Victoria Wood

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 .

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 Victoria Wood's Early years

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 .

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 Victoria Wood's Career


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.

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 Victoria Wood's Awards and recognition

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 .

BAFTA nominations[edit]

YearAwardNominated workResult
1986 Best Light Entertainment PerformanceVictoria Wood as Seen on TVWon
1987 Best Light Entertainment PerformanceVictoria Wood as Seen on TVNominated
1988 Best Light Entertainment PerformanceVictoria Wood as Seen on TVNominated
1989 Best Light Entertainment PerformanceAn Audience With Victoria WoodWon
1990 Best Light Entertainment PerformanceVictoria WoodNominated
1995 Best ActressPat and MargaretNominated
Best Single DramaPat and MargaretNominated
Best Light Entertainment PerformanceVictoria Wood: Live in Your Own HomeNominated
1999 Best Comedy Programme or SeriesDinnerladiesNominated
2000 Best Situation ComedyDinnerladiesNominated
2001 Best Comedy Programme or SeriesVictoria Wood with All the TrimmingsNominated
2007 Best ActressHousewife, 49Won
Best Single DramaHousewife, 49Won
2011 Best Single DramaEric and ErnieNominated
  • Victoria Wood as Seen on TVwon the BAFTA for Best Entertainment Programme in 1986, 1987 and 1988; these awards went to the producer, Geoff Posner .
  • An Audience With Victoria Woodwon the BAFTA for Best Entertainment Programme in 1989; this award went to David G. Hillier.

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 Victoria Wood's Personal life

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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 Victoria Wood's Death

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 Victoria Wood's Notes

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 Victoria Wood's References

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  2. "Victoria Wood". Desert Island Discs. 23 December 2007. BBC Radio 4. Retrieved 18 January 2014. 
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  4. Duguid, Mark (July 2003). "Wood, Victoria (1953–)". British Film Institute. Archived from the original on 21 January 2007. Retrieved 18 October 2007. 
  5. The guide to... dinnerladies at the Wayback Machine (archived 10 April 2008)
  6. Iley, Chrissy (12 June 2011). "Victoria Wood interview: 'I fear being my mother'". The Telegraph. Retrieved 20 April 2014. 
  7. Whetstone, David (11 February 2006). "Victoria Wood's supermum". The Journal. Retrieved 20 April 2016. 
  8. Holland, Daniel (20 April 2016). "Comedian Victoria Wood dies, aged 62, after cancer battle". Bolton News. Retrieved 20 April 2016. 
  9. "Manchester Stars & Celebrities of Television & Film". Papillon Graphics' Virtual Encyclopedia & Guide to Greater Manchester. Retrieved 22 August 2010. 
  10. Hoyle, Antonia (22 December 2007). "Victoria Wood: The childhood misery that turned me into a funny girl". Daily Mail. Retrieved 20 April 2016. 
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  12. "The Inventory: Victoria Wood". Financial Times. 2 July 2011. Retrieved 20 April 2016. 
  13. "BFI Film & TV Database on The Summer Show". BFI. 29 March 2007. 
  14. ITV 50: What Did ITV Do For Me?, interview with Victoria Wood (September 2005).
  15. Duguid, Mark (July 2003). "Talent (1979)". British Film Institute. Retrieved 18 October 2007. 
  16. Wood, Victoria. "The Ballad of Barry and Freda (Let's do it!)". Retrieved 27 August 2007. 
  17. "Victoria Wood (1989)". British Film Institute. 2007. 
  18. Duguid, Mark (July 2003). "Pat and Margaret (1994)". British Film Institute. Retrieved 18 October 2007. 
  19. Young, Graham (24 March 2000). "Television: Behave yourself Parky!". Birmingham Evening Mail. Retrieved 20 April 2016. (subscription required)
  20. Duguid, Mark (July 2003). "dinnerladies (1998–2000)". British Film Institute. Retrieved 18 October 2007. 
  21. "Victoria Wood's Sketch Show Story". Simply Stephanie Beacham. 2007. Retrieved 18 October 2007. [dead link]
  22. "Victoria Wood's Big Fat Documentary". 2004. Retrieved 18 October 2007. 
  23. Caroline, Briggs (2 December 2004). "Mrs Overall Sings Onto The Stage". BBC News. Retrieved 28 August 2007. 
  24. "Victoria Wood Scoops BAFTA Double". BBC News. 20 May 2007. Retrieved 18 October 2007. 
  25. "Acorn Antiques: The Musical!". The Stage. 28 August 2007. Retrieved 18 October 2007. 
  26. "A Touch of Class?". Ad Breakdown (BBC News). 2 May 2007. Retrieved 18 October 2007. 
  27. "The South Bank Show". 2 May 2007. Retrieved 18 October 2007. 
  28. Mangan, Lucy (30 April 2007). "The Weekend's TV: Victoria's Empire". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 18 October 2007. 
  29. "Happy Birthday BAFTA". BAFTA Heritage. 8 November 2007. Retrieved 15 December 2013. 
  30. Hemley, Matthew (20 July 2007). "Wood to star in a BBC1 adaptation of Ballet Shoes". The Stage. Retrieved 18 October 2007. 
  31. Brown, Mark (17 September 2009). "BBC One Christmas special for Victoria Wood". Seen It. Retrieved 19 September 2009. 
  32. "Victoria Wood tells all about Eric and Ernie". BBC News. 30 December 2010. Retrieved 22 August 2011. 
  33. Warren, Lydia (17 January 2011). "Remembering Manchester Children's Choir". Manchester Evening News. Retrieved 19 July 2011. 
  34. "That Day We Sang : A Manchester love story – with singing". Manchester International Festival. Retrieved 21 August 2011. 
  35. "BBC Radio 2 – Graham Norton, 22/12/2012, Victoria Wood chats to Graham Norton". Retrieved 22 April 2016. 
  36. Loving Miss Hatto, BBC Media Centre. Retrieved: 24 December 2012.
  37. Gilbert, Gerard (11 April 2013). "Last Night's Viewing: Victoria Wood's Nice Cup of Tea, BBC1 The Century That Wrote Itself, BBC4". The Independent (London). 
  38. Davies, Serena (20 May 2013). "Case Histories, BBC One, review". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 20 April 2016. 
  39. "QI – Kitchen Sink". BBC. Retrieved 20 April 2016. 
  40. "I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue – Series 60". Radio Times. Retrieved 20 April 2016. 
  41. British Comedy Guide. "The Graham Norton Show – Series 16 Episode 10 (Michael Keaton, Jamie Oliver, Victoria Wood, Sir Ian McKellen, One Direction) – British Comedy Guide". Retrieved 22 April 2016. 
  42. Ingate, Kathryn. "Watch Victoria Wood joke about plastic surgery". Retrieved 22 April 2016. 
  43. Nissim, Mayer (5 December 2013). "Imelda Staunton, Michael Ball for Victoria Wood drama Tubby and Enid". Digital Spy. Retrieved 20 April 2016. 
  44. Price, Annie (13 March 2015). "Red Nose Day 2015: Victoria Wood crowned Great Comic Relief Bake Off champion". Daily Express. Retrieved 20 April 2016. 
  45. "Fungus The Bogeyman Series 1". Sky. Retrieved 2 January 2016. 
  46. "Victoria Wood – A Chronology". July 2003. Retrieved 18 October 2007. 
  47. "Alumni". University of Sunderland. July 2003. Archived from the original on 13 January 2007. Retrieved 18 October 2007. 
  48. The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 58729. p. 8. 14 June 2008.
  49. "The A-Z of laughter (part two)". London: The Guardian. 7 December 2003. Retrieved 18 October 2007. 
  50. "The comedians' comedian : News 2004 : Chortle : The UK Comedy Guide". 2004. Retrieved 28 October 2013. 
  51. "Eric Idle // Idleized Heaven // The Daily Dirty Fork – 2005". 2005. Archived from the original on 3 October 2007. Retrieved 31 October 2007. 
  52. "Bafta Television and Craft". Bafta. Archived from the original on 1 June 2007. Retrieved 1 June 2007. 
  53. "Wood nominated for record BAFTA". BBC News. 11 April 2007. Retrieved 6 January 2010. 
  54. "Victoria Wood scoops Bafta double". BBC News. 20 May 2007. Retrieved 6 January 2010. 
  55. "Radio Times Comedy Poll results". BBC News Online. 21 August 2001. Retrieved 18 October 2007. 
  56. "Victoria Wood voted funniest woman". Manchester Evening News. 17 August 2005. Archived from the original on 10 February 2012. Retrieved 18 October 2007. 
  57. The British Comedy Awards – Past Winners
  58. "BAFTA Awards – Victoria Wood". British Academy of Film and Television Arts. Retrieved 20 April 2016. 
  59. "Comic Wood splits from husband". BBC News. 25 October 2002. Retrieved 13 March 2011. 
  60. Anglesey, Natalie. "Victoria Wood: I’m making a song and dance of a Mancunian love story". Manchester Evening News. Retrieved 22 April 2016. 
  61. Bates, Stephen (22 May 2002). "Peace of the action". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 30 December 2011. 
  62. "Victoria Wood Was Determined To Battle Cancer Privately, Says Brother". The Huffington Post. 21 April 2016. Retrieved 2 May 2016. 
  63. Saul, Heather. "Victoria Wood dead: Actress and comedian dies from cancer". The Independent. Retrieved 20 April 2016. 
  64. "Victoria Wood Sold Out". British Film Institute. Retrieved 20 April 2016. 
  65. "Wood, Victoria (1953–)". British Film Institute. Retrieved 20 April 2016. 

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