Author Adam Nicolson takes an intimate look at the 17th century's diarists and letter writers and how they produced the first great age of self-depiction.
Runtime: 60 minutes
The Century That Wrote Itself - Victoria Wood - Netflix
Victoria Wood, (19 May 1953 – 20 April 2016) was an English comedian, actress, singer and songwriter, screenwriter, producer and director. Wood wrote and starred in dozens of sketches, plays, musicals, films and sitcoms over several decades, and her live comedy act was interspersed with her own compositions, which she performed on the piano. Much of her humour was grounded in everyday life and included references to quintessentially “British” activities, attitudes and products. She was noted for her skills in observing culture and in satirising social classes. Wood started her career in 1974 by appearing on the ATV talent show New Faces. She established herself as a comedy star in the 1980s, winning a BAFTA TV Award in 1986 for the sketch series Victoria Wood as Seen on TV (1985–87), and became one of Britain's most popular stand-up comics, winning a second BAFTA for An Audience with Victoria Wood (1988). In the 1990s she wrote and co-starred in the television film Pat and Margaret (1994) and the sitcom Dinnerladies (1998–2000). She won two more BAFTA TV Awards, including Best Actress, for her 2006 ITV1 television film, Housewife, 49. Her frequent long-term collaborators included Julie Walters, Celia Imrie, Duncan Preston, and Anne Reid. In 2006, Wood came tenth in ITV's poll of the British public's 50 Greatest TV Stars.
The Century That Wrote Itself - 1980–88 - Netflix
The success of the television version of Talent led to Wood writing the follow-up, Nearly a Happy Ending. Shortly afterwards she wrote a third play for Granada, Happy Since I Met You, again with Walters alongside Duncan Preston as the male lead. In 1980, she wrote and starred in the stage play Good Fun. Recognising her talent, Eckersley offered Wood a sketch show, although she was unsure of the project; she only agreed to go ahead if Walters received equal billing. Eckersley came up with an obvious title - Wood and Walters, and the pilot episode was recorded. It led to a full series, featuring Duncan Preston and a supporting cast. In the period between the completion of the pilot and the shooting of the series, Eckersley died. Wood credited him with giving her her first big break, and felt that Wood and Walters suffered due to his death. She was not impressed by Brian Armstrong, his fill-in, and was of the opinion that he hired unsuitable supporting actors. Wood appeared as a presenter in Yorkshire Television's 1984 schools television programme for hearing-impaired children, Insight, in a remake of the series originally presented by Derek Griffiths. In 1982 and 1983 she appeared as a panellist on BBC Radio 4's Just a Minute. In October 1983 Wood performed her first solo stand up show, Lucky Bag in a five-week run at the King's Head Theatre in Islington. The show transferred to the Ambassadors Theatre for a twelve night run in February 1984. Lucky Bag went on a short UK tour in November and December 1984 and was also released as a live album recorded at the Edinburgh Festival in 1983. Wood left Granada in 1984 for the BBC, who promised her more creative control over projects. Later that year, her sketch show Victoria Wood as Seen on TV went into production. Wood chose the actors: her friend Julie Walters once again starred, as did Duncan Preston. Wood's friend Celia Imrie and Susie Blake and Patricia Routledge were in the cast. As Seen on TV had the Acorn Antiques sketch, a parody of a low-budget soap opera, Crossroads, and rumoured to be named after an antiques shop in her birthplace. Acorn Antiques is remembered for characters such as “Mrs Overall” (played by Walters), the deliberately bad camera angles and wobbling sets, and Celia Imrie's sarcastic tone as “Miss Babs”. Wood's most popular comic song, “The Ballad of Barry and Freda (Let's Do It)”, originated in this show. It tells the story of Freda (a woman eager for sex) and Barry (an introverted man terrified of sex), and makes clever use of allusions to a multitude of risqué activities while avoiding all taboo words. A second series of Victoria Wood as Seen on TV was made in 1986, followed by a one-off 'special' in 1987. In October 1987 Wood went on the road with her one-woman show. The tour included a sell out run at the London Palladium and had a second leg in April 1988. The end of 1988 saw the release of her second live performance Victoria Wood Live recorded at the Brighton Dome. In 1988 she appeared in the BAFTA-winning An Audience with Victoria Wood for ITV. At the time of recording the show she was six months pregnant.
The Century That Wrote Itself - References - Netflix