Friday 9 December 2016

Victoria Wood biography postponed over 'fat and unhappy' description

Published 06/10/2016 | 09:51

Victoria Wood died of cancer in April at the age of 62
Victoria Wood died of cancer in April at the age of 62

A new biography of Victoria Wood has been postponed following criticism of a description of her as "fat and unhappy" in her teenage years.

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The late actress and comedian's brother Chris Foote Wood said he had "given too much emphasis to Victoria's early problems with her weight" in the book.

He said: "I am revising the book to ensure that this aspect of her life is reduced and put in its proper context.

"I cannot and will not leave it out altogether as it is an essential part of Victoria's story. She wanted the public to know about her early problems with her weight, and she spoke of them at length in some very candid press interviews."

He had previously defended his choice to publish a "warts-and-all" biography and denied he was betraying her.

The book includes Foote Wood's memories and many from the star's colleagues, as well as extracts from a journal written by the pair's late father Stanley Wood.

In the private diary, he criticises her for being overweight, details her relationship with an early boyfriend and describes her as being "very glum and morose".

Much-loved TV personality Wood was fiercely private, and the news of her death at 62 in April from cancer came as a shock to most people as she kept her illness out of the public eye.

Foote Wood said: "I make no apology for writing this book. It tells Victoria's story, her full story, from unpromising beginnings to national treasure. It cannot be a 'betrayal' to tell the full, true story, especially as Vic herself has made public her early problems."

He said the rest of the Wood family was made aware of the biography, adding it was "untrue" to suggest otherwise.

"Back in May and June, I wrote to my two remaining sisters, and both of Vic's children, telling them of my intention to write a biography of Victoria, and asking them if they had any concerns to let me know," he said. "None of them responded. In other words, they left me to it."

He said Wood's children Grace and Henry Durham "have authorised another biography of their mother, written by a ghost writer, to be published next year".

He said: "I am a huge fan of Victoria. I admire her all the more for overcoming her early problems to build her hugely successful career. She also had many disappointments at the start of her career, and it was years before she finally made her breakthrough. She succeeded against the odds through her force of character and sheer determination."

Victoria Wood Comedy Genius - Her Life And Work was originally set for release in October but will now be on sale from November 25.

Foote Wood, who has also set up a crowdfunding appeal to raise £30,000 to build a statue of Wood in the town she grew up in - Bury in Greater Manchester - has agreed to donate all his royalties from the book to charities supported by his late sister.

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