Oh dear, we have lost another one. Another national treasure of Britain has gone, and one of my favourites. Lost to cancer at the age of 62. And in keeping with her lifestyle, she kept her cancer battle secret, even her closest friends didn’t know she had been diagnosed with the disease.
But the sad news is.. Victoria Wood has gone.
And I confess to shedding a tear.
Vic in character
I think she just informed the lives of so many of us. A Northern girl, a Lancashire lass. Not beautiful , not slim, just an extremely funny, talented writer, actor, songwriter and stand up comedienne. She did it all so wonderfully.
And won many awards for it.
She is such a part of the national psyche that her phrases – have entered the language. A common woodism, is to say, when meaning the genuine article, ‘Oh, It’s totally Bono Frodo.’
There was always warmth, in her observational humour and she found humour in the most mundane things, everything was fodder for her talent, and as crime writers I think we know that feeling.
I think, knowing a few people who worked with her, that like many extremely talented, funny people, she was a extremely hard working perfectionist. Driven, attention to detail was everything. And people like that are not always the easiest people.
the Acorn Antiques Gang
She had her crew that she liked to work with that had been with her since her earliest days. Duncan Preston, Celia Imrie, and of course Julie Walters. Julie said she was "too heart sore to comment - the loss of her is incalculable".
I first came across Victoria playing the piano and singing a comedy song weekly on the Esther Rantzen show, That’s Life in the early 70’s. It would be a comic ditty on the news events on that week. Her wit and timing was superb.
Victoria Wood: As Seen On TV and many other TV Series followed, often with recurring characters played by her friends;, Mrs Overall. Kimberly, Kitty. ( That was the characters, not the friends!)
Michael Ball told the BBC she was a "trailblazer" for other female comedians. She gave inspiration to other women because she wasn't having to be sexy and rude, although she was all of those things. She was just brilliant. She made it seem to other women, you can do this. You just need to look at the various social media feeds to see the people she's influenced."
Ma name is Kimberly...
Michael knew her well, both as a friend and as a fellow performer. "She was the most loyal and lovely friend you could ever wish for” adding that she was "very private" and had not wanted people to know how ill she was.’
JK Rowling retweeted a link to a video of Wood performing one of her comedy songs, Reincarnation Song, saying: "Watch and weep. 62 is far too young. RIP Victoria Wood."
BBC director general Tony Hall said: "Victoria Wood was a woman with a stunning array of talents - a comedian, singer, songwriter, actress and director. People identified with her warmth and great charm.
Even the charismatically challenged prime minister commented, "Victoria Wood was a national treasure loved by millions. My thoughts are with her family."
As Brenda in Dinnerladies, which she wrote, starred in directed.. probably made the sandwiches too.
Victoria also broke box office records with her stand-up tours. Her stand up comedy was interspersed with her quirky and often hysterical songs performed at the piano. She won British Comedy Awards in 1990 and 2001. In 1993, she had a record breaking 15 nights at the Royal Albert Hall, where she was on stage, on her own in front of an audience of 15 000 people every night. And every one of them would have tears rolling down their cheeks.
I don’t know how much of this humour translates to the abroad but Zoe will be falling off her motorbike laughing.
Could we be twins??
Victoria was simply, one of the most gifted entertainment figures of her generation, as a comedian, writer, singer, actor. She could do it all. I know that I have been influenced by her; my ‘comic timing’ has been borrowed from her. I have all her DVDs, all her videos from the old days. I have watched and analysed what she does- she was a very, very clever cookie.
Here’s a link to my favourite routine of hers. My pal and I used to be able to perform this. Him on the piano playing the part of ‘Barry’ as I sang Freda.
If you have a spare few minutes watch and giggle. This is the original version,. It was updated over the years to keep it topical.
One of my favourites was a throwaway comment. She was playing an overweight school girl who had been taken out of the PE class because on a previous cross country run, she had ‘ dented a viaduct’
What a great image.