Wood's 'fury' at BBC

Comic lost her 'promised' Xmas Day slot

Victoria Wood is said to be ‘furious’ that the BBC has bumped her sketch comedy comeback from the Christmas Day ratings.

The Daily Telegraph claims that the 56-year-old comic was promised a prime-time slot on December 25 for her first sketch show in nine years.

But instead Victoria Wood’s Midlife Christmas – which co-starts Julie Walters as well as a raft of guests stars from Delia Smith to Torvill and Dean – will be going out on Christmas Eve.

The prime entertainment slots of Christmas Day, after EastEnders, have instead been given to The Royale Family and Gavin & Stacey.

‘Victoria is furious with the BBC about this,’ a source is quoted as saying. ‘She was promised a prime Christmas Day slot, and that promise has been broken by the BBC.’

Wood is also understood to be unhappy that BBC changed the final edit without consulting her.

The source added: ‘Everyone understands that broadcasters have opinions on programmes and may wish to make edits, but not to talk to an artist who has a long track record of very successful shows at the BBC is strange, to say the least.’

However, the BBC said: ‘Any final edits made to programmes are done so in agreement with the production teams. A face-to-face conversation was had between Victoria and the most senior executive on the production of the programme and subsequently with her producer.’

Wood’s 2000 Christmas special, Victoria Wood With All the Trimmings, was given pride of place BBC One’s Christmas Day schedules that year. At the time she said it was a ‘very strange feeling,’ to get the high-profile slot adding: ‘But it’s got to be someone, hasn’t it?’

This year’s programme features spoofs on Strictly Come Dancin, The Apprentice and a period drama called Lark Pies to Cranchesterford.

This week, BBC Two celebrated Wood’s 25-year career with an evening of programmes, including a new documentary.

Published: 23 Dec 2009

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