The British comedian Victoria Wood has died aged 62 after a brief fight with cancer, her publicist said Wednesday.
Wood achieved fame in the mid-1980s as an observational comic and writer, collaborating frequently with actors Julie Walters and Celia Imrie on a variety of woman-centric comedy sketches and dramas for television.
She’s perhaps best known for her BBC sitcom dinnerladies, a broadly traditional half-hour show from the late ’90s notable for featuring a largely working class, female cast of characters hailing from the north of England.
Wood exemplified a brand of comedy forged in England’s north, a type of broad, character-based comedy built on gentle satire and narrative rather than surrealism or snark. It was a tradition she was proud to be a part of. “You can’t deny that most of our best comics have come from the North”, she once said. “There’s something about the way people construct language and people’s attitude.”
Most Brits will fondly remember her seated at a piano, turning out a finely observed song in one of her television series. In a Guardian tribute in April 2015, comedian Ellie Taylor lauded to her precision as a writer:
“Whether she’s writing for herself or others, her use of language is exquisite. She creates such clear images within a matter of a few words that you can’t help but explode with laughter. It’s like a comedy punch.”