'Lark Pies to Cranchesterford' is a sunny costume spoof in which Victorian teenager Araminty Fich leaves her humble hamlet to work in the Post and Potato Office in the bustling town of ...
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In the late 1930s Nella Last,a housewife aged 49,living in Barrow-in-Furness on the North West English coast,agrees to send details of her routine to the Mass observation project,a ... See full summary »
Sketch based show starring 'Victoria Wood', 'Julie Walters' and many others. Included regular items such as "Acorn Antiques" with Julie as Mrs Overall and a regular advice slot from Agony ... See full summary »
In 1953 William Barrington-Coupe - known as Barrie - spots concert pianist Joyce Hatto and recognizes her talent. They marry with Barrie becoming Joyce's agent. She makes several records,... See full summary »
'Lark Pies to Cranchesterford' is a sunny costume spoof in which Victorian teenager Araminty Fich leaves her humble hamlet to work in the Post and Potato Office in the bustling town of Cranchesterford where the local postmistress finds a love rival for the squire in a very camp postman. Also featured are a parody documentary in which soap actress Bo Beaumont,creator of the iconic Boadicea Overall in 'Acorn Antics' tries to revive her flagging career by auditioning for reality shows though it becomes apparent she has no talent and coverage of the mid-life Olympics where medals are awarded for shopping and assembling flat pack furniture. The finale sees Victoria perform her famous Ballad of Freda and Eric,accompanied by dozens of tap-dancing Freda and Eric look-alikes. Written by
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Victoria Wood's fourth, and final Christmas special, Mid Life Christmas is notable for being the only one not to air on Christmas Day. Its predecessors All Day Breakfast (1992), Live in Your Home (1994) and With All The Trimmings (2000) all received prestigious Christmas Day slots, though Mid Life Christmas instead aired on Christmas Eve 2009. See more »
Victoria Wood's first Christmas special in nine years and her long- awaited return to sketch-based TV comedy sadly turns out to be a disappointment for all but the maverick musician-comedienne's most indulgent fans. It's heavily hampered by an overblown pastiche of British costume dramas which drags on for segment after segment, relying far too heavily on silly anachronisms rather than character -- teenagers texting using needlepoint samplers, a 'whitening' booth rather than a tanning booth. I doubt Wood likes costume dramas very much, unlike Julia Davies whose ostensibly similar Hunderby (2012) shows it helps actually to have a grasp of the genre you're sending up. Even less inspired is a series of reports from the Middle-Aged Olympics, which invites unfavourable comparisons with Monty Python's skits on sports coverage from many decades before.
With the exception of a dance routine on the set of The Apprentice, which is funny both because it's so incongruous and so well mounted, the more successful sections retread old ground. There's a mockumentary on the life of Bo Beaumont, the mediocre but blissfully self-deluded actor who portrayed Mrs Overall in Acorn Antiques, a fictitious soap that featured in Wood's 1980s BBC work and later became a musical. She's brought to life as ever by the great Julie Walters, the only significant member of Wood's old gang to pop up in this piece. And for a grand finale, our host dusts off her most famous comic song, The Ballad of Barry and Freda (aka Let's Do It), with a few new lyrics, a fabulous big band arrangement and an elaborate Busby Berkeley-style dance routine with a host of CGI- enhanced Barrys and Fredas complete with baggy Y-fronts and loose elastic. This sequence is a joy, but the song has been around since the 1980s.
Wood was successful as a dramatist before she broke through with sketch shows and stand-up. She's moved more and more in the direction of longer forms like sitcoms and 'serious' drama in recent decades, and very successfully. Perhaps her heart isn't in sketches any more. The Making Of, where Wood talks as herself direct to camera, at points reminiscing on her own odd childhood Christmases, is more engaging than the show itself, which certainly doesn't do justice to such a unique talent.
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