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With a few moments to go before the start of the next programme,
I'll just fill you in on what's happening over the next few weeks.
I'm having a small sherry party on Wednesday - just a few friends.
That should be nice.
I've a pair of curtains arriving from Laura Ashley on the 15th.
Sky blue, with a regency stripe.
And at the end of the month, I'm being fired.
Attractive, funny, successful.
Woman of the people.
Welcome to the world of Sacherelle.
She's the best, you know?
You want to work with the best, and she was.
There was nobody to touch her.
Twink, what's the soup?
-Why didn't you put it on the menu?
Can't spell it.
The quality of what she did just stands up.
We'll be talking about fatal plane crashes
and whether it's worth taking sandwiches next week.
I know everyone is unique, but not as unique as her.
I've caught this cold off Susan on smoked meats.
Well, they're not smoked when they come,
but she's on 60 a day.
My God, she was clever.
We want a test-tube baby.
Why? Are there problems?
We've only got a maisonette, so a little tiny test-tube one...
I'm terribly proud to say that she's my friend,
you know, special friend.
I first met Victoria Wood when I got a part in her film Eric & Ernie.
I played a young Eric Morecambe, she played my mum.
It came up in conversation
that I didn't have anywhere to live at the end of the job.
Without hesitating, Vic said,
"Why don't you come and stay with me?"
Then, when I'd been there a couple of weeks,
"Why don't you stay until Christmas?"
Then, in August the following year,
"Why don't you find somewhere to live?"
Spending time with Victoria was inspirational,
and I'll forever count myself lucky to have known our friend Victoria.
So, this episode is all about fame -
how Victoria rose to fame,
and how she embraced it in her comedy.
Proper celebrities, they always give their children
really bizarre names, don't they?
If you're a proper celebrity,
you can't just call your babies Chris and Bob,
you have to call them things like Mercedes and Rainforest.
You see, if I was a proper celebrity.
I'd have to have at least four children -
one naturally, two adopted,
one from sperm sent in by a well-wisher...
..and I'd call them Pinky, Perky,
Monosodium Glutamate and Satsuma, I think.
I do have fans, you know, but I don't have, sort of, mad fans.
I don't have people hanging around the house
trying to drink my bathwater, or anything like that.
And I've only once had one of those letters
from somebody asking for some of my used underwear.
Well, I sent some, you know.
I sent all of it, actually.
I said to them, "There's no need to iron it,
"just fold it flat as it comes out of the tumble dryer."
And I don't have a stalker, as far as I know,
though the police have warned me it's a possibility.
They said to me, "Do you carry any sort of anti-mugging device?"
I said, "Well, I don't really,
"but in the very inside pocket of my handbag
"is my emergency Lil-let...
"..which is about 17 years old.
"And if anybody comes near me, I shall jam it up their nose
"and they'll die of toxic shock syndrome."
LAUGHTER AND APPLAUSE
The first time we saw Vic regularly on TV,
she was singing her own songs on a hugely popular programme
called That's Life.
A lady who always gets the right number is Victoria Wood,
and she's with us again this week
with a song she's written specially for us.
A soft, gentle ballad for May Day.
One, two, three, four!
# According to my horoscope
# This month's gonna be ace
# And the trials of the past eleven
# Will vanish without trace
# I've got to take advantage
# And move without delay
# My stars are gonna twinkle all through May
# My horoscope says go abroad
# If you want to make your mark
# I think I'll make a smudgy one
# And head for the nearest park
# Wander round the soggy pathways
# In my month of wet good luck
# With a bag of rock-hard Wonderloaf
# To see if ducks duck... #
From what I can remember,
she always wanted to stand up, tell jokes,
and sing at the piano.
Do both. And, of course, she did, to great acclaim, quite rightly.
# There's not too many jobs available
# Unqualified as I am
# I've got a Brownies' badge for skipping
# And a Guides' for making jam
# CSE heavy petting
# O-level hanging around
# And I would have got a bronze life-saving medal
# If the person I was saving hadn't drowned
# I've been working in an office
# And I can't face that again
# And I've always fancied being a comedienne... #
She could go so much.
She could write, she could do stand-up comedy.
And all these things, when you're starting out,
you think, "What am I? Am I an actress, am I this?"
And in the end, that galvanises itself into becoming Victoria Wood.
And there's only one.
Fame was just around the corner
when Victoria teamed up with Julie Walters.
The planets aligned.
They made a fantastic double act, complementing each other perfectly.
Like cod and chips.
-What do you want doing?
-It's all right, thank you. My appointment's with Michael.
He's not here. He's gone home sick.
Nearly wore a hole in that bloody toilet.
Wouldn't bother me. I've had septic fingers and all sorts,
carried right on shampooing.
Well, perhaps Brian could cut my hair.
He's off sick and all.
They live together, you know.
Gay. Don't bother me.
I couldn't get steamed up about intercourse one way or the other.
Oh, I do it, you know.
I mean, don't get me wrong,
but I don't smile or nothing.
-Is Maggie here, or...?
They're all off sick.
Why, what's happened?
They sent out for them quarter-pounders.
Now, I don't touch them, because I know the bloke that makes them.
And not only has he got boils and a finger stall,
but he told me what they were made of.
LAUGHTER DROWNS OUT SPEECH
I mean, it's all right
posting one through your mam's letterbox for a laugh,
but you eat one crushed in a bun with a gherkin and a bag of chips
and it's trouble downstairs, know what I mean?
I used to do bits of improvisation,
used to do bits of writing.
And this drama teacher
I had at my college in Leyland, in Lancashire,
said, "You should have a look at Wood And Walters."
Have a lie-down.
I bet he don't know what half these buttons are for, you know.
He's not a bit mechanically minded.
Called the RAC out to adjust his braces.
Good, though, innit? Eh?
They worked as if they were one person, really.
And it was somebody writing the lines as clever as that,
and someone saying those lines in such a clever way,
is a combination that is very rare.
SHE PLAYS SOME WRONG NOTES
Having trouble, are you?
-Just a little? Yeah.
Music like that's all the same
whether you play it wrong or not, isn't it?
-Do you not know any proper tunes?
Do you know Dream Of Olwen? It's lovely, that.
That were on in women's surgical, night I had my cervix cauterised.
You saw the respect that Julie gave to Victoria
as the writer and creator,
and then you saw the respect that Vic gave Julie
when Julie was performing.
It was completely equal.
It was Victoria's own series As Seen On TV that made her famous,
a household name, and deservedly so.
She cooked up everything - the theme tune, the stand-up,
the monologues and the sketches.
This woman said to me,
"Am I speaking to Victoria Wood's secretary?"
And I said, "Oh, yes", trying to sound as if I had nail varnish on.
And she said, "We'd like her to do a fashion feature."
I said, "What? There must be some mistake.
"You must be mixing me up with Benny Hill."
I'm not very fashion-conscious, you know.
As long as it's this year's gravy spilled down the front, I'm happy.
Across the board, I think the format
of the, sort of, stand-up
and the Kitty monologues
and the insert of the mock documentary
and then Acorn Antiques,
it's such an unlikely sort of format for a show
but I remember feeling, within a couple of weeks,
it was like, "This is what the show is",
and it just works so brilliantly on so many levels.
We'd like to apologise to viewers in the north.
It must be awful for them.
The secret of my youthful appearance is simply...
As a face mask, as a nightcap,
and, in an emergency, as a draught excluder.
-What about those Dublin prawns?
-Never touch prawns.
Do you know they hang around sewage outlet pipes,
treading water with their mouths open?
They love it!
So, anyway, I'm at Maison Reenie's...
Aren't prawns an aphrodisiac?
I wouldn't put it past them.
Everyone used to talk about it at school.
We used to do this sketch, you know what I mean?
You'd come in and all the little catchphrases.
And...yeah, it really got under the psyche of the country, didn't it?
Would you rather have a brown washing-up bowl
and a brown washing-up bowl... brush, I mean,
or a red washing-up brush - I mean, bowl -
and a red washing-up brush,
or a yellow washing-up bowl and a brown washing-up brush?
Her most famous creation back then was, of course, Acorn Antiques.
But Vic shone a light on the backstage life of the cast
in a spoof documentary called The Making of Acorn Antiques.
How many people tune in every evening
to hear that oh-so-familiar music?
But what goes on behind the scenes? What don't the public see?
Let's find out exactly what does or doesn't go into the making
of Acorn Antiques.
The Making of Acorn Antiques
is quite rightly an absolute,
not only a classic, but a legend.
I mean, I don't think I've ever since
been in any kind of rehearsal room where somebody, usually me,
will go, Simon, "Lunch, Simon, yes?"
You're being repatriated.
You're to catch the first train to Kirk-cud-bright tomorrow morning.
-I know that. Babs wouldn't.
Now, look. Because he's sort of stunned by this news, isn't he?
-And I'll turn and go...
The camera's on me there, anyway, isn't it?
Simon, yes? Teabreak, Simon? Yes?
Victoria had been around long enough to know all the ins and outs of fame
and the enormous egos that many famous people have.
None more so than Boadicea, or Bo, as she calls herself, Mrs Overall,
where she puts all of that into one character, who is...
her public persona is of, you know, bumbly old Mrs Overall,
and on the other hand, she's an absolutely ruthless diva
who believes she is the greatest star on the planet.
Bo, how are they?
Has this terrible rain brought them on again?
They're fine. I'm fine.
Kenny, if you could hover with my Veganin.
-I'll be here.
-Is there some kind of problem?
Small change, Bo. The pillar box has been stolen.
-So, I come out.
-Walk, walk, walk to the pillar box.
"Blimey, oh, fiddlybob. No pillar box."
-React, react, react.
-Fantastic, it's here.
Ah, back to plan A.
There is now a pillar box.
Oh, there is a pillar box. First, there is no pillar box.
Then one appears. What next? No pavement? No shop?
-I'm sorry, do you mind? This is rather a tricky manoeuvre.
-Rather fussing to be filming as one's working.
-OK, cut it.
We loved the thought of Bo,
that she's this very, very grand actress, doing a...
"Not stuck on the peripheries of the business, really".
There's been a rather a lot made in the press lately of a feud
between you and certain younger members of the cast.
Is there any truth in that?
Dear Paul, I'm a huge, huge star.
This is the price I pay.
Look how the press treated poor Yorkie.
What is that?
It's a haemorrhoid preparation, to be brutally frank.
'The pomposity of the woman,'
then having to play somebody very unattractive,
she'd probably rather have played a Joan Collins part.
-How do you feel?
-I won't talk, Paul, my darling.
I just have to gather myself in.
Header from Michaela.
Coming to two. No, three.
No, it WAS two. Now coming to three.
And in on Babs?
'Pull in close, camera two. Love those nostrils!'
And Princess Margaret is so like me.
Give, give, give.
Do you mind? I did promise the specialist. Well...
Stand by, Mrs Overall.
Steady on the doorway. Three.
I said, "For you, Lord Delfont..."
I'm talking, Colin.
"For you, Lord Delfont, it would be a pleasure and an honour."
She completely dismantled the facade of fame
to the real person behind it
who was a narcissist, ego-driven, personality-disordered nutter,
and that, as an audience member, was such joy.
Be calm, be calm.
-I'm aware of that, Colin, after 30 years in the business.
No tray. Where's the bloody tray?!
She'll get us out of it!
Come on, Bo. Improvise!
Yes, I just had to bring it in to show you.
Take it. Isn't it light?
Mm - and such a lovely shade of mauve.
Shall we cut? Go back?
No. We professionals notice.
Joe Public never clocks a damn thing.
Bo's fame wasn't confined to Acorn Antiques.
Vic released her into the world of celebrity
when she penned Beyond The Marigolds.
I got Mrs Overall
and poor old Diana Rigg was stuck with The Avengers.
Which ran what? Two series?
Oh, it was a nice little show.
Oh, it was a nice enough show and Diana...
-Yes, for charity work...
She's had a decent enough career.
But she's not loved.
-Bo is loved.
'The producer of I'm A Celebrity
'has explained that it is a Japanese-style endurance game.'
You get all the jungle gear, the boots and the shorts and so on.
Sometimes, we fly people in as a surprise.
I think we did that with Cannon and Ball.
'But Bo seems still to be interested.'
We have these things called bushtucker trials,
where the celebrities have to eat rather disgusting things
like edible grubs and locusts and kangaroo anus.
I think Jan Leeming ate wombat penis.
Well...that's about it.
How dare you.
-Do you seriously think I would give an instant's consideration
to your fetid little programme?
I am an actress.
A loved and respected actress.
I was voted Best-Loved Character In A Soap 1987, 1989 and 1990
and there are three things on television I will never do.
I will not wear shorts.
I will not take part in any repellent eating trial
and I will not appear
on any programme that considers Jan Leeming
to be a celebrity.
LAUGHTER AND APPLAUSE
It's about delusion, isn't it?
It's about being deluded, basically.
Deluded. What's the business can do to you.
Delude you into thinking
you're massively, massively important.
And, you know, when in fact you're this poor little person,
who is just like everybody else, really.
Vic used to talk about chewing her pencil,
staring at the bins,
trying to think of the right word.
I think that bin-staring is evident throughout her work,
right from very early on.
You get the sense that every sentence has been loved.
And there's a great example of that in her northern reality star,
What a year I have had.
I mean, a year ago, I was nobody.
Yes, I was gifted,
yes, I was gorgeous.
But basically, nobody knew
who the Kentucky Fried frickin' Chicken I was.
Oh, text message.
Now I'm going to plunge into a little Lancashire idiom now,
so bear with me, anyone who's south of the Watford Gap,
which I only mention cos we came through Watford Gap service station last night.
Boy, have they got sophisticated.
The mozzarella and tree-ripened tomato pork scratchings.
Whoo! They're out of this world. They're bliss in a bucket.
She writes lots of very ego-driven characters,
especially in the entertainment industry, and obviously,
Vic has come across a lot of these people,
working in television for so long, and in the theatres.
And, um...she nails it. She really nails it.
Anyway, to plunge into a little Lancashire idiom,
last year I was nobody, I had nothing, and as we say,
I didn't have a pot to piss in.
No, I'm not trying to be offensive when I say that,
we speak as we find in Radcliffe.
I did not have a pot to piss in. Did I, Mum?
A pot to piss in, I did not have.
If somebody had come to me for a pot, wanting a piss,
-I couldn't help them.
Pot-wise, piss-wise, I was nowhere.
No piss, no pot. That was me, big-time.
Anyway, it's a nice little expression, isn't it?
We've got loads of sayings like that, haven't we, Mum?
What did you used to say to me dad?
"Don't leave your teeth in the bed. Me bum's bad enough as it is!"
And my own particular favourite,
"If you think you'll have a shag,
"pop a johnny in your bag."
It was Victoria's own success that allowed her to branch out
and work on projects dear to her heart.
One such film was Eric & Ernie and I was lucky enough be in it.
-# By the light... #
-Not the dark, but the light.
# Of the silvery moon... #
Not the sun, but the moon.
# I want to spoon... #
He's looking to spoon somebody.
BOTH: # To my honey I'll croon love's tune... #
# Honeymoon... #
-What are you doing?
-Having a little dance.
This is my solo!
Victoria loved classical British variety and was a great fan
of Les Dawson, of Morecambe and Wise, of course,
Tommy Cooper, people like this.
So the chance to make a film
all about Eric and Ernie
-Come on, get up.
I said get up, you snake.
Ike, it's Ma.
And she's not laughing.
Ham and eggs? What the heck's this in aid of?
I found Ernie's wallet and managed to open it with a crowbar.
-We've landed a tour.
-Number two circuit. £25 a week.
£25 a week?
-When do we start?
-He didn't mean you. We meant us.
You've done your bit, Mrs B.
Yes - we've got a proper manager now, Mum.
You can go home, put your feet up.
And here's your ticket. Ernie, give the lady her ticket.
'I think, as she became comfortable in her own skin,
'she allowed herself to play wonderful parts.
'I remember in Eric & Ernie, with the train ticket home,
'the pathos of that was beautiful'
and in Housewife, 49,
she was almost a tragic figure, wasn't she?
She became a great actress, I think.
# We've nothing to lose We're done with the blues
# We're spreading the news We know that it's true
# We're telling it to the people we meet... #
In 2014, Vic produced her most ambitious project yet,
a musical called That Day We Sang.
It was huge, because as well as the usual pressures
of writing both the script and the music,
she took on the role of director.
I was doing Sweeney Todd with Imelda Staunton
and Imelda told me about this next project she was going to be doing,
That Day We Sang, with Victoria, and I was so jealous.
I was bitter and twisted.
And then I got a call saying
would I be interested in reading for it and meeting?
And I said, "Yes, I'll sell my soul. I'll do anything that is necessary."
What were you saying about yoghurt?
I didn't know which flavour, so...
I got them all.
You didn't get plain?
I didn't know there was plain.
-I can only have plain.
-I never saw plain.
If it's not plain, it's not slimming.
Look, leave that aside for the moment.
I shall deal with that first thing tomorrow.
I'll strike out into the icy wastes of the chilled dairy section.
I'll be like Captain Oates, only, hopefully, I shall come back.
But what I wanted to say, Enid, is...
I know this wasn't a date,
but could it be?
Not this yoghurt blunderer's debacle,
but could we go on a proper date?
I'm going out with someone.
Doing my two short planks act.
I should have checked. Sorry.
As you were.
It did feel like That Day We Sang
was, sort of, like her firing on all cylinders,
doing everything that she could do,
and it felt joyous, in a way,
that, you know, you just thought she was just indulging in,
obviously, a world that she really liked exploring.
# You hang on tight... #
CONDUCTOR: Hold very tight, please.
# You play it safe
BOTH: # You never rock the boat
# And then the stuff you flatten down
# The memories you batten down
BOTH: # Come floating up to grab you by the throat... #
This was a big responsibility for her, that she'd taken on,
but that was typical of her,
that she wanted this huge challenge
and also didn't trust anyone else to do it.
Anyway, look, from where I said.
You could have organised this a little bit better, Victoria Wood.
'Literally, from that moment,'
Vic and I became great, great mates.
We talked all the time
and the whole process of making this extraordinary film
was a joy from beginning to end.
So there you have it. That was our friend Victoria.
But a show about Victoria Wood
wouldn't be a show about Victoria Wood
if we didn't end on a song.
And out of the many hundreds that she wrote and performed,
I've chosen my favourite - Pam.
# Can I tell you who I am?
# I'm Pamela Patricia but they call me Pam
# I don't like shorts or sling-back shoes
# My only pair of trousers are my gardening trews
# I don't say "who", I do say "whom"
# I never use the toilet Just the smallest room
# I don't say "gay", I still say "queer"
# I think that Mussolini had the right idea ... #
# Da-da-da-da, da-da, da-da-da-da
# Got engaged in '62
# Got married in the April in a nice pale blue
# It all turned sour to say the least
# I was stuck in Abergele with a sex-crazed beast
# Our wedding night I heard a cough
# There was Harold in the doorway with his 'jamas off
# I said, "Now look, I must be blunt
# "I couldn't give a beggar on the whole sex front
# "Not me, not my scene
# "I prefer a game of rummy and an Ovaltine
# "Harold, dear, now do get dressed
# "I've seen one in a book and I was not impressed..." #
LAUGHTER AND APPLAUSE
# Once divorced I lived alone
# Then I chummed up with a woman by the name of Joan
# She moved in, she seemed quite nice
# Wore Army boots and braces but I didn't think twice
# Then one night she seemed upset
# I said, "Are you not happy in my maisonette?"
# She drained her rum and Babycham
# Ran her fingers through her crewcut
# Said, "I love you, Pam"... #
-Oh, and Andrew, one thing I forgot to show you.
Did I explain what happens when you press this switch?