Victoria Wood
Highlights From the BBC TV Series

Starring: Victoria Wood, Julie Walters, Celia Imrie, Susie Blake, Duncan Preston and Patricia Routledge
BBC Audio
RRP: 12.99
ISBN: 978 1 405 68835 2
Available 05 November 2007

This is the
first collection of assembled highlights from Victoria Wood's award-winning BBC television show Victoria Wood: As Seen on TV. Two talent-packed CDs spill forth the likes of Julie Walters, Patricia Routledge, Celia Imrie, Duncan Preston and Susie Blake in an all-singing, all-dancing (well, in a manner of speaking) spectacular...

This 2-disc CD collection collects some of the highlights of the Victoria Wood: As Seen on TV series which ran on the BBC between 1985 and 1987.

I was a little apprehensive about revisiting this series after so long. I remember fondly watching this when I was a teenager, and I was worried that all my memories would be destroyed as I discovered that this was not half as entertaining as I remembered. I'm the guy who remembers thinking that Cannon and Ball and Little and Large were funny - mind you, I was brought up in South Yorkshire. Now I've grown up and realised the error of my ways I realise how totally dire both of those acts were. So, I was relieved to discover that Victoria Wood's material is as funny today as it was in the mid-'80s.

This CD is compiled of some of the show's best sketches and Victoria's stand-up spots. She also sings some of her classic song, including the ballad of Barry and Frieda, Let's Do It Tonight, and brings together the very finest episodes of Britain 's best-loved soap, the consummate display of method acting which is Acorn Antiques. This was based on TV productions like Crossroads with low production values, wobbly sets, theatrical acting and wildly improbable plots.

Listening to this collection made me realise that the world really hasn't moved on much since the '80s - there are plenty of digs at authority that ring as true today as they did over 20 years ago. Those that have ever had to tackle a dim-witted hotel receptionist, with no cognitive abilities beyond the company line, will instantly warm to the the "Mayflower Hotel Nottingham" sketch. Then there's Wood's over chatty shop assistant who insists on coughing over customers goods and telling everyone about her ailments - anyone who's been to Asda, since Wal-Mart took them over, will realise that this sketch is obviously being used as a training video.

Patricia Routledge (Keeping up Appearances, Hetty Wainthropp Investigates) makes guest appearances as Kitty, the self-righteous spinster from Cheadle who offered her weekly monologues. Then there's Susie Blake's dry TV continuity announcer who can't help talking down to her viewers.

Whether you remember this series fondly, or weren't even born when it was originally broadcast, you'll get a serious kick out of Wood's particular sense of humour.

Darren Rea

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