Victoria Wood profile

In what is primarily a male-dominated industry there has always been one female comic who has endured, showing the lads how it's done. From sell-out stand-up tours to her own television series, sketch shows and the instant sitcom classic Dinnerladies, Victoria Wood has ascended to comedic royalty.

Victoria Wood

A born show-off

Born in 1953, Victoria 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 when she joined a local youth theatre group that she began to put her money where her mouth was. This transformed her from a shy schoolgirl only interested in the music lessons at school and she went on to study drama at Birmingham University where she first found her way onto the stage.

A New Face... and a future star

Contrary to the reams of dross that usually pass through television talent shows, Victoria is one talent who actually owes her initial success partly to her winning one such programme. In 1973 She won the TV talent show 'New Faces' at just 20-years-old, although at first people found it difficult to categorise her unique brand of entertainment - she sang funny songs - so couldn't be called a stand-up comic, yet neither was she seen as 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.

Struggling talent

Looking back on this difficult time, Victoria remains philosophical about her rise to the top. When asked to comment on how she remained positive without any encouragement from the industry she once remarked that it was thanks to having "a very big ego and a very big streak of stubbornness." She went on to suggest that this stubbornness combined with apathy also proved a good combination. "I knew that I was good at something and I knew I wasn't good at anything else, and it was mainly apathy and also just a very deep rooted feeling that they were wrong and I would do it somehow."

A magic engagement

In 1976 Victoria met a stage conjurer called Geoffrey Durham, but who was more recognisable for millions of kids from his televisual appearances as the rather more exotically-named Great Suprendo, complete with dreadful wig and ropey foreign accent - how could Victoria resist? They began working together and later married and had two children, but separated in 2002.

Wood and Walters

In 1978 Victoria was asked to write songs for a show at the Bush Theatre, London, and later submitted a sketch for a show that was included in an emergency at the last minute. She also performed in this sketch alongside a then relatively unknown actress named Julie Walters. It was here that the two began their long working partnership. Over the years, the work they've done together, from 'Acorn Antiques' to the TV film 'Pat and Margaret' and 'Dinnerladies', earned them many accolades, awards - including an OBE for Victoria - and a place in our nation's heart as invaluable British comedy assets.