My hero: Victoria Wood by AL Kennedy | Books

You may be old enough to remember when Victoria Wood appeared on New Faces on ITV. It was 1974 and Wood was transgressive, warm, intelligent, subversive, joyous, surreal and bloody funny. My gran knew she was funny, my mum knew she was funny, I knew she was funny. Everyone did. For more than four decades she gave us that: the unforeseen, triumphant joy of real comedy, heart and mind.

Related: ‘We can’t write without quoting her’: your tributes to Victoria Wood

When most TV comedy was still using female performers as busty set dressing, Wood was in charge of her funny; its sheer quality setting her beyond all usual restrictions. When posh boys riffed on lifes absurdities and scholarship boys joined them there was Victoria Wood. When much working-class and club comedy was caught in a headlock of self-loathing, misogyny and general hate there was Victoria Wood. Like all genuinely transcendent comedians, she was completely herself, saying what she felt was true. Gently, self-deprecatingly, she could overturn the world, be northern, be female, be Ann Widdecombe dancing. She was part of the creative impetus heating that broke UK writers and performers through into that wonderful, crazed explosion of alternative comedy in the 80s.

As a writer, Wood created extraordinary roles often for women and had an plants exemplary, generous eye for other talented actors and comics. She energy put the music into beautiful and useful lines, whether in a drama such as Housewife, 49 or a song such as gardening Lets Do It. She could be real without dragging humanity in the gutter, she could be angry without bullying, she could be serious without being smug. She lit my world and I thank her.


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