Victoria Wood As Seen On TV


Victoria Wood As Seen On TV

Infobox British television
show_name = Victoria Wood As Seen On TV


size =
caption = "Victoria Wood As Seen On TV" opening titles
genre = Comedy
picture format = 4:3 full screen
runtime = 30 minutes (per episode)
creator = Victoria Wood
starring = Victoria Wood
Julie Walters
Celia Imrie
Duncan Preston
Patricia Routledge
Susie Blake
country = United Kingdom
network = BBC Two
first_aired = 11 January 1985
last_aired = 15 December 1987
num_series = 2
num_episodes = 13 (including Christmas Special)
list_episodes = List of Victoria Wood As Seen On TV episodes
producer = Geoff Posner
related =
imdb_id = 0149542
tv_com_id = 5054

"Victoria Wood As Seen On TV" was an award-winning British comedy sketch series starring comedienne Victoria Wood, with Julie Walters, Celia Imrie, Duncan Preston, Susie Blake and Patricia Routledge. The show was televised on BBC Two between 1985 and 1987 and included sketches that became famous in the United Kingdom; these included one-offs like "Two Soups" (in which Walters, as an elderly waitress, takes too long to deliver two bowls of soup) and regular features like "Acorn Antiques"cite web
last =Duguid
first =Mark
authorlink =
coauthors =
title =Screenonline - Victoria Wood - As Seen on TV (1985-86)
work =
publisher =British Film Institute
date =2003-07
url=http://www.screenonline.org.uk/tv/id/1232556/index.html
format =
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accessdate =
] (a parody of low-budget soap opera), as well as musical performances by Wood including her most well-known number, "The Ballad of Barry and Freda" ("Let's Do It").

The show was created when Wood was enticed away from rival television station ITV in 1984. She wrote the whole programme, and also the synopsis of it for listings magazine the "Radio Times". The series has led to spin-off script books, video tapes and DVDs.cite book
last = Brandwood
first = Neil
title= Victoria Wood – The Biography
edition = 1st Edition
year = 2002
publisher = Boxtree
location = London
id = ISBN 1-85227-982-6
pages =
]

The show won BAFTA Awards for all its episodes and, in 1996, it was awarded all-time "Favourite Comedy Series" by the BBC itself.

Wood preferred to work with a regular repertory of actors she could trust. Since the show ended, she has occasionally revived aspects of it with these colleagues. A notable spin-off is "Acorn Antiques", the West End musical. [cite web
last =Caroline
first =Briggs
authorlink =
coauthors =
title =Mrs Overall sings onto the stage
work =
publisher =BBC News
date =2004-12-02
url = http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/arts/4062051.stm
format =
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accessdate = 2007-08-28
]

Background

Wood, having spent most of her television career before "As Seen On TV" with the opposition television station ITV, was lured to the BBC with a promise of bigger budgets and more creative control than on previous television shows, such as "Wood and Walters".

To produce and direct the show, Wood chose Geoff Posner, who had previously worked on successful and acclaimed British comedy shows of the early 1980s such as "Not The Nine O'Clock News", "The Young Ones" and the pilot of "Blackadder". Equally impressed with her work, Posner said of Wood's gift for comedy, "She manages to examine people talking and capture speech-patterns and subjects that are everyday, but hysterical at the same time... it's quite unique to hold a mirror up to ordinary life and make it so special."

Going into production in summer 1984 – with studio recordings in September and October – the first series of "As Seen On TV" was intended for broadcast late that year. As a theatre tie-in, Wood arranged a short stand-up tour with the same name as the show, to capitalise on her television appearances around the same time. This backfired when the BBC put back the opening broadcast to early the following year.

Recurring sketches

As well as numerous stand alone sketches and songs, the show also had many recurring items. Each show would open with Wood performing a stand up comedy monologue, often using material she had already honed on her stage tours. Within the half hours that followed, there were usually several fairly regular sketch items mixed in.

Linking many of the sketches was Susie Blake, as a snobbish and arrogant television continuity announcer. Notable lines spoken by Blake include "We'd like to apologise to viewers in the North. It must be awful for them". [cite web
date= 2007-11-03
url=http://open.bbc.co.uk/catalogue/infax/tag/continuity_announcer_victoria_wood_running_comedy_sketch
title= BBC Programme Guide on continuity announcer
publisher= BBC
accessdate= 2007-09-13
author=
]

Patricia Routledge starred as "Kitty", a self-righteous middle-aged spinster from Cheadle, who featured in a weekly monologue. To show the character's forthrightness, Wood had originally written Kitty's opening introduction as "Hello, I'm Kitty. I've had a boob off and I can't stomach whelks"; the "boob off" line was later changed to "I've given gallons of blood". The Kitty character shared similarities with a character in one of Wood's earlier sketch shows, "Wood and Walters", "Dotty" (then played by Julie Walters). [cite news
date= 2007-08-28
url=http://www2.prestel.co.uk/cello/DottyonWomensLib.htm
title= Dotty On Women's Lib
publisher= prestel.co.uk
accessdate= 2007-09-13
author=Victoria Wood
]

"Margery & Joan" featured Wood (as Joan) and Walters (as Margery) parodying banal "daytime television" magazine shows.

"Gail and Carl" was a regular sketch in series one featuring Andrew Livingston and Victoria Wood as a young, naive northern couple. For example, Carl, in response to being asked where babies come from, replies "you want to get a pamphlet. We've got one at home about lagging". [cite book
last =Wood
first =Victoria
authorlink =Victoria Wood
coauthors =
title ="Up To You, Porky: The Victoria Wood Sketch Book"
publisher =Methuen
date =1985
location =United Kingdom
pages =
url =
doi =
id =PN6175
isbn =0413599302
] [cite web
last =
first =

authorlink =
coauthors =
title =Gail and Carl (Victoria Wood Running Comedy Sketch)
work =
publisher =BBC Programme Guide
date =2007
url=http://catalogue.bbc.co.uk/catalogue/infax/tag/gail_and_carl_victoria_wood_running_comedy_sketch
format =
doi =
accessdate =2007-09-15
]

The "He Didn't?" sketches that featured in the second series starred Wood as Kelly Marie Tunstall, a delinquent teenager standing at a bus stop telling her friend (Mary Jo Randle) ever more fanciful stories. [cite web
last =
first =

authorlink =
coauthors =
title =He didn't (Victoria Wood Running Comedy Sketch)
work =
publisher =BBC Programme Guide
date =2007
url=http://catalogue.bbc.co.uk/catalogue/infax/tag/he_didnt_victoria_wood_comedy_sketch
format =
doi =
accessdate =2007-09-15
] Both respond to each other after a ludicrous anecdote with the words"'"He didn't?""He did!" [cite book
last =Wood
first =Victoria
authorlink =Victoria Wood
coauthors =
title ="Barmy : the new Victoria Wood sketch book : featuring 'Acorn antiques' "
publisher =Methuen
date =1987
location =United Kingdom
pages =p33
url =
doi =
id =PN6175
isbn =0-413-16870-0
]

Acorn Antiques

"Acorn Antiques" is perhaps the best remembered regular item from the series. A spoof soap opera set in an antiques shop, that despite its provincial high street status, managed to supply an unending stream of works by Picasso, Leonardo Da Vinci and Michaelangelo. The sketch parodied the soap genre with its bad acting, ridiculous dialogue and contrived plot twists. Wood, as a "homage", based it on the long-running ATV/Central serial "Crossroads", and the BBC radio soap opera "Waggoners Walk" (1969-1980). cite web
date= 2007-03-11
url=http://www.bbc.co.uk/suffolk/content/articles/2007/01/25/victoria_wood_acorn_antiques_interview_feature.shtml
title= BBC Suffolk interview with Victoria Wood
publisher= BBC
accessdate= 2007-09-13
author=
]

The sketches even led to a fanzine and appreciation gatherings where fans would dress up as the characters.cite book
last = Brandwood
first = Neil
title= Victoria Wood – The Biography
edition = 1st Edition
year = 2002
publisher = Boxtree
location = London
id = ISBN 1-85227-982-6
pages =
] In 2004, in a poll on its website, Channel 4 voted "Acorn Antiques" the 7th best comedy sketch of all time.cite news | date= | url=http://www.channel4.com/entertainment/tv/microsites/G/greatest/comedy_sketches/results.html | title= 50 Greatest Comedy Sketches | publisher= Channel 4 | accessdate= 2007-09-15 | author=] In 2005, "Acorn Antiques" was even turned into a West End musical (see below).

poof documentaries

Each episode of "As Seen On TV" also featured a spoof documentary on "slice of life" stories such as a girl who wanted to swim the channel and an old man moving into a home. "Just An Ordinary School" for example, took a look at an exclusive girl's public school, with one pupil claiming "there are all sorts of girls here, even coloured girls, though they tend to be princesses mainly". [cite web | last =Wood
first =Victoria
authorlink = Victoria Wood
coauthors =
title = Just An Ordinary School
work =
publisher =prestel.co.uk
date =2007-08-31
url = http://www2.prestel.co.uk/cello/JustAnOrdinarySchool.htm
format =
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accessdate =2007-08-31
]

Another spoof was of the musical of Bessie Bunter is entitled "Bessie" where the musical initially starts off as a sort of Andrew Lloyd Webber parody, where they have brought in issues such as the Spanish Civil War and the McCarthy era. On being asked about whether Bessie's fatness is a factor, the producer (Sir Dick?) replies "it is a sort of mental fatness". The lead is played by an actress called Carla who sings one of the songs called "One Day" for the journalist and despite having pneumonia she performs very well. Later Bessie is rewritten completely and the previous cast are sacked. Bessie is later played by Victoria Wood and sings a more upbeat number than the previous production which the producer threatens will have a big finale on shopping trolleys. Victoria Wood after performed a show stopping number says "you've have to change this floor!"

Usually lasting around five minutes, they were presented for the most part by Duncan Preston (in the second series as "Corin Huntley"). It was a continuation of style for Wood who had previously produced similar pseudo-realistic spoofs like "The Woman Who Had 740 Children" and "Girls Talking" for "Wood and Walters". [cite web
last =Wood
first =Victoria
authorlink = Victoria Wood
coauthors =
title = The Woman With 740 Children
work =
publisher =prestel.co.uk
date =2007-08-28
url = http://www2.prestel.co.uk/cello/TheWomanwith740Children.htm
format =
doi =
accessdate =2007-03-20
] [cite web
last =Wood
first =Victoria
authorlink = Victoria Wood
coauthors =
title = Girls Talking
work =
publisher =prestel.co.uk
date =2007-08-28
url = http://www2.prestel.co.uk/cello/GirlsTalking.htm
format =
doi =
accessdate =2007-03-20
]

One-off sketches

The show also featured many, often acclaimed, one-off sketches, like "Two Soups", where Julie Walters plays an elderly deaf waitress who takes an incredibly long time to take an order for two bowls of soup. In 2004, British television network Channel 4 (in a poll conducted on its website) awarded it "27th Best Comedy Sketch Of All Time".cite news
date=
url=http://www.channel4.com/entertainment/tv/microsites/G/greatest/comedy_sketches/results.html
title= 50 Greatest Comedy Sketches
publisher= Channel 4
accessdate= 2007-09-15
author=
] Walters has said "she [Wood] knows I like playing old women. Why? Because I am one! I love the shape of them." [cite web
last =Wood
first =Victoria
authorlink = Victoria Wood
coauthors =
title =WOOD on Walters on Imrie on Preston on Blake
work =
publisher =prestel.co.uk
date =
url = http://www2.prestel.co.uk/cello/WoodOnWaltersOnImrieOnPrestonOnBlake.htm
format =
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accessdate =2007-09-14
] "Classic Coronation Street" was recreation of 1960s "Coronation Street". It starred Wood as the show's gossiping Ena Sharples, with Julie Walters as Martha Longhurst and Lill Roughley as Minnie Caldwell, with Ena telling them the show's plotlines for the next decade. The sketch was written with a detailed knowledge of the soap opera's past: "That stuck up Ida Barlow, who's no better than she should be... it'll not be too long before she falls under a bus! That Harry Hewitt'll likely get crushed under the axle of 'is own van, and as for Valerie Barlow – and if this isn't judgement for setting 'erself up in 'er own front parlour as a so-called 'air stylist then my name isn't Ena Sharples – from what I 'ear, its two clogs to a threpenny bit that she'll electrocute 'erself with 'er own 'airdryer." [cite web
last =Wood
first =Victoria
authorlink = Victoria Wood
coauthors =
title =Classic Coronation Street
work =
publisher =prestel.co.uk
date =
url = http://www2.prestel.co.uk/cello/ClassicCoronationStreet.htm
format =
doi =
accessdate =2007-09-14
] This sketch's accuracy earned Wood praise from Doris Speed, who had played Annie Walker in "Coronation Street" from 1960 to 1983.

"Giving Notes" featured Walters as the leader of an amateur dramatics company giving notes to her cast: "I can't say this too often; it may be Hamlet, but it's got to be fun, fun, fun!" [cite web
last =Wood
first =Victoria
authorlink = Victoria Wood
coauthors =
title =Giving Notes
work =
publisher =prestel.co.uk
date =
url = http://www2.prestel.co.uk/cello/GivingNotes.htm
format =
doi =
accessdate =2007-09-14
] "Shoe Shop" also starred Walters as a mad shoe shop saleswoman and Wood as her customer. In the sketch she delivers Wood a pair of high-heeled shoes, though Wood requested a flat pair. Walters snaps off the heels and replies, "flatter now". [cite web
last =Wood
first =Victoria
authorlink = Victoria Wood
coauthors =
title =Shoe Shop
work =
publisher =prestel.co.uk
date =2007-08-28
url = http://www2.prestel.co.uk/cello/ShoeShop.htm
format =
doi =
accessdate =2007-08-28
]

"Medical School" had Wood as a nervous interviewee, applying to become a medical student. Asked what the last book she read was, she replies "Othello". It's a book by William Shakespeare, of the "Royal Shakespeare Company". [cite book
last =Wood
first =Victoria
authorlink =Victoria Wood
coauthors =
title ="Barmy : the new Victoria Wood sketch book : featuring 'Acorn antiques' "
publisher =Methuen
date =1987
location =United Kingdom
pages =p118
url =
doi =
id =PN6175
isbn =0-413-16870-0
] In "On The Trolley", Wood played a waitress in a restaurant, responding to any order of food with the repetitive phrases "Is it on the trolley?" and "Can you point at it?" This was Wood's personal favourite sketch in the series.

Music

Music featured regularly on the show, often with Wood singing self-penned songs accompanying herself on the piano. The best remembered tune from the show is the seven minute-long "The Ballad of Barry and Freda – Let's Do It". It concerns a couple, Barry and Freda; she is hungry for sex, he isn't. It climaxes with the lines "beat me on the bottom with a "Womans Weekly", lets do it! Let's do it tonight!". The song has been performed numerous times by Wood in her live performances. Wood said of the number: "A joy to write, a sod to learn, and I daren't finish a show without it. The first time I performed it, a woman at the stage door asked, 'How long have you been cross-eyed?'" [cite web
last =Wood
first =Victoria
authorlink = Victoria Wood
coauthors =
title = The Ballad of Barry and Freda (Let's do it!)
work =
publisher =prestel.co.uk
date =
url = http://www2.prestel.co.uk/cello/BarryAndFreda.htm
format =
doi =
accessdate =2007-08-27
]

"As Seen On TV" also featured other musical styles: "So Pissed Off With Love", a duet with Wood and Denis Lawson; "Keep On Shopping", an epic musical number about shopping; "At The Chippy", with Wood, Walters, Meg Johnson and others singing in tribute to their local fish parlour; "Marie And Clarie And Min", featuring Wood, Johnson and Hope Jackman as three old women on a seaside trip, as well as other numbers. The show also contained a skit on the old "fill in" footage often slotted into scheduling to cover technical breakdowns: "I'm Gonna Knock, Knock, Knock On Your Knocker". Comedy sketches also featured music, like the parody of the staging of a West End musical, "Bessie", and a send-up of the Judy Garland-Mickey Rooney "let's put on a show" genre in "I'm Counting Moonbeams". [cite web
last =
first =
authorlink =
coauthors =
title = VICTORIA WOOD-AS SEEN ON TV
work =
publisher =BBC Programme Catalogue
date =
url = http://open.bbc.co.uk/catalogue/infax/programme/LLVG582X
format =
doi =
accessdate =2007-08-27
] [cite web
last =Wood
first =Victoria
authorlink = Victoria Wood
coauthors =
title = At The Chippy
work =
publisher =prestel.co.uk
date =
url = http://www2.prestel.co.uk/cello/Chippy.htm
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]

Preferring to work with people she knew, Wood hired David Firman to be musical director for the series. Firman had previously been musical director for Wood's play "Good Fun".

Episodes

The series lasted for 12 regular half-hour episodes (and a final 40-minute special) between 1985 and 1987. All six episodes of the first series were broadcast between January 11 and February 15, 1985 at 9:00pm on Friday evenings on BBC2. They followed the same format with an opening stand up monologue from Wood, followed by a mixture of sketches, songs and spoof mini-documentaries, with regular soap opera parody "Acorn Antiques" making its introduction. This first series reached 4.55 million viewers by the penultimate show, making it the tenth most popular programme that week on the channel. To Wood's shock, the series then went on to win two BAFTA Awards (see below).The second series of six episodes were broadcast between 10 November and 8 December 1986, this time on the (then) more popular Monday slot on BBC2. It followed a similar format to the first series. By the third week it was the number one most watched programme on BBC2 with 8.55 million viewers. Having scored an even bigger ratings and critical success than its previous series, its triumph even led Wood to be invited on that year's prestigious "Royal Variety Performance".

Between series one and two, Wood said she thought it was a mistake to do another "As Seen On TV" series, and had attempted to write a play instead: "I've been seeking to branch out, but it hasn't happened. I wanted to do something different before I went back on TV." However, she soon decided that the play was "too Alan Ayckbourne", threw it away and began writing the second run instead. She aimed to write 18 minutes of script a week. In the end it took six months to complete, an experience she did not enjoy. "You pour everything you've got into one sketch and you don't ever want to write another - only you realise there are fifty-nine more to go before you've got enough for a series, it's torment".

The series returned for a 40-minute special on 18 December 1987. Wood defined 'special' as "ten minutes longer and I've splashed out on a new bra". [cite web
last =
first =

authorlink =
coauthors =
title =Victoria Wood-As Seen on TV BBC Programme Guide
work =
publisher =BBC
date =2007
url=http://catalogue.bbc.co.uk/catalogue/infax/series/VICTORIA+WOOD-AS+SEEN+ON+TV
format =
doi =
accessdate =2007-09-15
]

She said of her decision to finish the show, "I love television, and if it was possible for me to work in it more, then I would; but because of the position I've put myself in of being the only writer on the show, I can't physically work in it that often. I've just had it with sketch shows for a bit – people have liked it, and I want to stop while they still like it."

The "Radio Times Guide To TV Comedy" described "Victoria Wood As Seen On TV" as having "a regular company of fine performers, good production values, incisive scripts and a snappy pace... the show rarely dipped below brilliant and featured numerous delights, such as Wood's hilariously authentic dialogue and her surprisingly stinging satirical characters". [cite web
url = http://www2.prestel.co.uk/cello/VictoriaWoodAsSeenOnTVRTGuide.htm
title = Radio Times Guide To TV Comedy - Victoria Wood As Seen On TV
accessdate = 2007
last = Lewisholm
first = Mark
year = 1998
format = htm
work = Radio Times
]

Cast

Wood used a regular ensemble of actors in the series, Julie Walters, Celia Imrie and Duncan Preston, with Susie Blake and Patricia Routledge doing weekly spots.

Julie Walters was a long term collaborator of Wood's, although unlike "Wood and Walters", their previous television series together, only Wood's name remained in the title. This was because in the interim, Wood was getting viewers of it turning up to her solo stand up shows expecting to see a double act. [cite episode
title = Tony Bilbow interviews Victoria Wood
url = http://ftvdb.bfi.org.uk/sift/title/456676
series = Play It Again
network = Tyne Tees
airdate = 1985-06-20
season = 7
number = 6
] This didn't stop Wood making Walters almost as prominent in this newer series. She played many two handers with Wood as well as other roles such as Margery the daytime television host, a mad shoe shop lady, the elderly waitress in the "Two Soups" sketch, and a transsexual hairdresser. Most famously, she was the char-lady Mrs Overall in "Acorn Antiques". She later revealed that alongside her starring role in "Educating Rita", it's the part she's still recognised the most by the public for. [cite web
last =
first =
authorlink =
coauthors =
title =Drama Faces - Julie Walters
work =
publisher =BBC
date =
url =http://www.bbc.co.uk/drama/faces/julie_walters.shtml
format =
doi =
accessdate = 2007-08-27
]

Duncan Preston (who appeared in Wood's 1981 teleplay "Happy Since I Met You") [cite web
last =
first =

authorlink =
coauthors =
title =Happy Since I Met You (1981)(TV)
work =
publisher =IMDB
date =2007
url=http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0181571/
format =
doi =
accessdate =2007-09-16
] was cast in weekly roles. He had even turned down the chance to play Shakespeare and an offer of a world tour as Hotspur in Henry IV, Part One at the same time. Preston later said, "I was at a crossroads and I had the choice of going straight or going off at a tangent with Victoria, I chose the latter and she changed my life". Most famously playing the recurring role of Clifford in "Acorn Antiques", he also advertised a men's bra, was "Corin Huntley" – a documentary presenter – and was the voice of the monster Crayola in Wood's parody of Doctor Who. [cite web
last =
first =

authorlink =
coauthors =
title =Victoria Wood–As Seen on TV Special – BBC Programme Guide
work =
publisher =BBC
date =2007
url=http://catalogue.bbc.co.uk/catalogue/infax/series/VICTORIA+WOOD-AS+SEEN+ON+TV
format =
doi =
accessdate =2007-04-26
] Wood said of Duncan, "He hasn't been exploited properly in the show because I tend to write parts for women, which is fair enough, but it does mean that Duncan plays the bank manager or the man in the hotel. I don't like men's men. Duncan's mainly the sort of man who likes women, so you can talk to him about your ovaries and it causes no embarrassment". Preston said he was cast "because I was so tall". [cite web
last =
first =
authorlink =
coauthors =
title = WOOD on Walters on Imrie on Preston on Blake
work =
publisher =prestel.co.uk
date =
url = http://www2.prestel.co.uk/cello/WoodOnWaltersOnImrieOnPrestonOnBlake.htm
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]

Celia Imrie was also a long-standing friend of Wood, and had even been in the studio audience when Wood performed on the TV talent show "New Faces" in 1974. However, it was only when Wood saw her act in a show by BBC Scotland called "Eighty-One Take Two" that she was impressed enough to hire her friend for the show. Imrie played various roles throughout the run, like a co-presenter of McConomy (a spoof TV economy show), and most famously Miss Babs in "Acorn Antiques". Imrie said in 2007, "Miss Babs is still what I'm best known for, even though I don't go around with bright yellow hair." [Citation
last =Spencer
first =Liese
author-link =
last2 =
first2 =
author2-link =
title =Awfully big adventure
newspaper =The Scotsman
pages =
year =2007
date =2007-05-27
url =http://living.scotsman.com/ViewArticle.aspx?articleid=2778790
] During her run in "As Seen On TV" Imrie received a fan letter from playwright Alan Bennett. "He wrote a card to me saying he adored Miss Babs. You can't imagine how thrilling that was. I still have that card today." Imrie though believes that the praise should go to Wood's writing: "Every word is of huge importance and crafted to perfection. It was a wonderful, happy accident that I met her." [cite web
last =
first =
authorlink =
coauthors =
title =celiaimrie.net - Career
work =
publisher =celiaimire.net (via archive.org)
date =
url =http://web.archive.org/web/20050828033640/http://celiaimrie.net/career2.htm
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accessdate =2007-03-15
] Wood spotted Susie Blake in a musical at the "King's Head Theatre" and cast her in the role of the opinionated continuity announcer. Wood said of her casting at the time, "I didn't think of her particularly for the continuity announcer, but she came in and could do it, just like that. I'd love to cast her in a song-and-dance number – I feel so sorry for her always having to wear those terrible blouses". When "As Seen On TV" ended Blake said "I'm very sad that this is the last time we will all work together but I understand why Vic wanted to stop. Anyway there were only two series of Fawlty Towers and, as far as I'm concerned, this rates with it, so I'm sure it'll be shown lots of times". [cite web
last =
first =
authorlink =
coauthors =
title = WOOD on Walters on Imrie on Preston on Blake
work =
publisher =prestel.co.uk
date =
url = http://www2.prestel.co.uk/cello/WoodOnWaltersOnImrieOnPrestonOnBlake.htm
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] "Patricia Routledge" starred as Kitty, the self-righteous spinster from Cheadle in weekly monologues. Routledge had appeared in a monologue before in Alan Bennett's 1978 play "A Woman of No Importance". In 1999, as part of Comic Relief, Wood parodied Routledge in "Wetty Hainthropp Investigates", a spoof of Routledge's BBC1 detective series "Hetty Wainthropp Investigates".

Semi-regulars in the show included Jim Broadbent, who'd previously appeared with Wood in the London staging of her play "Talent". He appeared in such parts as a sleazy press photographer and a telephone deodorisering engineer. Lill Roughley, who Wood first spotted when she worked with her then husband Geoffrey Durham in 1977, was given various roles, such as impersonating "Coronation Street"'s Minnie Caldwell. Mary Jo Randle, as well as playing Kelly-Marie Tunstall's friend, appeared as an actress who hadn't worked for three years in the spoof documentary "To Be An Actress".

Wood hired many actors she had previously worked with and felt she could trust, such as Peter Ellis, Meg Johnson, Kay Adshead and Sue Wallace. Wood also hired several celebrities for the show including Frank Bruno, Denis Healey, Claire Rayner, Pete Postlethwaite, Maureen Lipman, Hope Jackman, Molly Weir, Henry Kelly, Dora Bryan and Anne Reid (who would star with Wood again in her sitcom dinnerladies in 1999. Kelly and Bryan also made guest appearances in the sitcom). [cite web
last =
first =
authorlink =
coauthors =
title = The custard.tv guide to... dinnerladies
work =
publisher =custard.tv
date =2004
url = http://www.thecustard.tv/shows/dinnerladies.html
format =
doi =
accessdate =2007-09-17
]

Awards

"As Seen On TV" was a highly acclaimed show in the United Kingdom by the time it ended in 1987. Wood, having just received a BAFTA for the first series, said at the time: "I was very pleased to win, but it really put pressure on me. I was already writing the new series and every time I looked at the award I kept on thinking that people would be expecting so much more now and I just wouldn't be able to live up to it. In the end, I just put the thing away." The series then went on to win BAFTAs for its entire run. [cite web
last =
first =
authorlink =
coauthors =
title =TV and Craft Winner 1980-1989
work =
publisher =Bafta (via archive.org)
date =
url =http://web.archive.org/web/20070202125532/www.bafta.org/site/webdav/site/myjahiasite/shared/import/TV_and_+Craft_Winners_1980-1989.pdf
format =PDF
doi =
accessdate =2008-01-22
]

In 1996, the BBC celebrated its 60th anniversary with an awards ceremony titled "Auntie's All Time Greats". In it, "As Seen On TV" beat "Monty Python's Flying Circus" for "Favourite Comedy Series". It beat the same show again when it won 'best sketch show' in the "Radio Times Comedy Poll" in 2001. [cite web
last =
first =
authorlink =
coauthors =
title =Radio Times Comedy Poll results
work =
publisher =BBC News Online
date =2001-08-21
url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/low/entertainment/tv_and_radio/1501357.stm
format =
doi =
accessdate =2007-10-18
]

Despite all the accolades "As Seen On TV" received (with many of them from the BBC), it was last repeated on terrestrial British television in 1995. [cite web
last =
first =

authorlink =
coauthors =
title =Victoria Wood-As Seen on TV 11 January 1985
work =
publisher =BBC Programme Guide
date =2007
url=http://open.bbc.co.uk/catalogue/infax/programme/LLVG581D
format =
doi =
accessdate =2007-03-11
] [cite web
last =
first =

authorlink =
coauthors =
title =Victoria Wood-As Seen on TV 08 December 1986
work =
publisher =BBC Programme Guide
date =2007
url=http://open.bbc.co.uk/catalogue/infax/programme/LLVJ575P
format =
doi =
accessdate =2007-03-11
] [cite web
last =
first =

authorlink =
coauthors =
title =Victoria Wood-As Seen on TV Special
work =
publisher =BBC Programme Guide
date =2007
url=http://open.bbc.co.uk/catalogue/infax/programme/LLVK560H
format =
doi =
accessdate =2007-03-11
] "As Seen On TV" was, however, repeated in a weekend marathon (from 3 November – 4 November 2007) of Victoria Wood programmes on British satellite TV station UKTV Gold.

Revivals

Although the show ended in 1987, elements of it have been revived by the cast from time to time. Wood and Walters both appeared as Margery and Joan in a sketch for "Red Nose Day 1988 – A Night of Comic Relief", broadcast live. [cite web
last =
first =
authorlink =
coauthors =
title =RND 1988 – A Night of Comic Relief
work =
publisher =IMDB
date =
url = http://www.tv.com/comic-relief/rnd-1988---a-night-of-comic-relief/episode/162490/summary.html
format =
doi =
accessdate =2007-06-01
] "Acorn Antiques" has been revived many times: firstly, Mrs Overall briefly returned in 1992's "Victoria Wood's All Day Breakfast". [cite web
last =
first =
authorlink =
coauthors =
title =Acorn Antiques
work =
publisher =search.com
date =
url =http://www.search.com/reference/Acorn_Antiques
format =
doi =
accessdate = 2007-08-28
] Secondly, "Acorn Antiques" was briefly brought back for an episode in 2001, featuring the original cast and Nick Frost as an armed robber. [cite web
last =
first =
authorlink =
coauthors =
title =Nick Frost
work =
publisher =thoughtworthy.com
date =
url =http://www.thoughtworthy.com/contact.cgim?cookie_refresh=1&partner=twm&contact_id=17256&tab=BIOGRAPHY_AWARDS&tab_id=0&transparent=1
format =
doi =
accessdate = 2007-08-28
] In 2005 it was revived by Wood as a West End theatre production "", starring the original cast and directed by Trevor Nunn. [cite web
last =Caroline
first =Briggs
authorlink =
coauthors =
title =Mrs Overall sings onto the stage
work =
publisher =BBC News
date =2004-12-02
url = http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/arts/4062051.stm
format =
doi =
accessdate = 2007-08-28
] Limited to a 16 week sold out run, it then toured with a brand new cast, this time directed by Wood herself. [cite web
last =
first =
authorlink =
coauthors =
title =Acorn Antiques the Musical!
work =
publisher =The Stage
date =2007-08-28
url =http://www.thestage.co.uk/reviews/review.php/15334/acorn-antiques-the-musical-
format =
doi =
accessdate =
]

cript books

There has been two books published featuring scripts from "As Seen On TV". "Up To You, Porky" (published in 1985) features scripts from the first series mixed in with extracts from "Wood and Walters" and Wood's stage show "Lucky Bag". In 1987, the follow up "Barmy" was published, featuring sketches entirely collated from "As Seen On TV". [cite web
last =
first =
authorlink =
coauthors =
title =doollee.com on Victoria Wood
work =
publisher =doollee.com
date =
url =http://www.doollee.com/PlaywrightsW/WoodVictoria.htm
format =
doi =
accessdate =2007-11-03
] "Barmy" features a Margery and Joan sketch specially written as an introduction to the book, where they review forthcoming novels. Also exclusive to this book are two sketches cut from the original broadcast, 'Lady Police Serial', a parody of the long running "Juliet Bravo", where Wood as Juliet chats to her Desk Sergeant Wilberforce. [cite book
last =Wood
first =Victoria
authorlink =Victoria Wood
coauthors =
title ="Barmy : the new Victoria Wood sketch book : featuring 'Acorn antiques' "
publisher =Methuen
date =1987
location =United Kingdom
pages =p11
url =
doi =
id =PN6175
isbn =0-413-16870-0
] [cite book
last =Wood
first =Victoria
authorlink =Victoria Wood
coauthors =
title ="Barmy : the new Victoria Wood sketch book : featuring 'Acorn antiques' "
publisher =Methuen
date =1987
location =United Kingdom
pages =p149
url =
doi =
id =PN6175
isbn =0-413-16870-0
] Also, 'Craft Shop', where the owner (Rosalind March) tries to tempt her customer (Celia Imrie) with the likes of "Ukranian Prayer Shawls, woven by the mothers of Russian dissidents whilst in a state of euphoria, which doesn't happen very often which is why we've only got three." [cite book
last =Wood
first =Victoria
authorlink =Victoria Wood
coauthors =
title ="Barmy : the new Victoria Wood sketch book : featuring 'Acorn antiques' "
publisher =Methuen
date =1987
location =United Kingdom
pages =p47
url =
doi =
id =PN6175
isbn =0-413-16870-0
]

DVD, video and other media

For a series so lauded, its commercial release had until recently been mainly limited to compilations, with only a full commercial release of the entire series 20 years after the show ended. Initially, a best of series one VHS was released by BBC Video in 1986, with a sub-heading "The Very Best Now On Video". [cite video
people = Victoria Wood
title = Victoria Wood As Seen On TV
medium = VHS video cassette
publisher = BBC Enterprises
location = United Kingdom
date =1986
] The series was then issued on DVD in 2002 as a 90-minute compilation titled "Best of Victoria Wood: As Seen On TV". [cite web
last =
first =
authorlink =
coauthors =
title =Victoria Wood - The Best Of Victoria Wood - As Seen On TV [2002]
work =
publisher =funny.co.uk
date =
url =http://www.funny.co.uk/comedy/prod_0-B000067A9W-Victoria-Wood-The-Best-Of-Victoria-Wood-As-Seen-On-TV-2002.html
format =
doi =
accessdate =
] It was not until 2 April 2007 that the entire series (including the Christmas special) was finally released, in a two-disc DVD set. It was classified a 12 certificate, as it "Contains infrequent bleeped language and moderate sex references". [cite web
last =
first =
authorlink =
coauthors =
title =BBFC Classification for Victoria Wood As Seen On TV
work =
publisher =British Board of Film Classification
date =2007-02-15
url =http://www.bbfc.co.uk/website/Classified.nsf/c2fb077ba3f9b33980256b4f002da32c/1c7f12cd5b27ac0e802572830045d425?OpenDocument
format =
doi =
accessdate =2007-05-04
] In 1993, a VHS a compilation with the "Acorn Antiques" sketches was released on BBC Video. A DVD reissue followed in 2005. [cite web
last =
first =
authorlink =
coauthors =
title =Acorn Antiques on DVD
work =
publisher =BBC Worldwide press releases
date =2005-10-01}
url =http://www.bbc.co.uk/pressoffice/bbcworldwide/worldwidestories/pressreleases/2005/01_january/acorn_antiques.shtml
format =
doi =
accessdate =
]

Audio highlights were made into two half-hour shows for Radio 4. They were broadcast on 18 and 25 August 1992. [cite web
url = http://www2.prestel.co.uk/cello/VictoriaWoodAsSeenOnTVRTGuide.htm
title = Radio Times Guide To TV Comedy - Victoria Wood As Seen On TV
accessdate = 2007
last = Lewisholm
first = Mark
year = 1998
format = htm
work = Radio Times
] Audio highlights of the show were also released over two cassettes by the BBC in 1991. [cite web
last =
first =
authorlink =
coauthors =
title =Comedy Recordings, Cassetes, CDs Etc
work =
publisher =Peter Rice
date =2007
url =http://peterice.com/Comedy6.htm
format =
doi =
accessdate =2007-09-14
]

Radio Times synopsis

At the time of the original broadcasts, as well as writing and appearing in the show, Wood also wrote its programme synopsis for the broadcast listings magazine the "Radio Times". All were misleading, with little or nothing to do with the contents of the actual broadcast. The entry for the first show on 8 January 1985 said:

Cquote2|'Chipper' Patel arrived from New Delhi in 1962 with an artificial leg and five pounds in his pocket. He now controls a multi-million-pound vinyl flooring empire. He didn’t want to be filmed. So here's a tatty old comedy programme with some women in it.cite web
last =
first =
authorlink =
coauthors =
title =Victoria Wood-As Seen on TV episode guide Series 1
work =
publisher =prestel.co.uk
date =2007
url =http://www2.prestel.co.uk/cello/AsSeenOnTVSeries1.htm
format =
doi =
accessdate =2007-11-03
]

These continued throughout the original broadcast run:

Other entries make reference to Mendelssohn, Anita Harris and others who would make no appearance on the actual show.

References

External links

* [http://web.archive.org/web/20070202035145/http://www.bbc.co.uk/comedy/guide/articles/v/victoriawoodasse_7776960.shtml "Victoria Wood As Seen On TV"] at BBC Comedy Guide
* [http://open.bbc.co.uk/catalogue/infax/series/VICTORIA+WOOD-AS+SEEN+ON+TV "Victoria Wood As Seen On TV"] at bbc.co.uk/catalogue


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