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Sunday 20 Apr 2014

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Victoria Wood: Introduction and synopsis

Victoria Wood and Julie Walters

This Christmas, nine years after her last festive special, Victoria Wood returns to TV screens with Victoria Wood's Mid-Life Christmas, on 24 December at 9.00pm on BBC One.

Accompanying this on BBC One is Victoria Wood – What Larks!, an exclusive behind-the-scenes peek at the making of Mid-Life Christmas, on 30 December at 11.00pm.

In addition to this, BBC Two features a sparkling Christmas special in which Queen of Comedy Victoria Wood looks back at the key moments from her hugely successful television career, in Victoria Wood – Seen On TV, on 21 December at 8.30pm.

Victoria Wood's Mid-Life Christmas

This is the time of year when friends and family gather round the television to exchange the traditional greeting: "Don't bother, there's nothing on".

This Christmas, Bafta award-winning actress and comedienne Victoria Wood is back on TV with a 60-minute special for BBC One, featuring sketches, personal injury commercials, unlikely sporting events and a dance number that brings together the killer combo of midriff bulge and Busby Berkeley as well as the further adventures of soap star Bo Beaumont – played by long-term collaborator Julie Walters.

According to Victoria, "Christmas can be a difficult time for those struggling with that bonnet-free wasteland between the last Lark Rise and the next Cranford". So, Victoria presents Lark Pies to Cranchesterford, the story of young Araminty as she leaves her rural hamlet for a job in the Post and Potato Office.

Victoria Wood's Mid-Life Christmas stars Victoria Wood, with special guests Anton du Beke, Delia Smith, Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean and Reece Shearsmith, Steve Elias stars as Barry and Jennie Dale as Freda.

Victoria Wood – What Larks!

Victoria herself is viewers' guide as she delves into the making of her Mid-Life Christmas. Featuring exclusive behind-the-scenes footage and interviews, this is a Christmas bonus for everyone who loved Lark Pies to Cranchesterford and the Mid-Life Olympics.

Victoria also reveals the secrets backstage at the most lavish ever performance of perhaps her best known song – The Ballad Of Barry And Freda.

Filmed with a camera that wasn't so much hidden, as plonked down and left running, What Larks! reveals working practices and conditions that can only be described as not bad at all.

In one shocking scene, well known actresses are forced to queue for their own lunch and have to choose from only four main courses and a salad bar.

Victoria Wood – What Larks! is a story that had to be told. It's not comfortable to watch, especially if you're in it, but it's quite funny.

Victoria Wood – Seen On TV

"What I do know is that Vic is the Queen, actually. She is the No. 1 without a doubt. I bow, I bow." Dawn French.

In this sparkling Christmas special, Queen of Comedy Victoria Wood looks back at the key moments from her hugely successful television career.

Celebrating Victoria's finest work, the show features sketches, stand-up, characters and songs from her incredible repertoire – from the brilliant Acorn Antiques, the spot-on parody of Coronation Street, famous sketches such as Two Soups and Swim The Channel and the musical genius of Let's Do It.

There are also featured extracts from As Seen On TV, Wood And Walters, Dinnerladies, Housewife, 49 and her numerous Christmas specials as well as her triumphant 15-night sell-out stand-up show at London's Royal Albert Hall.

This one-off festive event brings back the best of classic Victoria Wood to TV screens and reveals the background to some of the nation's best-loved television. In a candid and revealing interview, Victoria discusses the inspiration behind classic sketches such as Two Soups and Acorn Antiques; her thoughts on fame; how she emerged from shy pub-singer to the country's most successful stand-up comedian, selling out 15 nights at the Royal Albert Hall; how she was left stranded in the channel during the filming of one of her most famous sketches; her ambitions for the future; and what happened when she was filming in a pod on the London Eye with a former James Bond.

There are exclusive interviews with her cast of regulars, including Julie Walters, Celia Imrie and Duncan Preston, along with more recent collaborators such as Sir Roger Moore and celebrity fans including Dawn French and Johnny Vegas will be a real treat for the viewer and will provide a unique insight into some of the best British TV of our time.

Interviewees featured include: Richard E Grant; Duncan Preston; Susie Blake; Julie Walters; Celia Imrie; Anne Reid; Geoff Posner; Jo Brand; Dawn French; Richard Curtis; Thelma Barlow; Sir Roger Moore; Arlene Phillips; Andrew Dunn; Clive James; Johnny Vegas; Reece Shearsmith; David Leland; Alan Cumming; Bobby Crush; Kim Woodburn; Clarissa Dickson Wright; Michael Ball; Alan Titchmarsh; and Jimmy Tarbuck.

CS

Information for viewers

More content about Victoria Wood's Mid-life Christmas will be published, as transmission approaches, on this page:
www.bbc.co.uk/tv/comingup/victoriawoodsmidlifechristmas

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