Dedications: My four late friends Rory, Stan, Bryan, Jeff - shine on you crazy diamonds, they would have blogged too. Then theres Garry from Brisbane, Franco in Milan, Mike now in S.F. / my '60s-'80s gang: Ned & Joseph in Ireland; in England: Frank, Des, Guy, Clive, Joe & Joe, Ian, Ivan, Nick, David, Les, Stewart, the 3 Michaels / Catriona, Sally, Monica, Jean, Ella, Anne, Candie / and now: Daryl in N.Y., Jerry, John, Colin, Martin and Donal.
Wednesday, 20 April 2016
Hearing that Victoria Wood (1953-2016) has died (also of cancer and only 62) has been as shocking as if she had been part of the family. Another titan of British entertainment gone then ....
The multi Bafta award-winning writer, director, actor and comedian was indeed part of the family entertainment scene, as we grew up watching all her wonderful series and enjoying her writing.
Wood found fame in the 1970s with NEW FACES and THAT'S LIFE, then in the 1980s with her TV series VICTORIA WOOD AS SEEN ON TV (I have the dvds which are endlessly re-watchable) and was awarded a CBE in 2008. She won five Baftas including two for her one-off ITV drama HOUSEWIFE 49. She paved the way for the likes of French & Saunders, ABSOLUTELY FABULOUS and the like. Her DINNERLADIES too is comedy heaven with that cast of characters (most of them from CORONATON STREET) who were like her repertory company.
Then of course there's ACORN ANTIQUES and so much more featuring her long-time collaborator Julie Walters. Her PAT AND MARGARET was terrific too. I only have to think of "Two Soups" to start laughing, or her stand-up comedy shows and TV specials and "Let's Do It" ...). Her comedy caught the mundanities of everyday life without being cruel. Her AS SEEN ON TV series showed her comic genius too; those mini-documentaries were as good as anything by Alan Bennett - like her monologues for Patricia Routledge's Kitty. Then there were her AN AUDIENCE WITH .... shows and those tours selling out the Albert Hall over and over. Everyone from Roger Moore to Delia Smith queued up to appear in her great Christmas specials. 2014's THAT DAY WE SANG which she wrote and directed was a delight too (with Michael Ball and Imelda Staunton). We can quote several sketches verbatim. Here's just one:
BBC director general Tony Hall said: "Victoria Wood was a woman with a stunning array of talents - a comedian, singer, songwriter, actress and director." The tributes here in the UK will be warm and heart-felt - like when David Bowie died back in January, or Sir Terry Wogan or Ronnie Corbett ... Victoria was equally loved and influential.