Stanley Wood was a great looking ex-maritime officer whose assorted endowments as a scriptwriter, writer, maker and piano player foreshadowed his most youthful little girl Victoria’s preeminent abilities as a performer.
He additionally had a northerner’s inclination towards obtuseness. A scathing section in his diary for September 7, 1969 records, ‘V (Victoria) fatter than at any other time and has more spots. For breakfast Vicky had toast thickly spread with stick and two pieces? At that point lunch 30 minutes after the fact. I figure she watches the TV for eight hours.’
He likewise remarks horribly on an early sweetheart of Victoria’s and watches that any kids they have will resemble “inflatables.”
Should such harsh private thoughts about the 16-year-old Victoria Wood, who went ahead to end up noticeably one of the country’s best adored and most garlanded comics â€” grasping singing, melody composing and acting with measure up to deftness â€” and who kicked the bucket six months prior, ever have been made open? Would it be a good idea for us to be aware of her dad’s pointed comments about her high school over-eating; her separate, inactive way of life; her over-weight sweethearts?
The eldest of Victoria’s three kin, her lone sibling Chris Foote Wood, 75, has this week safeguarded his choice to distribute selections from their dad’s private journals in a destined to-be distributed book, Victoria Wood Satire Virtuoso: Her Life And Work.
He has composed an account which offers phenomenal bits of knowledge into the peculiar childhood of his renowned sister, who passed on matured 62, from malignancy; a lady who monitored her own security so intently that lone a modest cadre of her close family â€” Chris was not among them â€” even knew she was sick.
Chris, a columnist, supporter, creator and previous legislator, says: ‘I’ve been reprimanded for saying Victoria was a miserable young person, that she invested her energy in her room eating; that she got overweight and discouraged. Be that as it may, I’m simply rehashing what she’s said openly herself. She said in a meeting for Radio 4’s Betray Island Plates in 2007 that she was overweight and hopeless in her high schoolers.’
Really, Victoria went further, uncovering the profundity of her devastation and detachment when she was at the charge paying Cover Linguistic use School for Young ladies: ‘I went under. I was a wreck, a maverick. I didn’t have any companions, not to mention attempt to be amusing. I didn’t do any work, didn’t have clean garments and didn’t wash.
‘On the off chance that I didn’t have any cash, I’d take from individuals and on the off chance that I hadn’t gotten my work done I’d take somebody else’s. I was desirous of the considerable number of gatherings: the horsey gathering, the young ladies who went out with young men, the shrewd ones. Thinking back, I feel truly sad for that young lady.’
Chris remarks that father Stanley did not restrict his scorching comments to Victoria: ‘My dad composed remorseless things about every one of the four of his youngsters; additionally interesting and kind remarks. He ridiculed every one of us.
‘I trust Victoria’s story will rouse other youngsters who may feel forlorn and miserable as she did, to make an achievement of their lives.
‘She exited the most fabulous heritage of work and the catastrophe is, she had a great deal more to give. I’m one of her greatest fans.’
To be sure, Victoria Wood left a stunning comic inheritance to the country. Regardless she holds the record for the most offer out shows for a performance entertainer.
She likewise consolidated this huge imaginative yield with parenthood, and was hitched for a long time to Geoffrey Durham, the performer The Incomparable Soprendo, with whom she had two kids, Henry, 23 and Beauty, 27, whose security she strenuously watched.
Reacting to feedback that he has slighted their emotions, Chris says: ‘It’s absolutely false. I composed twice to them, said I’d been made a request to compose a book and offered them the opportunity to be included. I requesting that they connect in the event that they had any worries. They didn’t react.
‘I’ve been asked: “Did you get consent?” However when was a law passed proclaiming you needed to have authorization to expound on your sister?’
He’s additionally quick to bring up that he is not doing it for the cash: all returns will be given to ‘foundations near Victoria’s heart’, despite the fact that he hasn’t chosen which ones yet.
It can’t be denied that the knowledge Chris gives into the unconventional childhood of the Wood family is enticing. Stan and Nellie Wood had four youngsters: Chris, conceived in 1940, Penelope, who arrived five years after the fact, Rosalind, conceived in 1950, and Victoria, conceived in 1953.
As a result of the moderately huge age holes between them, the youngsters ended up plainly independent and confident. ‘We weren’t a genial family who assembled for nights in the living room. We as a whole withdrawn to our own particular rooms,’ says Chris.
Chris, 13 years more seasoned than Victoria, just put in five years living with her in the family home before he exited for college.
He demands that there was a sharp divergence between Victoria’s rational northern young lady picture and her prosperous white collar class childhood.
‘She was extremely aware of the “Victoria Wood Brand”, which was that of an average workers young lady â€” which she never was,’ he says.
‘When she was four our folks could bear to live in a major house in the nation, sitting above a green and the Irwell Valley close Cover.
‘Victoria used to allude to it as a home, which entirely it was. In any case, it had been an improving occasion home for 24 young men and eight staff. Each of us had our own gigantic room, father had an investigation and changing area; mother made them sew room. There was a tremendous passageway lobby, sufficiently huge to hold a move in, with an infant fantastic piano in it, and later Victoria had her own piano in her room.’
It appears to be that while Victoria needed claim, her mom Nellie â€” a mind boggling and troublesome character â€” was, as per Chris, a callous social climber who attempted strenuous endeavors to cut off from her underlying foundations in common laborers Manchester.
Nellie â€” brilliant and disappointed by the requirements of parenthood â€” was one of eight kids destined to a father invalided in the Principal World War and a mother who worked in a cotton process. Nellie had left school at 14 to work in a steel works.
That she continued her examinations matured 49, and picked up a BA and a Bosses degree before starting another vocation as an instructor in English writing, is all around archived.
Just her close family, in any case, thought about the diverse complexities of her ‘dull character,’ says Chris.
‘Nellie had been a vivacious, active lady in the more youthful days, and when she met my dad Stan it was an adoration coordinate,’ he says.
‘In any case, in later life she turned into a hermit. She played Judas on the world. What’s more, she was a hard mother. She never demonstrated to us any love; absolutely never nestled us, adulated us or disclosed to us she adored us. She ended up plainly dreary, grim.
‘Regularly she’d just address me through my dad. She’d say: “Tell the kid this . . .” when I was standing appropriate by her. I’d call it mental remorselessness.
‘When we were little I recollect her rubbing our confronts so hard with a wool she about scoured the skin off them.’
Nellie additionally separated herself from her average workers family, to the shocking degree that she put on a show to Chris that his maternal grandma was dead when she was still especially alive.
He reviews: ‘One day when I was 14 â€” Vic was as yet an infant â€” I got my bicycle out to cycle over to my granny’s. Mum stated: “You can’t go. She’s dead.”
‘I asked when she’d kicked the bucket and mother stated: “Three weeks since.” At that point I inquired as to why I wasn’t permitted to go to the memorial service, and she said pretentiously she would not think I’d like to. I never observed my granny again despite the fact that I later learned she lived for an additional eight years.’
Chris thinks that its difficult to comprehend why his mom so fiercely truncated his association with his grandma â€” and in this manner, additionally separated connections with his numerous cousins, aunties uncles as yet living in Manchester.
The kindest translation he has is this: ‘When I was 13, at about an indistinguishable time from Victoria was conceived, I’d gotten tuberculosis (TB) â€” an ailment related with congestion and destitution â€” from one of my cousins. I can just expect she was stressed I’d backpedal and get sick once more, and bring the disease home. Be that as it may, our mom’s conduct absolutely wasn’t normal.’
He recollects, in any case, that his mom’s open face was a gregarious one. Nellie sought after a way of upward portability, joining the Women’s Circle and Outfit Society.
‘She’d chosen her own family were underneath her socially and she began to blend with prosperous working class ladies,’ he recollects.
In the interim, Stan was supplementing his solid wage as a protection guarantor by composing radio plays and tunes, and creating stage musicals.
His journal records that in 1950, three years before Victoria was conceived, he got Â£100 in one month for a business reward alone, and nearly Â£700 for a radio play. (The national normal wage at the time was Â£400 a year.)
He composed scripts for the performer and telecaster Wilfred Pickles and later for Crowning ordinance Road. When Victoria was conceived they were a prosperous family.
‘As a little kid she had blue eyes and mass of brilliant twists,’ says Chris. ‘She was a stunning infant; continually grinning and she developed into a nervy little child who made us giggle.’
It was from Stan, obviously, that the hugely gifted Victoria acquired her affection for theater, satire and execution.
Touchingly, her dad’s journal additionally records her initially joke: a seven-year-old Victoria was tuning in as her father disclosed to her an anecdote about the Three Musketeers, when she asked: ‘Would they say they were hard of hearing? You just said they “must get ears”!’
Nellie and Stan were perfect inverses. ‘Nellie was extremely serious,’ says Chris. ‘Like Victoria, she pursued a deep rooted fight against her weight and in spite of the fact that she cooked for all of us when I was a tyke, she used to go nourishment through a bring forth into the lounge area and never ate with us.
‘Stan was tall, attractive and a crazy tease.
‘I trust he was