I know this might read a bit clickbaity, but genuinely, I always adored the work of the late, great Victoria Wood. Of the many punches to the gut that 2016 gave us, her loss one of the heaviest. What an immense talent: a wonderful writer, performer and human being.
But what a body of work she leaves behind. I had the pleasure of seeing her perform live once, at a gig in Blackpool where she had more than a few words to say about the brown wallpaper. It was such a joyful evening.I have a particular fondness for her songs. Writing comedy songs is such an incredible skill, and performing them with such gusto no easier. I dunno. Seeing Wood, smiling, clearly having a ball, belting out these numbers, makes the world seem right for a few minutes.
I thought some of you might share that thought, too. Here’s a collection of four or five of my favourites. Hopefully – almost certainly – they’ll bring as big a smile to your face as they did mine.
Thanks for everything, Victoria Wood.
I’ve Had It Up To Here
A familiar introduction, perhaps, but here’s one you may not have heard before. This was Wood’s performance at 1981’s The Secret Policeman’s Other Ball, and I’m indebted to the YouTube description for alerting me to the fact that it first came from her 1980 play, Good Fun.
Working With Your Sisters
Working with longtime collaborator, the brilliant Julie Walters, the pair starred in Wood & Walters. On that show, here’s what happened when Victoria Wood turned her gaze to The Nolans.
As performed on Victoria Wood’s All Day Breakfast back in 1992, here’s the sublime Real Life. It may not be Wood’s most famous song, but as ever, there’s some lovely observational stuff in here.
The down to earth observations, and putting a human perspective on them, were core to lots of Wood’s songs. This one’s a perfect example.
Freda And Barry
Ah, a flat-out classic. I first saw this on the Audience With Victoria Wood video that my brother bought in the Woolworths sale. But here’s her performance from her 1994 Live In Your Own Home special. Beautifully observed, and – as ever – who else could perform it was well as this?
It seems fitting, too, to include the Doctor Who tribute to that song, with John Barrowman, Catherine Tate and David Tennant performing The Ballad Of Russell & Julie, as Russell T Davies and Julie Gardner prepared to leave the show.
Things Would Never Have Worked
This one’s directly from that ITV Audience With Victoria Wood special. A very funny song about a relationship that was just a little doomed.
Rest in peace, Victoria Wood. How the world misses her.