The long awaited statue of Victoria Wood was unveiled this afternoon in Bury Unitarian Church Gardens.
Councillor Rishi Shori, as Master of Ceremonies, started proceedings by giving a speech about the famous comedian, actress, song writer and director.
Victoria Growing Up In Bury
Victoria went to Elton Country Primary, followed by Bury Grammar School For Girls, before heading off to Rochdale Theatre Workshop. However, it was Victoria’s time at Birmingham University that gave her the opportunity to step into the limelight.
Whilst at University, Victoria attended an audition for the show ‘New Faces’ in 1984. Very few acts were successful but Victoria was one of the chosen few. Even though Victoria didn’t make it through to the final, she was selected to join comedian Lenny Henry and singer-comedian Marti Caine to appear in The Summer Show in which she wore a bustle and duetted with the host. She went on to become the resident pianist for That’s Life, the BBC’s topical show presented by Esther Rantzen, for which she wrote songs riffing on current events.
Victoria progressed to even bigger and better things including ‘An Audience With Victoria Wood’, Dinner Ladies, Eric and Ernie and Acorn Antiques: The Musical! to name but a few. Her amazing work led to her receiving a CBE and a number of Baftas.
Victoria’s brother, Chris Foote Wood, gave a wonderful speech about his lovely sister. He told everyone how all of Victoria’s characters were based on real people. Chris told how Victoria once spoke to someone describing pregnant women as moody, big busted and irritable. Victoria’s response was “well I must have been pregnant for 20 years!”
Did you realise there was a special reminder of Victoria Wood in the toilets on Bury Market? Chris informed everyone that a permanent note is on the wall in the toilets “stop pouting, stop shouting, you know I pulled a muscle when I did that grouting!” Victoria’s humour was truly infectious.
Chris spoke of his sister so fondly, describing her as “Bury’s most famous daughter” and he said that the statue was only possible because of all of Victoria’s wonderful fans.
Unveiling The Statue
Ted Robbins, Victoria’s long-term friend, gave a lovely speech telling everyone how he used to do her warm up acts before she went on stage. On one occasion, his job was to warm up a particularly ‘cold’ audience and he resorted to showing his bottom. Victoria’s response to this was “these ladies have lived through two World Wars, they are not going to be affected by Ted Robbins bottom!”
Ted told everyone how Victoria had stood by him, backing him all the way in his career, and how she had become a life-long friend.
Ted unveiled the bronze statue of Victoria, which typically holds a microphone in one hand, and a bag tucked under the other arm, to a round of applause from the audience.
If you’d like to see the statue for yourself it is situated in Bury Unitarian Church Gardens, opposite the library. Whilst there, why not visit the Victoria Wood Exhibition at Bury Art Museum? The exhibition includes memorabilia, scripts and hand-made items to see, and best of all the exhibition is completely free!
Full details of the exhibition, including opening days and times, can be found HERE.
After attending the unveiling of the statue today, I felt to need to reminisce Victoria’s talents on You Tube. Here’s one for you… enjoy!