This is only going to be a short post, dedicated to my favourite female comedian who died on 20th April 2016 following a short battle with cancer.
Victoria was born on 19th May, 1953 in Prestwich, Lancashire, the youngest daughter of Stanley and Nellie Wood, with two sisters and a brother. She received her education at Bury Grammar School then studied drama at University of Birmingham.
Victoria was well known for her style of humour, which played a lot on understated sarcasm, her delivery was very subtle, and yet deadly accurate. I remember the first time I heard ‘The Ballad of Barry and Freda (Let’s do it!), a song Victoria composed about a sexually frustrated housewife and her slightly inadequate nervous partner. I was in hysterics, as the scenarios suggested grew ever more ridiculously passionate. If you have never heard it, I suggest you look it up on YouTube as soon as possible. The lyrics have stayed with me since then. If I remember correctly she did an updated version a few years ago.
Victoria worked well with a number of other well-known names in British comedy, most notably Duncan Preston, Celia Imrie and Julie Walters. A group she returned to on several occasions, particularly in such guises as Acorn Antiques and another of my firm favourites, Dinnerladies, where she played the quiet Bren whose life seemed to be passing her by in a cloud of broken toasters, and missed chances. Her mother was played hilariously by Julie Walters in a glorious display of elderly wind, and name-dropping from the confines of a caravan. Also included in the cast were Celia Imrie and Duncan Preston.
Victoria will be remembered for stand up shows, “An audience with Victoria Wood”, and “Victoria Wood: As seen on TV”. She appeared on several celebrity panel shows, notably “QI” most recently, “Desert Island Discs” and “I’m Sorry, I haven’t a clue”. Her list of achievements also include several successful sketch shows, beginning with Wood and Walters, a successful musical tour of “Acorn Antiques, The Musical!” as well as a number of serious drama roles, Housewife, 49 where she starred as a submissive housewife during the Second World War who stood up to her overbearing husband and followed her dream of doing something to help out the troops, and “Eric and Ernie” where she played the role of Eric Morecombe’s mother Sadie. She also presented a documentary series looking at the influence of the British Empire. All this and more proving her versatility both as a comedian, dramatist and presenter.
Victoria received an OBE in 1997, followed by a CBE nine years later. She was also voted as one of the 50 top comedians of all time in several polls. Victoria and her shows were nominated for 14 BAFTA awards during her career spanning 30 years. Her work won several times. She married magician Geoffrey Dunham in 1980, the couple had a son and a daughter, before separating in 2002.
I’m saddened by the loss of Victoria. Her comic genius will be sorely missed as one of the shining examples of humour of the last 30 years.
I’m looking for me friend. ‘Ave yer seen ‘er?