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Victoria Wood: The Biography [Paperback]

Neil Brandwood
2.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)

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Book Description

9 Oct 2003
Victoria Wood's wit has endeared her to millions of television viewers and Neil Brandwood offers some insights into the life of this remarkable performer and the sometimes traumatic journey she made to reach the top. From her early years in Lancashire to the successes of the sell-out shows at the Royal Albert Hall, her rise to stardom is sympathetically and honestly portrayed.

Product details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Virgin Books; New edition edition (9 Oct 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0753508613
  • ISBN-13: 978-0753508619
  • Product Dimensions: 19 x 12.8 x 2.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 2.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,550,131 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


Reveals the private traumas behind the showbiz glitter Sunday Express A very readable, insightful biography Lancashire Life

Book Description

THE LIFE OF ONE OF BRITAIN'S BEST LOVED ENTERTAINERS --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Biog of a private person 15 July 2006
I found this book interesting because I love Victoria's stand up act and wanted to know more about her. About 80% of the book is about her entertainment work; there is little that is personal and I later found out that this is because the biog. is unofficial. I learned from the book that Victoria has striven hard to keep her private life private, and had I known that I would not have bought the book, for Brandwood has, by writing it, revealed more than Victoria herself wanted to.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Victoria Sponger 6 July 2007
The author takes great pains to present Victoria's second stage play, Good Fun, as a flop. But, the fact of the matter is, it wasn't a flop - not in audience terms and certainly not in financial terms either for The Crucible (Sheffield) who commissioned it in the first place and who had to bring it back for a second run due to public demand.

I attended one of those packed performances and I can honestly say it was one of the funniest, most enjoyable theatre experiences I've ever had. There is no mention in the book, of course, of it being brought back for a second run. That would only get in the way of a good story. The ultimate proof that it was a flop, according to Brandwood is that it failed to transfer to the West End. Yeah, and? Their loss. Trust me, I know 'cos I was there.

If Neil Brandwood can report so inaccurately in the case of Good Fun, what chance of him getting any of the rest of it right? Not much, when the only people he actually gets to speak to first hand are the likes of Victoria's estranged brother, a girl who he implies Victoria bullied at school and Mrs Loombucket who lived down the lane when little Vicky was five!

It's a vaguely depressing read with Victoria painted as a middle-class snob with a chip on her shoulder and an indifferent attitude to her fans. I don't think Brandwood likes his subject very much. Shame.
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars If you are a fan don't waste your money 24 Mar 2006
By A Customer
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is one of the most irritating biographies I have ever read. The author professes to being a fan but is constantly sniping at Victoria Wood because she is living a well off lifestyle but professes in her acts to be an ordinary northern lass. Get real thats why its called an ACT!!! Of course she has money because she is successful and deseves to be. Also the author tries to psychoanalyse ever sketch ever written to try and tie everything up with her childhood..sometimes writers just write stuff because its funny. This guy gives the impression that he is just plain jealous that he has never hit the big time in his own career. Perhaps the most telling thing about this book is that none of Victoria Woods real friends have cooperated, that says it all.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Peevish and judgemental 24 Oct 2010
This biography effectively documents many of the events in Victoria Wood's life albeit from the the perspective of a diligent clippings-reader. The reluctance of Victoria Wood or any of her inner circle to contribute means that Mr Brandwood was required to fall back on public sources, or interviews with people who know or knew Victoria so barely that their input scarcely seems relevant. Consequently the book suffers from a lack of depth. In addition, Mr Brandwood seems to lack sympathy for his subject, and while looking at a career which has largely been successful he seems to invite the reader to share his disappointment. For example, he appears to believe that the first series of 'Dinnerladies' was a commercial and critical failure, noting that it began with 12.24 million viewers but the average of later episodes was only 9.45 million. While the former figure is undeniably more impressive, I believe very few producers of TV programmes would regard 9.45 million viewers as a failure.

I finished the book less interested in Victoria Wood and more interested in Neil Brandwood's motivation in writing about her. He doesn't seem to have much affection for Victoria Wood so why write this book? Like Mr Brandwood on many occasions, I can only speculate. At times it seems like the book would like to be a 'dish-the-dirt' tome in the style of Kitty Kelly or Albert Goldman. However, in the absence of any real dirt to dish what we are frequently left with is simply peevish and judgemental carping.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Victoria Wood - The Biography 8 Oct 2009
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I am a big Victoria Wood fan and I must say that I felt this book portrayed a very different side of Victoria.
It constantly repeated information mentioned on earlier pages in the book. I felt that the author was very biased in his opinions and to a great extent created a feeling at times of an almost hatred for her.
There were a praises for her at times, but my own opinion was that he stressed the negatives rather than the positives.
I took the book on holiday expecting an enjoyable read but was disappointed. I read the book, but did not even bother to bring it home with me.
I felt that Victoria probably did not co-operate in the writing of this book which could have given rise to the bias that the author displayed.
I would not recommend this book.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A collection of clippings 13 Mar 2007
I very rarely throw a book away when I get to the last page but I did with this one. I was annoyed that I perservered to the end. Neil Brandwood, getting no co-operation from the subject or any of her current colleagues or acquaintances relies upon the comments of a couple of embittered friends from her early days and the transcripts of public interviews. To give the book a sense of (misplaced)importance he analyses each comment as though each throw-away line betrayed her true self.

There is a bitterness about his characterisation of his subject that is lacking from any of her own quoted comments and this makes the read a rather unpleasant one.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars Whats the point
Neil has been messing around with this bloody book for as long as I can remember. And for what... Hes my Godfather for Christs sake and when he should have been focussing on me he... Read more
Published 8 months ago by Joe Cammiss Low
4.0 out of 5 stars Not all laughs
Some parts of this biog were quite poignant, other parts made me smile and some made me chuckle. Victoria Wood appears to be a complex and flawed personality. Read more
Published 11 months ago by Valerie McLellan
5.0 out of 5 stars fab!
helpes keep my daughter quiet both ather work and at home - she's not a reader but this was perfect. TA!
Published 17 months ago by mogsie
1.0 out of 5 stars Those who can do, those who can't jump on the bandwagon...
Bought this to read on holiday and wouldn't have finished it if I had anything else to read. Not interesting or informative about Victoria Wood or her work but left a feeling of... Read more
Published on 2 May 2011 by weekendgirly
5.0 out of 5 stars Well-researched, well-written, an entertaining read.
Despite the other negative reviews I decided to buy this as I am a great fan of Victoria Wood. I found it to be well-researched and well-written. Read more
Published on 27 Mar 2010 by CityBoy
2.0 out of 5 stars Can writing about hard work be an interesting read?
I will keep this review short for fear of attempting to make the mundane more interesting than it really is. Read more
Published on 17 Feb 2010 by Mr. M. F. Kirby
4.0 out of 5 stars The Real Victoria
This is a meticulously researched book about the queen of comedy, yet it uncovers neuroses the average viewer wouldn't even guess at. Read more
Published on 12 Jan 2003 by Dawn Robinson-Walsh
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