Victoria Wood profile

In what is primarily a male-dominated industry, there was always one female comic who endured, showing the lads how it was done. From sell-out stand-up tours to her own television series, sketch shows and the instant sitcom classic Dinnerladies, Victoria Wood 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. The shy schoolgirl only interested in music lessons at school was transformed 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

In 1973, Victoria 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 was 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 may have had the self belief but it was also, in part, because she couldn't be bothered to anything else. "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." Fortunate, then, for the comedy world that she didn't have a back-up career plan!

A magic engagement

In 1976, Victoria met a stage conjurer called Geoffrey Durham, who was recognisable to millions of kids from his TV appearances as the rather more exotically-named The Great Soprendo, complete with dreadful wig and ropy foreign accent. 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 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 did together, from 'Acorn Antiques' to the TV film 'Pat and Margaret' and sitcom 'dinnerladies', earned them many accolades and awards - including an OBE for Victoria - and a place in our nation's heart as invaluable British comedy assets.