Monday, September 27, 2010

Victoria Wood on the BBC

In The Guardian, Guild member Victoria Wood tells Decca Aitkenhead why she doesn't feel valued or trusted by the BBC.
Surrounded by tables of noisy Soho media types, Wood gazes into her lap, and when a waiter clears away her breakfast she shrinks even further into herself, jumpy with self-effacement. There she sits, the most celebrated person in the room by a million miles, looking extraordinarily vulnerable.

Half an hour later, the same woman is relating her indignation at BBC executives who try to tell her how to do her job. "And you think, well that's fine, but what's your qualification for telling me what's funny? Please don't tell me what's funny, cos I know what's funny. And you probably don't. That's why I'm on television and you're not."
She continues: .
"I just find the layers of people you have to deal with tiresome. And you think, 'Well, fine, you make it then, I won't make it at all. I'll go home and put the washing on, fine.' You used to be trusted and now I feel like I'm not trusted, and I don't like it. Not valued, not needed on voyage – that's what it makes you feel like. I'm not trying to pull a big huff. It's not a celebrity huff. It's a working person's huff, and I think it's a justified huff, and it's on behalf of all of us who feel miffed and sidelined and overly interfered with."


  1. If Victoria Wood doesn't feel valued for her incredible body of work, what hope the rest of us?

    I'm sure no one ever means to be rude. But as television production grows more and more impersonal, with more suits than Burtons, people can not only forget programmes are made by a team, but also in the beginning was the word.

    I hope the BBC has apologised to Victoria Wood. I also hope everyone hugs a writer today.

  2. I'd certainly like a hug.

    In case anyone reading this happens to be in the vicinity.

  3. Anonymous5:10 pm

    If 'they' know what is funny why is that so many so called comedies sink like lead balloons?
    Victoria Wood's breadth of comedy work is to be treasured.
    TV seems to be the only industry where the decision makers have had no experience on the 'shop floor'.

  4. I agree that Victoria Wood's back catalogue is something that should earn some respect. However, I also think that BBC commissions should not be handed out on that basis. You are only as good as your last script and the truth is that VW's Christmas Special last year was not up to her usual standard. I applaud the scheduler who recognised that and didn't give her an automatic prime time slot. Although she still went out on Xmas Eve - hardly an insult.

    If British TV writing is to avoid becoming moribund and hackneyed then it needs to be a meritocracy, not a monarchy. That will only lead to a scheduled stuffed with lazy, unimaginative programmes. We're perilously close to that as it is.


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