Written with approval of the help of her family and closest friends - including Julie Walters, Dawn French, Celia Imrie and many others - this is the definitive authorised biography of one of Britain's most talented and loved entertainers: Victoria Wood.
THE SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER
'I was born with a warped sense of humour and when I was carried home from being born it was Coronation Day and so I was called Victoria but you are not supposed to know who wrote this anyway it is about time I unleashed my pent-up emotions in a bitter comment on the state of our society but it's not quite me so I think I shall write a heart-warming story with laughter behind the tears and tears behind the laughter which means hysterics to you Philistines...'
From 'Pardon?' by Vicky Wood, Aged 14. Bury Grammar School (Girls) Magazine, 1967
In her passport Victoria Wood listed her occupation as 'entertainer' - and in stand-up and sketches, songs and sitcom, musicals and dramas, she became the greatest entertainer of the age. Those things that might have held her back - her lonely childhood, her crippling shyness and above all the disadvantage of being a woman in a male-run industry - she turned to her advantage to make extraordinary comedy about ordinary people living ordinary lives in ordinary bodies. She wasn't fond of the term, but Victoria Wood truly was a national treasure - and her loss is still keenly felt.
Victoria had plenty of stories still to tell when she died in 2016, and one of those was her own autobiography. 'I will do it one day,' she told the author and journalist Jasper Rees. 'It would be about my childhood, about my first few years in showbusiness, which were really interesting and would make a really nice story.'
That sadly never came to pass, so Victoria's estate has asked Jasper Rees, who interviewed her more than anyone else, to tell her extraordinary story in full. He has been granted complete and exclusive access to Victoria's rich archive of personal and professional material, and has conducted over 200 interviews with her family, friends and colleagues - among them Victoria's children, her sisters, her ex-husband Geoffrey Durham, Julie Walters, Celia Imrie, Dawn French, Anne Reid, Imelda Staunton and many more.
What emerges is a portrait of a true pioneer who spoke to her audience like no one before or since.
Let's Do It is a biography that feels as unflinching and true as it is entertaining and affectionate. Rees pulls off the trick of writing a brilliant tribute while also - somehow, almost - bringing Victoria Wood back to life in all her complicated glory. - Viv Groskop, GUARDIAN
An extraordinary, wonderful, rich biography of Victoria Wood - every bit as fascinating, challenging, and brilliant as she was. It is evident that Jasper Rees loves his subject and has been given unprecedented access to Wood's personal and professional archives. He explores Victoria's inspirations and creative processes, celebrating her genius, and never shying away from the tricky stuff. - Nina Stibbe
You can almost feel him riffling files, rewinding tapes, so carefully is it pieced together. Yet the reward is a 360-degree biography that transforms a beloved entertainer into a real human being, moving about a recognisable world: unhappy family home, provincial theatre, TV studio, celebrity's Highgate terrace, even, heartbreakingly, hospital room. It's a book for fans, of course, but it also documents 40 years of British entertainment, filtered through a life that stretched so much further than a few knackered bras. - SUNDAY TIMES CULTURE
Jasper Rees is an arts journalist and author who has written for the Daily Telegraph, Sunday Times and theartsdesk.com, which he co-founded. Previous books include I Found My Horn and Bred of Heaven, both of which were abridged for Radio 4's Book of the Week, and a biography of Florence Foster Jenkins. His most recent book was Let's Do It: The Authorised Biography of Victoria Wood, which was written with the full cooperation of her family, friends and colleagues including Julie Walters, Celia Imrie, Duncan Preston, Dawn French, Anne Reid and Michael Ball.