Victoria Wood first appeared onscreen in 1974 in the television talent show ‘New Faces’ which in turn got her another variety series called ‘The Summer Show’ the next year. More recognition came her way when she appeared as a novelty performer in BBC’s 1976 topical television show ‘That's Life!’. In 1978, she wrote her first stage play ‘Talent’ which starred Hazel Clyne. It was seen by television producer Peter Eckersley who asked Wood to recreate it for television. This resulted in the television film of the same name (1979) in which Julie Walters (who became a long-term collaborator) played the main role with Wood reprising her stage role of Maureen. Its success gave way to two more TV plays – ‘Nearly a Happy Ending’ (1980) and ‘Happy Since I Met You’ (1981). Peter Eckersley further offered the two the sketch comedy show ‘Wood and Walters’ which aired in 1981-1982 on Granada Television. Wood wrote the entire series and also performed in it.
A couple of years later, in 1984, Victoria Wood appeared as a presenter on ‘Insight’, the Yorkshire Television's show meant for hearing-impaired children. The same year, she left Granada Television and joined BBC and the following year her sketch series ‘Victoria Wood: As Seen on TV’ premiered on BBC Two. She wrote the series and also played various roles in it. The ‘Acorn Antiques’ series of sketches (parodies of low budget soap opera) that she wrote for the show became extremely popular and was in 2005 turned into a West End musical ‘Acorn Antiques: The Musical!’ by Wood. The series itself ran for 2 seasons and a special till 1987 and earned critical acclaim as well as the ‘BAFTA Award’ for Best Light Entertainment Programme for both its series and special. Wood bagged the ‘BAFTA’ for Best Light Entertainment Performance for the first series.
In 1988, she appeared in the TV special ‘An Audience with Victoria Wood’ which once again won her the ‘BAFTA Award’ for Best Light Entertainment Performance. This was followed by the six-part series, simply titled ‘Victoria Wood’ (1989). It comprised six one-off situational comedies which was written by Victoria Wood and also starred her as a fictionalised version of herself. The series received mixed critical feedback. The same year, she narrated the children's animation series ‘Puppydog Tales’. During this time, she also turned storyteller for TV series ‘Jackanory’ (1984-1991) and narrator another TV series ‘Anytime Tales’ (1991).
Thereafter, she wrote and starred in the television comedy special ‘Victoria Wood's All Day Breakfast’ (1992) and the television film ‘Pat and Margaret’ (1994). In the latter, she played the role of Margaret. In 1994 again, she wrote and starred in BBC’s one-off show – ‘Victoria Wood: Live in Your Own Home’ – that was based on her 1993-1994 stage show of the same name. Her 1996-1997 concert tour of the UK was released as ‘Victoria Wood Live 1997’. Earlier, her 1991 live stage show at Southampton was released as the TV special ‘Victoria Wood: Sold Out’ (1991). In 1996, she wrote and presented the TV series documentary ‘Great Railway Journeys’ and additionally, played the role of The Tea Lady in the movie ‘Mr. Toad's Wild Ride’.
She then wrote, co-produced and played the lead role of Brenda Furlong in the sitcom ‘Dinnerladies’. This BBC One series, set in the canteen of a fictional factory, ran for two seasons – from 1998 to 2000 – and earned positive reviews from critics. In the year 2000, she wrote and performed in the Christmas sketch show special ‘Victoria Wood: With All the Trimmings’ and followed it up with two miniseries documentaries – ‘Victoria Wood's Sketch Show Story’ (2002) and ‘Victoria Wood's Big Fat Documentary’ (2004). In 2004, she also wrote, executive produced and presented the TV movie documentary ‘Victoria Wood: Moonwalking’. As an actress, she played the roles of Hairdresser in the TV Movie ‘The Nearly Complete and Utter History of Everything’ (1999) and Queen Mary II in ‘The League of Gentlemen's Apocalypse’ (2005).
In 2006, she wrote, executive produced and played the lead role of the middle-aged woman Nella Last in the ITV drama ‘Housewife, 49’. The series, which was based on the wartime diaries of Nella Last won critical acclaim and two ‘BAFTA Awards’ for Wood – Best Single Drama and Best Actress. The following year, she played the part of Nana in the TV movie ‘Ballet Shoes’ and wrote and presented BBC One’s three-part travel documentary called ‘Victoria's Empire’. In 2009, she once again wrote, executive produced and appeared in various roles in the one-off Christmas sketch-show special ‘Victoria Wood's Mid Life Christmas’. In 2010, she hosted/appeared as Jean’s friend in the television movie ‘The Angina Monologues’ which bagged her the ‘British Comedy Award’ for Best Female TV Comic. In 2011, a television film, based on the idea of Victoria Wood, premiered on BBC Two. In this drama film, titled ‘Eric and Ernie’, she was seen in the role of Sadie Bartholomew, Eric's mother. She was also the executive producer of the film. It won her the Best Single Drama Award at the ‘Royal Television Society, UK’ and ‘Broadcasting Press Guild Awards’. The same year, she acted in two other television movies as well – 'Comic Relief: Uptown Downstairs Abbey' (role: Mrs. Crawler) and ‘The Borrowers’ (role: Granny Driver).
The following year, she wrote and executive produced the television film ‘Loving Miss Hatto’, a biopic of the pianist Joyce Hatto. In 2012 again, she narrated the TV series documentaries, ‘The Talent Show Story’ and ‘Bring Me Morecambe and Wise’. Additionally, she played the role of Special Guest in the TV series ‘Ruddy Hell! It's Harry and Paul’ too. The next year she appeared in the role of Tracy in an episode of another TV series ‘Case Histories’ and presented the TV miniseries documentary about the history of tea titled ‘Victoria Wood's Nice Cup of Tea’. She also wrote it. In 2014, the television adaptation of the 2011 stage musical – ‘That Day We Sang’ – written and composed by Wood aired on BBC Two. She directed this television adaptation. That same year, she wrote and presented the TV movie documentary ‘That Musical We Made’ which was about the making of the above telefilm.
In 2015, she participated as a contestant in the celebrity version of ‘The Great British Bake Off’ and appeared in her last acting role as Eve/Snotsoup in the three-part miniseries ‘Fungus the Bogeyman’.
When the fictional world of Royston Vasey is facing an apocalypse, it seems that the only way to avert disaster for the characters to find a way to get to the real world, and confront their creators. However, several obstacles stand in their way.
Victoria Wood Awards
|Housewife, 49||Best Single Drama||2007|
|Housewife, 49||Best Actress||2007|
|An Audience with Victoria Wood||Best Light Entertainment Performance||1989|
|Victoria Wood: As Seen on TV||Best Light Entertainment Performance||1986|