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Although she will always be known for her comedy, Victoria Wood is an accomplished writer, actress and director whose cumulative achievements have not only earned popular and critical acclaim but a title of CBE.
Hailing from a northern family and a mother who, according to Wood proudly stated that she had ‘no sense of humour’, she seems to have picked up her musical interest from her father, who wrote songs for his insurance company’s annual Christmas do.
Wood first rose to prominence in 1974 when she won the talent show New Faces and, along with her writing partners Julie Walters and Celia Imrie, Wood established herself firmly among the stars of ‘80s comedy with her awarding winning series Victoria Wood As Seen On TV.
To underline just how long Wood has been influencing comedy, she was appearing in Radio 4’s now legendary comedy show Just A Minute when current regular Marcus Brigstocke wasn’t even in his teens.
Her TV work is where Wood has picked up her numerous accolades, with BAFTAS for Best Light Entertainment Performance in 1986 for Victoria Wood As Seen On TV; Best Light Entertainment Performance in 1989 for An Audience With Victoria Wood and Best Television Actress and Best Single Drama for Housewife in 2007.
Among her British Comedy Awards is a gong for Best Live Stand Up in 1991 and a decade later in 2001, Best Female Comedy Performer in 1995, Writer of the Year in 2000 for Dinnerladies; a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2005 and then finally Best Female Television Comic at the 2011 awards.
Among her lasting legacy Wood has helped pave the way for many new faces in comedy. It is almost certain that the Sarah Millican’s of today have been helped by the almost singular success that Wood achieved decades before.
As the Telegraph states, only Victoria Wood could have ‘several minutes of successful dialogue devoted to yogurts and their slimming properties’, which is a compliment and an acknowledgement of her comic ability.
Similarly in musical comedy Wood’s ability to turn a comedy song helped establish the genre and in particular women in the genre (which, it has to be said, is more equally split between the sexes than straight stand-up).
As a woman who won a poll for ‘person you’d most like to live next to’ Wood does keep herself private, but admitted last year that she does tend to spend a lot of her time working.
One of Wood’s recent work her play, The Day We Sang, was the highlight of the 2011 Manchester International Festival while the other, a biopic about the life of Joyce Hatto, is to be screened by the BBC in 2012.
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