Victoria Wood: a life on screen
The English writer, actor, songwriter and director Victoria Wood has died, aged 62, after a short battle with cancer.
Tributes are already pouring in from the world of showbiz with many expressing a deep sadness at losing such a great talent and such a young age.
Oh, Victoria Wood. You were SO my hero. I can quote whole scripts by heart.
— Caitlin Moran (@caitlinmoran) April 20, 2016
When anyone ever said women aren’t funny their idiocy could always be exposed with two words: Victoria Wood. #RIP
— Patrick Strudwick (@PatrickStrud) April 20, 2016
No no no no no no no no no. Not victoria wood. Comic relief hero and friend. No. — emma freud (@emmafreud) April 20, 2016
RIP the brilliant Victoria Wood. So innovative, funny and down to earth.
This has not been a good year.
— Ricky Gervais (@rickygervais) April 20, 2016
A beloved icon of British comedy, Wood’s career kicked off when she appeared on the TV talent show New Faces, after which she appeared on sketch show The Summer Show and BBC current affairs programme That’s Life!
Having met Julie Walters in the 1970s, a star partnership was born and Wood wrote a number of successful television programmes starring Walters.
In 1984 the duo were seen once again in Victoria Wood As Seen on Screen, but this time they were joined by a fantastic line-up of actors including Patricia Routledge and Celia Imrie. “Acorn Antiques” is perhaps the show’s best known sketch; a spoof opera set in an antique shop. Walters’ character “Mrs Overall” has become something of legend along with the show’s running gag of being poorly filmed and acted.
The show also featured musical performances for which Victoria was highly praised. The innately British, bawdy and hilarious “Ballad of Barry and Freda” has become so popular that Wood once commented that she “couldn’t finish a show without it”.
1998 saw the airing of Dinnerladies, Wood’s first sitcom, which was a triumph for women in comedy. The programme won countless awards and is still a much-loved series, even spawning a theatrical version in 2009.
After winning two BAFTAs for her ITV drama Housewife, 49 in 2006, Wood’s career strayed slightly from comedy: she travelled the world in Victoria’s Empire, appeared as “Nana” in Ballet Shoes and even guested on The Apprentice: You’re Fired!.
In 2011 she wrote her own musical, That Day We Sang, which was later adapted for television starring Michael Ball and Imelda Staunton. She was crowned “Star Baker” in a Comic Relief special of The Great British Bake Off and she most recently repulsed children everywhere with her turn as nasty Eve in Fungus the Bogeyman.
Her countless number of awards, including an OBE and a CBE, do not do justice to the heart and hilarity of a much-loved woman. She paved the way for women, not only in comedy, but in her versatility as a writer, director and actor. It is an understatement to say that she will be sorely missed.