Born on the 19th May 1953 in Lancashire, the woman who would be Britain's first female stand-up comic and the biggest live draw in the country, began life as the daughter of a failed entertainer living in isolation near Ramsbottom. In a 1996 Southbank Show documentary she described her childhood: "We all lived in separate rooms in this big house on a windswept hill on the moors. And I had a room with a piano and television in it. And I either watched the television or played the piano or read or ate sweets, and I just did those four things, usually all at the same time. And I've based my career on at least three of them."
Wood decided to concentrate on stand-up comedy, an entirely male-dominated field at the time, although her trademark look of a tweed jacket and tie gave her an androgynous appearance. After two years of touring and building up audiences, the BBC came calling and her first big television success came with Victoria Wood As Seen On T.V. Surrounding herself with the same performers she would continue to use through dinnerladies, the sketch series was best known for a hilarious parody of soap operas, Acorn Antiques, which sent up the cheapness of the long-running Crossroads. Patricia Routledge (Keeping Up Appearances) as "Kitty" was also featured on the series.
Victoria was awarded the OBE in 1997.