Victoria Wood As Seen On TV documentaries

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Victoria Wood in the mockumentary Swim The Channel

Victoria Wood As Seen On TV documentaries were short mockumentaries that appeared on the BBC Two sketch comedy television series Victoria Wood As Seen On TV (1985–87).

Usually lasting around five minutes, they dealt with such topics as a girl who wanted to swim the channel and an old man moving into a home. They were narrated by an off-screen "reporter" in the first series and presented by an on-screen Duncan Preston in the second series, as "Corrin Huntley".

Filmed more naturalistically than the rest of the show, the "documentaries" were a continuation of style for Wood who had previously produced similar pseudo-realistic spoofs like The Woman Who Had 740 Children and Girls Talking for her previous sketch show Wood and Walters.[1][2]

List of documentaries[edit]

  • A Fairly Ordinary Man - Jim Broadbent plays Jim, who runs "a telephone deodorising business" as well as being a door to door Christian. He has been engaged to the same woman for sixteen years.
  • Swim The Channel - Wood as a naive schoolgirl, determined to swim the English Channel, despite having no back up or any interest from her parents. (Schoolgirl - "it's just one of the things I've always wanted to do, swim the channel. And meet Bonnie Tyler. And I've liked to have been in Annie, but I don't think it's on any more").
  • To Be An Actress - Mary Jo Randle as a young actress that has been out of work for three years. But through the casting couch, lands a part in a play. (Actress - "I've a busy day...I'll try and fit in my juggling lessons, as I think its very important to have extra skills in this business").
  • On Campus - A new student arrives at a University, and quickly gains popularity by bullying her overweight roommate into an attempted suicide. (Student - "I’ve never lived away from home before. Well, I’ve been grape-picking, but that was in our conservatory")[3]
  • The Divorce - Maureen Lipman and Denis Lawson as a warring ex-couple.
  • Just An Ordinary School - A look at an exclusive girls' public school (Public Schoolgirl - "There are all sorts of girls here, even coloured girls, though they tend to be princesses mainly").[4]
  • Bessie - Behind the scenes, before the opening of the West End musical Bessie! Supposedly part of a TV show Whither The Arts (itself a parody of The South Bank Show), which also claimed it would then be visiting a "gallery in Bristol, and taking a look at their 'Sculpture 84' Exhibition. The centrepiece of which is the controversial twenty foot ironing board, made entirely of driving test rejection slips".
  • Mr Right - Anne Reid is a lonely spinster, Pamela Twill, who lives with her disabled, nymphomaniac Mother (Dora Bryan). Will a dating agency help her find her 'Mr Right'? This was Reid's first television acting part in fifteen years since leaving Coronation Street, where she had played the part of Valerie Barlow. Her husband was the late Granada TV producer, Peter Eckersley, who Wood considered her greatest creative mentor. Reid later appeared as a very similar character, Sheila, again searching for love through a dating agency, in The Library, a half-hour sitcom that was part of the 1989 Victoria Wood series.[5]
  • Today In Hospital - Corrin Huntley investigates a modern NHS hospital.
  • Billy - Hugh Lloyd as Billy, a pensioner who is forced to move into an old people's home when his daughter won't look after him (Daughter - "I'm out all day, and I'm terrified he'll fall down and break something, like a vase").
  • A Very Funny Young Man Indeed - A working men's club comedian, Baz Bennett, gets his big break on a TV talent show. But seems more interested in his perm than his comedy. Interestingly, Derek Hobson, who plays the talent show host in this was also the real host of talent show New Faces when Victoria Wood was a contestant over a decade earlier.[6]
  • Flatmates - Wood, Deborah Grant and Christopher Strauli as three anally retentive, middle classed flatmates, all with extremely right-wing opinions ("I think the unemployed should be deported to the Isle of Man. They take up all the seats in the shopping centre").
  • Winnie's Lucky Day - An old woman from Birmingham wins a million pound in a magazine competition.
  • The Making of Acorn Antiques - The final documentary for the 1987 Christmas Special had Paul Heiney as the presenter. We go behind the scenes of the soap. It spoofed a then recent behind the scenes documentary on British soap opera EastEnders titled Just Another Day. With Maggie Steed playing Acorn Antiques much feared producer Marion Clune, a parody of then EastEnders producer Julia Smith.[5]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Wood, Victoria (2007-08-28). "The Woman With 740 Children". prestel.co.uk. Retrieved 2007-03-20. 
  2. ^ Wood, Victoria (2007-08-28). "Girls Talking". prestel.co.uk. Retrieved 2007-03-20. 
  3. ^ Wood, Victoria (2007-08-28). "On Campus". prestel.co.uk. Retrieved 2007-08-31. 
  4. ^ Wood, Victoria (2007-08-31). "Just An Ordinary School". prestel.co.uk. Retrieved 2007-08-31. 
  5. ^ a b Brandwood, Neil (2002). Victoria Wood – The Biography (1st ed.). London: Boxtree. ISBN 1-85227-982-6. 
  6. ^ "New Faces". Nostalgia Central. Retrieved 2007-11-03. 

External links[edit]