Victoria Wood's Mid Life Christmas

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Victoria Wood's Mid Life Christmas
Genre Comedy
Created by Victoria Wood
Starring Victoria Wood
Julie Walters
Anton du Beke
Delia Smith
Jayne Torvill
Christopher Dean
Reece Shearsmith
Emily Atack
Steve Elias
Jennie Dale
Tony Maudsley
Country of origin United Kingdom
Producer(s) John Rushton
Victoria Wood (executive producer)
Running time 60 minutes
Original network BBC One
Picture format 16:9
Original release 24 December 2009
Related shows
External links

Victoria Wood's Mid Life Christmas is a comedy sketch show written by and starring comedian Victoria Wood, broadcast on Christmas Eve 2009.

The programme, Wood's first sketch show for nine years, was described by Wood as being "a whole night's telly crammed into one hour. Christmas is a stressful time and, by compressing an evening's viewing into 60 minutes, we hope families will have more time for other festive traditions such as arguing with relatives and defrosting turkeys under the hot tap".[1] The special featured a spoof documentary titled Beyond The Marigolds,[2] in which Wood's long-time collaborator Julie Walters reprised her role as "Bo Beaumont", the actress behind Acorn Antiques character "Mrs. Overall". Beyond The Marigolds saw Beaumont's foray into the world of celebrity programming such as I'm a Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here!, Dancing on Ice and Strictly Come Dancing. The sketch included special guest appearances from Delia Smith, Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean, and Anton du Beke.

Also featured in Mid Life Christmas was The Mid Life Olympics 2009, a series of sketches that include events such as the "4 by 400 Hedge Trimming" and "Ladies Outdoor Parking", featuring Wood as the commentator.[3] There was an homage to BBC costume drama (Lark Rise to Candleford, Little Dorrit and Cranford) with the sketch Lark Pies to Cranchesterford; a series of parodies of television adverts; and a send-up of The Apprentice in which Sir Alan Sugar's sidekicks Margaret Mountford and Nick Hewer (portrayed inimitably by Wood and Mid Life Christmas choreographer Stephen Mear) share an uncharacteristic jazz dance together.

To close the special, Wood reprised her famous song The Ballad of Barry and Freda (Let's Do It), first performed on her sketch show Victoria Wood as Seen on TV in 1987. The dance sequence accompanying the song spoofed the elaborate Busby Berkeley sequences of the 1930s and 1940s with, as the BBC described it, plenty of "midriff bulge".

The programme achieved a total viewing audience of 7.45 million viewers and was the 12th highest rated show on BBC One and the 17th highest rated across all channels for the week ending 27 December 2009.[4]

A 'behind the scenes' documentary about the making of the show titled Victoria Wood: What Larks! aired on BBC1 on 30 December 2009, featuring additional material.

Wood's son Henry Durham made small cameo appearances in both the special and the behind the scenes documentary. In the documentary, his end titles credit was placed over a still of himself taken from the programme, whereas in the main programme, his name was simply included with the other artists, coming between Jennie Dale and Steve Elias.

When the programme was repeated on BBC One on 5 June 2010 it was re-titled Victoria Wood's Short Term Memories. For this version, the opening stand-up section and Reece Shearsmith's vicar monologue were removed. Both edits have been repeated on GOLD.

Contemporary and later press reports suggested that Wood was unhappy with the BBC's handling of the production and the decision to schedule it for Christmas Eve rather than on Christmas Day as she had expected.[5][6]


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