells the story of Freda (a woman eager for sex) and Barry (an introverted man terrified of sex), and makes clever use of allusions to a multitude of risqué activities while avoiding all taboo words.A second series ofVictoria Wood as Seen on TVwas made in 1986, followed by a one-off 'special' in 1987.
In 1988 she appeared in the BAFTA -winningAn Audience with Victoria Woodfor ITV . At the time of recording the show, she was six months pregnant.
There was a brief return to sketches with the 1992 Christmas Day specialVictoria Wood's All Day Breakfast. The television filmPat and Margaret(1994), starring Wood and Julie Walters as long-lost sisters with very different lifestyles, continued her return to stand-alone plays with a poignant undercurrent to the comedy.
Her first sitcomDinnerladies(1998), continued her now established milieu of mostly female, mostly middle-aged characters depicted vividly and amusingly, but with a counterpoint of sadder themes.
(2002) andVictoria Wood's Big Fat Documentary(2005).
, which opened in 2005 at the Theatre Royal, Haymarket , London, for a limited period, directed by Trevor Nunn . It starred most of the original cast, with Sally Ann Triplett playing Miss Berta (played in the series by Wood). Wood played Julie Walters' character Mrs Overall for matinee performances.
Housewife, 49(2006), an adaptation of the real diaries of Nella Last , and played the eponymous role of an introverted middle-aged character who discovers new confidence and friendships in Lancashire during the Second World War .Housewife, 49was critically praised, and Wood won BAFTAs for both her acting and writing for this drama – a rare double.
with a new cast. The musical opened at the Lowry in Salford in December and toured the United Kingdom from January to July 2007.
Wood was also the subject of an episode ofThe South Bank Showin March 2007, and is the only woman to be the subject of twoSouth Bankprogrammes (the previous occasion was in September 1996).
Victoria's Empire, in which she travelled around the world in search of the history, cultural impact and customs the British Empire placed on the parts of the world it ruled. She departed Victoria Station, London, for Calcutta , Hong Kong and Borneo in the first programme. In programme two she visited Ghana , Jamaica and Newfoundland and in the final programme, New Zealand , Australia and Zambia , finishing at the Victoria Falls .
In a tribute to Wood, the British television station UKTV Gold celebrated her work with a weekend marathon of programmes between 3 and 4 November 2007 featuring programmes such asVictoria Wood LiveandDinnerladiesin addition toVictoria Wood as Seen on TV– its first screening on British television since 1995.
On Boxing Day 2007 she appeared as "Nana" in the Granada dramatisation of Noel Streatfeild 's novelBallet Shoes.
In December 2007, when a guest on the radio programmeDesert Island Discs, Wood said she was about to write a film, described as a contemporary comedy about a middle-aged person, marking her first foray into film. On Thursday, 12 June 2008, Wood was a member of the celebrity guest panel on the seriesThe Apprentice: You're Fired!on BBC Two. In June 2009, she appeared as a panellist on the first two episodes of a series ofI'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue.
, transmitted on BBC One at 21:00 on Christmas Eve 2009.It includedLark Pies to Cranchesterford, reuniting Wood with Julie Walters in a spoof of BBC period dramasLark Rise to Candleford,Little DorritandCranford; a spoof documentary,Beyond the Marigolds, followingAcorn Antiquesstar Bo Beaumont (Walters); highlights from theMid Life Olympics 2009. with Wood as the commentator; parodies of personal injury advertisements; and a reprise of Wood's most famous song "The Ballad of Barry and Freda" ("Let's Do It"), performed as a musical number with tap-dancers and a band.Victoria Wood: Seen On TV, a 90-minute documentary looking back on her career, was broadcast on BBC Two on 21 December, whilst a behind-the-scenes special programme aboutMidlife Christmas,Victoria Wood: What Larks!, was broadcast on BBC One on 30 December.
as Sadie Bartholomew, mother of Eric Morecambe .
, a musical set in 1969 with flashbacks to 1929. It tells the story of a middle-aged couple who find love after meeting on a TV programme about a choir they both sang in 40 years previously. Although the characters are imaginary, the choir sang with the Hallé Orchestra in Manchester's Free Trade Hall on a record that sold more than a million copies. Apart from the pieces on the 1929 recording ( Purcell's " Nymphs and Shepherds " and the Evening Benediction fromHansel and Gretel) the score for the musical was written by Wood.
Case Historiesstarring Jason Isaacs .She appeared in an episode ofQI, broadcast on 13 December 2013,and around the same time made two return appearances onI'm Sorry I Haven't a Clueduring the show's 60th series.In March 2014, Wood voiced the TV advertisement for the tour of the old set ofCoronation Street. On 5 December 2014 Wood was a guest on BBC'sThe Graham Norton Show.On 26 December 2014, a television adaptation ofThat Day We Sang, starring Michael Ball and Imelda Staunton , was shown on BBC Two .
She co-starred with Timothy Spall in Sky television's three-part television adaptation ofFungus the Bogeyman, which was first shown on 27, 28 & 29 December 2015,her last acting project and final role.
She was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2008 Birthday Honours.
In the 2005 Channel 4 poll theComedians' Comedian, she was voted 27thout of the top 50 comedy acts by fellow comedians and comedy insiders. She was the highest-ranked woman on the list, above French and Saunders (who paid tribute to her in theirLord of the Ringsspoof, where a map of Middle-Earth shows a forest called 'Victoria Wood'), Joan Rivers and Joyce Grenfell .
for and wonthe BAFTA awards for "Best Actress" and for "Best Single Drama" for her role in the British war-time drama Housewife, 49 , in which she played the part of a housewife dominated by her moody husband. Wood's character eventually stands up to him and helps the WRVS (Women's Royal Voluntary Service) in their preparations for British soldiers.
Wood was also voted 'Funniest Comedian' by the readers ofReader's Digestin 2005and came eighth in ITV's poll of the public's50 Greatest Stars, four places behind occasional co-star Julie Walters .
|1986||Best Light Entertainment Performance||Victoria Wood as Seen on TV||Won|
|1987||Best Light Entertainment Performance||Victoria Wood as Seen on TV||Nominated|
|1988||Best Light Entertainment Performance||Victoria Wood as Seen on TV||Nominated|
|1989||Best Light Entertainment Performance||An Audience With Victoria Wood||Won|
|1990||Best Light Entertainment Performance||Victoria Wood||Nominated|
|1995||Best Actress||Pat and Margaret||Nominated|
|Best Single Drama||Pat and Margaret||Nominated|
|Best Light Entertainment Performance||Victoria Wood: Live in Your Own Home||Nominated|
|1999||Best Comedy Programme or Series||Dinnerladies||Nominated|
|2000||Best Situation Comedy||Dinnerladies||Nominated|
|2001||Best Comedy Programme or Series||Victoria Wood with All the Trimmings||Nominated|
|2007||Best Actress||Housewife, 49||Won|
|Best Single Drama||Housewife, 49||Won|
|2011||Best Single Drama||Eric and Ernie||Nominated|
but continued to live near one another and were on good terms.Her son Henry made a cameo appearance as a teenager inVictoria Wood's Mid Life Christmasas listed in the show's closing credits, being listed between Jennie Dale and Steve Elias on the rolling credits. He also appeared in the accompanying 'behind the scenes' programmeVictoria Wood: What Larks!where his credit was placed over a still photo of himself, taken from the video footage of the recording.
with her husband and was a vegetarian, once remarking, "I'm all for killing animals and turning them into handbags. I just don't want to have to eat them."
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