Features / Music

Victoria Wood: As Seen On TV review [Demon Records]

I’ve always been a fan of Victoria Wood; I grew up with her comedy and it was more than welcome in our house. Smart and clever, always with an altered angle of insight, she led the way in an ocean of male-dominated comedy, but Wood also impressively (and justifiably) sailed her own sea, complete with a sharp, comic mind that suggested a subtle touch but was, in fact, profoundly authentic and reflective of a changing society. Not only ahead of her time, but she was also a tremendous writing and music talent who helped forge the way for those that followed.

Victoria Wood: As Seen on TV is a brand-new, restored collection from the BBC and Demon Records, sliding in under with a celebration of what would be Wood’s 70th Birthday, it features sketches and songs from the BBC TV series originally broadcast back in 1985, and you’ll be reminded how much of her work remains pertinent. Arriving on Green and Brown vinyl for the first time, you’ll be pleased to know it most definitely features The Ballad of Barry and Freda (watch here), which features the famous line “Not bleakly – not meekly – beat me on the bottom with a Woman’s Weekly!”, and completely commemorates her best-remembered comedy from her ground-breaking work.

Written by and starring Victoria Wood herself, she was aided by an striking co-starring cast that included the almighty Julie Walters, taking on a huge variety of comedy characters, plus the likes of Celia Imrie, Duncan Preston and Susie Blake, as the brilliantly over-opinionated (right in the spoof heart of the middle classes) continuity announcer, her sketches are both unexpectedly timeless but also definitely hold the spirit of Monty Python.

And then there’s Patricia Routledge’s perpetually flabbergasted agony aunt, Kitty. Her monologues, written by Wood, focus on everything from mental health to railways, from women’s health to education. They’re expertly delivered but it also, once again, shows off the exceptional talent on display and pieces that comes across as modern, which is really what any comedian or writer wants, even 30 to 40 years later.

And I think that’s what resonates the most, considering much of this originally aired through the mid-eighties. It’s unerringly applicable to now and in a conversational sense, shows how things haven’t changed that much in the UK, even when you think we’ve moved forwards. In many spots, it’s almost echoing the possible end of the Tory regime all over again, with sketches and setups deliberating problems with workers and strikes, potential war, social commentary, class differences, relationships, sexism, the obvious self-deprecating edge, and everything in between… and while maybe society hasn’t changed that much in many ways, it still fits the era it was made in, and that insight works on all levels, because it’s genuinely laugh out loud funny.

The vinyl itself comes as two 140g vinyl LPs (one green and one brown) that are presented in an illustrated gatefold sleeve with images from the TV show. There are cast-lists on the sleeves of the records, and inside is an exclusive sleeve note by Jasper Rees, author of the bestselling Let’s Do It: The Authorised Biography of Victoria Wood and Victoria Wood Unseen on TV, and his words are a lovely tribute.

Victoria Wood: As Seen on TV is out now and I absolutely recommend picking up a copy, putting it on and just experiencing the stories all over again. We really miss Victoria Wood, and all her work, but this is such a perfect collection for the 70th celebrations – which transcends more than you’ll remember, or even give you a great insight if you’re a first-time listener. She was, and remains, the complete package, an all-round entertainer and this is a worthy collection for her epic talent.

Victoria Wood: As Seen On TV is available to order on vinyl now: https://amzn.to/3pzxBq1


One thought on “Victoria Wood: As Seen On TV review [Demon Records]

  1. Beautifully put Critical Popcorners. Victoria Wood was the best of us. Englishness I’m all it weird funny soft and silliness. I will seek a copy as tribute but the memories of seeing her show us how we could be was love writ large


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