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Victoria Wood - Screenplays [DVD]
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This set brings together three television plays from multi-award-winning comedienne and writer Victoria Wood. Originally transmitted between 1979 and 1981, the plays provided an early showcase for the bittersweet, distinctly Northern humour and mastery of dourly comic, sometimes poignant dialogue that has made her one of Britain's best-loved and most consistently successful performers. Included is the highly acclaimed Talent, commissioned in 1978 by the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield and the play which first brought Victoria Wood to the attention of Granada Television; the productions also reunited Wood and long-time friend Julie Walters, and marked the beginning of their phenomenally successful television partnership. Wood and Walters stalwart Duncan Preston also appears, with turns from Tracey Ullman, George Costigan and stand-up veteran and Bullseye host Jim Bowen. TALENT Julie, a young woman seeking an escape from the encroaching drudgery of domestic life, and Maureen, her frumpish friend, prepare for a talent show at a seedy club. NEARLY A HAPPY ENDING Maureen has been faithfully attending the slimmers club for months. Now the weeks of endless crispbreads have paid off but is her optimism misplaced? HAPPY SINCE I MET YOU Frances is 28, single and happy, despite ritual interrogations from her family as to why she s not married. Then she meets Jim, and finds she has decisions to make...
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Top Customer Reviews
Production values are extremely good for the time, but, taken separately, the three teleplays here do vary somewhat in the writing quality:
Talent, VW's first play from 1979, is set backstage at a local talent show and features Wood and Walters as Maureen and Julie as they sit and smoke fags and quaff Babycham nervously anticipating Julie's star turn of 'Cabaret' that evening. Filled with some hilarious one-liners and great performances, this does however suffer from some average songs which don't sit too comfortably within the structure of the dialogue. As a first teleplay this is a superb achievement, but there is a little stiltedness to the writing and unsatisfactory exposition of the back story and its outcome in relation to Julie's character. This is the weakest effort of the three, but still manages to conjure some lovely nostalgia and a glimpse of the promise of VW's superb observations.
Nearly a Happy Ending is a sequel to Talent as we catch up with Julie and Maureen a year later to discover that Maureen has been a big success at Weight Watchers and Julie is coping with depression following her finace's death. Altogether a more solid effort than its predecesssor with better songs and a wickedly funny script, this evidences a massive development in VW's talent for writing and structure and succesfully combines laugh out loud crudities with some touching and poignant moments. The only criticism to level at it is that Julie's character comes across as ultimately very unsympathetic, which is the only jarring note of the story.Read more ›
I was a little disapointed at first then it got much better as it progressed.
I have watched it a few times now and have come to appreciate the fine acting and writing of Victoria Wood and Julie Walters.
I can now highly recommend this DVD.
Watch the way that Victoria gave so much to her art,also giving the best lines to her fellow actors and giving them a chance to shine.