Victoria Wood hailed as 'brightest talent of generation' after death at 62


The older brother of comedian Victoria Wood has said her death "has robbed us of one of the brightest talents of our generation".

The actress died at home with her family at the age of 62 after a short battle with cancer.

Victoria Wood
Victoria Wood's family paid tribute (Steve Parsons/PA)

Chris Foote Wood, 75, said his youngest sister's death came as a great shock.

In a statement, he said: "But more than that I feel that Victoria's death has robbed us of one of the brightest talents of our generation.

"It wasn't just that Victoria was hugely talented in so many different fields, she was also outstanding in her tremendous, single-minded drive and determination to pursue her chosen career. Success did not come easily to Victoria, and it was only after years of struggle that she achieved her well-deserved national acclaim.

"I am hugely proud of what my sister has done so successfully in different fields of entertainment. It has been a privilege to have her as a sister, and particularly to have been able to observe at first hand how she developed her career from the earliest beginnings.

Victoria Wood
Victoria is survived by her children Henry and Grace, by ex-husband Geoffrey Durham (Steve Parsons/PA)

"Victoria's two children, my niece Grace and nephew Henry (Durham) will be absolutely devastated to lose their mother at such a relatively young age.

"Another reason I admire Victoria is that she was determined from the start to give her two children as normal an upbringing as possible and to shield them from unwanted media attention.

"In this she succeeded superbly, aided in every way by her then husband Geoffrey Durham who has continued his close support for their children after he and Victoria divorced in 2002."

Wood's publicist, Neil Reading, confirmed the news, saying: "Victoria Wood has sadly passed away, after a short but brave battle with cancer.

Victoria Wood
Victoria Wood and friend Emma Thompson in 1988 (PA)

"The multi Bafta award-winning writer, director, actor and comedian died peacefully at her north London home with family this morning. She was 62.

"The family ask for privacy at this very sad time."

Wood, who was born in Prestwich, Lancashire, was well known for her comedy series Victoria Wood: As Seen On TV, as well as her role in sitcom Dinnerladies and her TV special Victoria Wood With All The Trimmings.

She was a frequent collaborator with fellow actress Julie Walters. The pair first appeared on stage together in 1978 in a London production of In At The Death and their celebrated comedy Wood And Walters followed in 1981.

Victoria Wood
Victoria Wood worked closely with friend and collaborator Julie Walters (Ian West/PA)

They most recently appeared together in December 2009 in Victoria Wood's Mid Life Christmas, which featured sketches including Mid Life Olympics 2009 and period drama spoof Lark Pies to Cranchesterford.

In 2006, she won two Bafta awards for acting and writing for her drama Housewife, 49, an adaptation of the diaries of Nella Last.

Wood, who got her showbusiness break as a winner on New Faces, won two other Baftas earlier in her career, both for best light entertainment performance.

Victoria Wood
Victoria Wood created the hit sitcom Dinnerladies (BBC/PA)

The first was for Victoria Wood: As Seen On TV in 1986 and An Audience With Victoria Wood in 1989.

Victoria Wood As Seen On TV also won the Bafta for best light entertainment programme in 1986, 1987 and 1988, while An Audience With Victoria Wood won the same award in 1989.

She received a special Bafta tribute award in 2005.

Victoria Wood
She collaborated with Julie again on Acorn Antiques (BBC/PA)

In 1997, she was made an OBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours and was then made a CBE in 2008.

Wood was also showered with accolades for her live comedy as well as her TV work, and her tours broke records.