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Summary

Trapeze audiobooks presents an extraordinary multi-voice tribute to one of Britain's most talented and most loved entertainers: Victoria Wood.

This audiobook features narration from some of the extraordinary voices who worked with Victoria over her career:

Susie Blake

Richenda Carey

Celia Imrie

Duncan Preston

Anne Reid

Daniel Rigby

Kate Robbins

David Threlfall

Julie Walters

Jane Wymark

With an introduction read by Jasper Rees and two recordings of Victoria Wood's classic Ballad of Barry and Freda.

I was born with a warped sense of humour and when I was carried home from being born it was Coronation Day and so I was called Victoria, but you are not supposed to know who wrote this anyway. It is about time I unleashed my pent-up emotions in a bitter comment on the state of our society but it's not quite me so I think I shall write a heart-warming story with laughter behind the tears and tears behind the laughter which means hysterics to you Philistines....

From 'Pardon?' by Vicky Wood, aged 14. Bury Grammar School (Girls) Magazine, 1967.

In her passport, Victoria Wood listed her occupation as 'entertainer' - and in stand-up and sketches, songs and sitcom, musicals and dramas, she became the greatest entertainer of the age. Those things that might have held her back - her lonely childhood, her crippling shyness and above all the disadvantage of being a woman in a male-run industry - she turned to her advantage to make extraordinary comedy about ordinary people living ordinary lives in ordinary bodies. She wasn't fond of the term, but Victoria Wood truly was a national treasure - and her loss is still keenly felt.

Victoria had plenty of stories still to tell when she died in 2016, and one of those was her own autobiography.

'I will do it one day,' she told journalist and author Jasper Rees when he first met her in 2001. 'It would be about my childhood, about my first few years in show-business, which were really interesting and would make a really nice story.' 

That sadly never came to pass, so Victoria's estate has asked Jasper Rees, who interviewed her more than anyone else, to tell her extraordinary story in full. He has been granted complete and exclusive access to Victoria's rich archive of personal and professional material and has conducted more than 200 interviews with her family, friends and colleagues - among them Victoria's children, her sisters, her ex-husband, Geoffrey Durham, Julie Walters, Celia Imrie, Dawn French, Anne Reid, Imelda Staunton and many more.

What emerges is a portrait of a true pioneer who spoke to her audience like no one before or since.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying PDF will be available in your Audible Library along with the audio.

©2020 Jasper Rees (P)2020 Orion Publishing Group

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  • Overall
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A brilliant portrait

Going in, I expected this book to be the typical sort of reverential, cosy treatment of Victoria Wood which often crops up on tv.

However, this book delves much deeper and gives a far more human portrait of her which is honest, incredibly detailed and absolutely fascinating. It has a warts and all approach and is all the better for it.

So what I thought would be a warm and easy listen has turned out to be my favourite biography of the year! Superb!

12 people found this helpful

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life's too short

I don't usually go for celebrity biographies but, adoring Victoria Wood, used a credit on this. Nobody else can nail the 'human condition' (at least the British human) the way she does. Unfortunately, the biography is a blow by blow account of her life without any actual interest or enlightenment. Minor anecdotes, such as times somebody got her name wrong, hardly significant or hilarious or affecting, are repeated. Her rather off kilter childhood is covered, but again, by repetitive and unhelpful details, plus not so untypical of its time and place to those of us brought up then. Success didn't come easily (surprise!) but fans mostly know all about how hard she worked (and she was just getting better and better towards the end of her life.)After over six hours of listening, I could hear Victoria's voice in my head, saying 'God, this is just tedious, turn it off.' I skipped ahead to later chapters, obviously very sad and moving to hear about her divorce, illness and death, but sort of wish I hadn't, her being known as such a private person. I feel the biography overall needs editing by at least half all the recounted details of dates, places etc. What a pity she never got to write her own, it would have been brilliant. Nice to hear it read by her friends, and obviously well researched, but I recommend sparing yourself these twenty plus hours on this audiobook and instead, use them to enjoy again Victoria Wood's work, because that's where she is. To learn more about her as a person, listen to her Desert Island Discs which is excellent, her documentaries, or any of the tribute programmes made about her.

10 people found this helpful

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Exhaustive

Exhaustive and detailed about someone I admire - whose work I love. Sometimes there is too much detail. I was pleased I bought it as an audiobook because I would have skimmed a hard copy. It was good to have a variety of voices, some of which I recognised. After hearing the long story of VW’s life, we get to the sad end, and hear her telling a joke and then singing The ballad of Barry and Freda. I was in tears. What a sad loss.

6 people found this helpful

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Great nostalgia

This was an extremely detailed account of Victoria’s life and, whilst it didn’t really get tedious, I did speed it up. The narrators were a mixed bag - it’s a mistake to think that good actors always make the best narrators.

5 people found this helpful

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I wish I'd never listened...not nice

I think its a book for oficionados of Victoria Wood...every date, plane transfer, note painstaking pointed out and although you get a sense of Victorias personality, it seemed intrusive.

I thought her friends and family should have left it well alone.
If Vicky had wanted her story told, she could have done so herself.

I felt like someone sneaking a peak at a private diary and I didn't like what I saw to be honest.

The readings were dire and drab too.

They say you should never meet your heros and I wish I hadn't.


4 people found this helpful

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Essential listening for fans.

But be prepared to be heartbroken.
I loved the depth of this insight into Victoria. The reading by different friends brought her back to life. I wish I had known her but I probably had a lucky escape!
Plan to listen more than just the once.

4 people found this helpful

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Great book, amazing selection of readers

As has been said in reviews in press and reviews on Audible / Amazon, a wonderful book about an amazing career - with the details of VW's childhood quite upsetting for fans to deal with.

The book is perfectly paced, with just amount of detail for the many phases of her career. It's certainly not a hagiography, with VW's spikiness and shyness certainly not glossed over. It's particularly sad to realise that the actors that made up her regulars saw the troupe as more of a working relationship than a friendship group, but it's a tribute to VW that so many are assembled for the reading of this book. Hearing David Threlfall 'do' Alan Bennett (and many others) is one of the many opportunities for the readers to inhabit the people they are quoting from as part of the book. And Julie Walters says the 'c' word - I nearly dropped spat out my macaroon.

Lots of laughs, even to the end.

4 people found this helpful

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It makes you laugh, it makes you cry

It feels like Victoria Wood was a big part of my living room for many years, Losing her was the same as losing Princess Diana, the loss was so deep. Having this book, and hearing from those closest to her, made me realise it wasn't easy for her, but she fought, and won, every battle, except the last one. RIP Victoria. A very moving book.

2 people found this helpful

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Great Book ... She Deserved Nothing Less

what a great book... Could NOT turn it off, finished it in three days ...

I do a lot of long distance driving ... HGV...

I can normally manage an hour with a book before I revert to talk / music radio ...

not this listenedfrom start to finish.

a real page turner.

total respect for Victoria... hilarious, unique, private, versatile, professional

but mist of all determined xxx

Thankyou...

2 people found this helpful

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WAY too long.

I listen to biographies a lot and was particularly looking forward to this but it was turgid with minutiae that offered nothing. I agree with a previous reviewer who said it needed editing significantly.

1 person found this helpful