An Audience with Victoria Wood (1988)

TV Special  |   |  Comedy
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10 December 1988 (UK)  »

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Followed by An Audience with the Bee Gees (1998) See more »

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Dated, but still funny
31 August 2005 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

An Audience with Victoria Wood was one of the irregular offerings created and originally produced by London Weekend Television for the Saturday evening prime time slot on ITV. The format started in 1978 with Jasper Carrot and has continued to the present day with a number of major and minor celebrities having 1 hour of television devoted to them entertaining us. The format of the show is usually the same, it begins with a few questions and amusing answers, there's usually some musical numbers and a few memories or funny gags. The subject is also aided by a celebrity studio audience comprising a few friends and a lot of B list celebrities who are occasionally invited onto stage or form part of the evening's gags.

Victoria Wood's evening is probably one of the best. She began with the usual questions taking offerings from the likes of Julie Walters, Michael Grade, Dennis Nordern and Joan Bakewell! Then came a few gags, one aimed at the then controller of London Weekend, Greg Dyke, followed by a brief camera shot of a younger bearded Dyke sitting outside the celebrity audience section, so brief you could almost miss it. After the break came a few of Wood's infamous one woman sketches and a couple of songs with the evening climaxing on the huge crescendo of "Barry and Freda", probably one of Wood's finest songs.

The programme was hilarious when it was first aired in 1988, but time has not been kind to it. Nowadays some of the gags are a little dated relying on fads current at the time like the long gone fast food franchise Spud-U-Like, old ITV shows like Fresh Fields and the Levi's ad where Nick Kamen stripped down to his underpants in a launderette to wash his jeans to fit. The fashion worn at the time is laughable, whether it be Maureen Lipman's huge round glasses, Julie Walter's dodgy perm or Michael Le Vell's gay icon/long gone moustache. The A-list celebrities of the time have fallen off the tips of our tongues as many would struggle to remember the likes of Kid Jenson, Tony Adams or Wincey Willis. However this episode still sits head and shoulders above a lot of shows of the series where second rate celebrities would try to reach Wood's high standard but have failed. Also ITV, in its pursuit to offer the same programmes which initially set a high standard for their refreshing style and content have exhausted this golden goose to death by featuring stars who fail to entertain.

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