Victoria Wood was a writer, actor, director, singer, composer and stand-up comedian. She first appeared on national television in 1974 on the talent show New Faces, and her debut stage play Talent was televised in 1979. In the 1980s her sketch show Wood and Walters was followed by the pioneering Victoria Wood As Seen on TV, which won four BAFTAs. As a stand-up performer she won two more BAFTAs for An Audience with Victoria Wood and, in the course of several national tours, sold out the Royal Albert Hall forty times. The 1990s brought more acclaim with the TV film Pat and Margaret and the canteen sitcom dinnerladies. In the following decade her much loved soap parody Acorn Antiques became a West End musical, while the wartime drama Housewife, 49 won two more BAFTAs. She filmed her stage musical That Day We Sang for television in 2014. Given an OBE in 1997, she was appointed a CBE in 2008. Since her death in 2016 at the age of 62, her work has continued to pulse through the British bloodstream. Jasper Rees is an arts journalist and author who has written for the Daily Telegraph, Sunday Times and theartsdesk.com, which he co-founded. Previous books include I Found My Horn and Bred of Heaven, both of which were abridged for Radio 4's Book of the Week, and most recently a biography of Florence Foster Jenkins.
exemplary... Despite the memories of laughter it evoked, I was left saddened by the thought that Wood was really making strides into a brilliant second career as a screenwriter and director when illness took her away from us. * Jonathan Coe * A fascinating portrait of a comedy genius who became a national treasure. * WOMAN'S WEEKLY * Impeccable -- Iona McLaren * THE DAILY TELEGRAPH, Books of the Year * This profile of the astute observer of domesticity is warm-hearted and full of detail. -- Hannah Jane Parkinson * OBSERVER * Rees's research is wide-ranging and detailed... his analysis is acute and often beautifully articulated. -- Fiona Sturges * I NEWSPAPER * Written with the approval of family and friends this is a biography more than worthy of its much-missed subject. * THE NEW EUROPEAN * A joyous read. -- Julia Llewellyn Smith * THE MAIL ON SUNDAY * With exclusive access to Victoria's archive, Rees has produced this fascinating portrait of a comedy genius who became a national treasure. -- Zoe West * WOMAN & HOME * Rees is excellent on Wood's long struggle. -- Roger Lewis * SUNDAY TELEGRAPH * For anyone who loves Victoria Wood, this biography - authorised by her literary estate - is a joy. It paints a rounded portrait of a genuinely nice and kind woman who could also be difficult, scathing, even ruthless. -- Christopher Stevens * DAILY MAIL * This superb biography ensures we can't forget how revolutionary she was. -- Tanya Gold * THE OLDIE * Packed with enlightening anecdotes and revealing interviews with her family and closest friends. A real treat. -- Martin Chilton * INDEPENDENT * Joyous and revealing... If you're a diehard Wood fan (as I am) you'll find this account of her life wholly engrossing, and it also stands as a wonderful tribute to a pioneering entertainer and her exacting comic genius. -- Caroline Sanderson * THE BOOKSELLER, Editor's Choice * With meticulous thoroughness ... Let's Do It is nearly 600 pages long and copiously footnoted. Rees interviewed Wood frequently in her lifetime, spent two years on research, using Wood's own audio and written notes, and interviewed more than 200 people (from her children and perennial collaborators to occasional accompanists). It shows - this is an immersive, authoritative book... Do it, I urge you, while the mood is right. -- Emma Beddington * THE SPECTATOR * Rees's biography is a must-read for her fans... This meticulously researched account of her life shows what a loss she is. -- Emma-Lee Potter * DAILY MIRROR * A smashing biography. He gives a sense of what the real Victoria was like and conveys the unique qualities of her work - and provides a bridge between the two. At one point he says tactfully that the dreadful statue of Victoria in Bury shows how hard it is to capture in bronze the bounce of her hair and the glow of her smile . At its best, this book does that in prose. -- Jake Kerridge * SUNDAY EXPRESS S MAGAZINE * This biographer is the safest of hands, both for helpless fans like me, and to any outsiders who haven't paid attention... It does not feel intrusive because it is so richly fed with the memories of those who properly loved her, and those memories add to the store of lines to treasure... She kept us happy for years herself. I am thankful, for her and for this good biography. Might cry again now. -- Libby Purves * THE TIMES * You can almost feel him riffling files, rewinding tapes, so carefully is it pieced together. Yet the reward is a 360-degree biography that transforms a beloved entertainer into a real human being, moving about a recognisable world: unhappy family home, provincial theatre, TV studio, celebrity's Highgate terrace, even, heartbreakingly, hospital room. It's a book for fans, of course, but it also documents 40 years of British entertainment, filtered through a life that stretched so much further than a few knackered bras. -- Victoria Segal * SUNDAY TIMES CULTURE * The authorised biography of Victoria Wood by Jasper Rees is great - wonderfully detailed on her creative process, the graft she put in and the mechanics of how she did what she did, but losing none of the warmth and joy of what ended up on screen. Recommended. * Simon Blackwell, writer of VEEP and THE THICK OF IT * I love this book. I adored Victoria, and Jasper Rees has almost brought her back to life, so I highly recommend it to all her admirers who miss her desperately. Which is, of course, all of us. * Dame Esther Rantzen * An extraordinary, wonderful, rich biography of Victoria Wood - every bit as fascinating, challenging, and brilliant as she was. It is evident that Jasper Rees loves his subject and has been given unprecedented access to Wood's personal and professional archives. He explores Victoria's inspirations and creative processes, celebrating her genius, and never shying away from the tricky stuff. * Nina Stibbe * I remember first watching Victoria Wood when she was on Look North, when she would simply sing a song and play the piano, and knew then she was someone special. Decades later, I saw her show at the Albert Hall and not long after I bumped into her in our local M&S. I started to cry as I told her how amazing she was that night - I had no words for how wonderful she had been. Thankfully Jasper Rees has found the perfect words to convey Victoria's brilliance, in this meticulously researched, immersive and entertaining biography. It is a wonderful tribute to a pioneering entertainer who we all still miss so keenly. * Alison Steadman * There was none like her before and there's been none like her since - she was unique... I contributed to the book because I know that Jasper [Rees], who wrote it was a great friend of hers and she trusted him...and I knew that he would respect that... We weren't sitting down to be soft and fluffy about Vic, because Vic was quite spiky, quite demanding, and utterly hilarious. * Dawn French on BBC RADIO 5 LIVE * When I met Victoria I gushed at her and she told me to stop, which was sweet and kind and saved us both! I won't gush now as per her non gushing desires, except to say that I would love people to read this beautiful book about the woman I will be forever grateful for in leading the way for me and other women in comedy and for making my life a jollier one. * Miranda Hart * Let's Do It is a biography that feels as unflinching and true as it is entertaining and affectionate. Rees pulls off the trick of writing a brilliant tribute while also - somehow, almost - bringing Victoria Wood back to life in all her complicated glory. -- Viv Groskop * GUARDIAN *