Born in 1953, Victoria Wood wanted to be famous since she was just four
years old. At 12, she began to like the idea of singing songs or being
a comedy actress, but it wasn't until at the age of 15 that her talent
began to shine. She joined a local youth theatre group, and from being a
shy schoolgirl only interested in the music lessons at school, she became
known as a witty and humourous person with bags of talent. She went on to
study drama at Birmingham University and first found her way onto the stage
through her music.
In 1973 Victoria won the TV talent show 'New Faces' at just 20 years old.
Despite her obvious musical and comedy skills however, her originality meant
that it was very difficult to categorise her; she sang funny songs - so
couldn't be called a stand up comic, or a musician. Because of this, agents
were reluctant to take her on, and she remained lesser known for a few years,
during which she continued her interest in theatre.
She met Geoffrey Durham in 1976 when they worked together on stage in
Morecambe, he was a conjurer and she played the piano. They later married
and now have two children, Grace and Henry.
In 1978 she was asked to write songs for a show at the Bush Theatre, and
she later submitted a sketch for the show that was included in an emergency
at the last minute. She also performed in this sketch alongside a then
relatively inknown actress named Julie Walters. It was here that Victoria
Wood and Julie Walters began their long working partnership, and a year later
Victoria wrote a play called 'Talent', which was made into a television show
that they starred in together.
In 1980 they were given their own TV show 'Wood and Walters' but this only
lasted for one series. Soon afterwards, Julie Walters was given the starring
role in the Oscar-winning film 'Educating Rita', while in the meantime
Victoria returned to the stage. Music had lost its popularity in variety
shows so she started learning how to present her 'lyrics' in the form of
stand-up comedy. She did a number of live, solo shows in front of small
audiences, but it wasn't until she reformed with Julie Walters in 1984
that she became a household name.
She began writing for the BBC, a comedy series called 'Victoria Wood as Seen
on TV' - a hugely successful show which won two BAFTA awards and led to a
second series and a Christmas Special.
From there Victoria moved to ITV for a one-off 'Audience With Victoria Wood'
stand up show in front of the likes of French and Saunders and similar comedy
Alongside her TV successes Victoria wrote a number of comedy sketch and song
books, including It's Up to You, Porky (1985), Barmy (1987) and Mens Sana in
Thingummy Doodah (1990).
Her next piece of work which won much acclaim was the TV film Pat and Margaret
in 1994, which described her 'As Seen on TV' pals Celia Imrie, Julie Walters
and Duncan Preston. Among one critic is Mrs Merton star Caroline Aherne who
describes the film as being 'Absolutely Brilliant'.
She has won an OBE and countless awards for her outstanding comedy shows,
while still continues to do live stand-up tours (most recently in 1997).
Her latest project is something a little bit new, she's written a sitcom
called Dinner Ladies (1998) which was one of the BBC's most promising and
successful sitcoms of last year. Alongside
herself as Bren, among the cast are of course Julie Walters (playing Bren's
mum!), Celia Imrie and Duncan Preston. This has already been praised and will
undoubtedly prove that Victoria Wood is one of British Television's greatest
Also by Caroline Marshall
Gimme Gimme Gimme