Although most of Victoria Wood's work since 1985 had been for the BBC - including her sketch series As Seen on TV and the sitcom dinnerladies - she fell out with the corporation in 2009 when her seasonal specal, All the Trimmings, commissioned for Christmas Day, was dumped in a lesser slot without consultation.
Possibly because of this, only ITV was able to gain access to the writer-comedian's closest colleagues - including Julie Walters, Duncan Preston and Celia Imrie - for Let's Do It: A Tribute to Victoria Wood. There was also a suspicion that, in relation, the BBC might have been mean about releasing clips: there was so little material from dinnerladies and As Seen on TV[/x] that the opening titles had to be used as illustration.
Despite smart use of DVDs of stage shows and clps from a 1996 South Bank Show, the talking heads between the extracts adopted the now standard TV obit-show tone of rave about the person in the grave. James Corden explained that "she just made a lot of people laugh". Sir Lenny Henry averred that "she was just brilliant", while Jim Broadbent siad: "You just think, God, what a special person!'"
Attention was rightly paid to Wood's epic comic song, The Ballard of Barry and Freda. But, rather than reference to its double internal rhymes or climactic triple rhymes or the comic effect of domestic detail (lagging, grouting, flameproof nightie), we got a string of celebs calling the song "brilliant" and David Threlfall[/o] declaring: "Is there no end to this woman's talent?" Well, sadly, Dave, yes, there was, which is why an ITV crew is in your dressing room.Remote Controller, Private Eye, 27th May 2016
For those fans of Victoria Wood watching at home, we couldn't have asked for a better or more touching tribute.Megan Davies, Digital Spy, 16th May 2016
Comedy fans were left reaching for the tissues as they laughed and cried their way through a TV tribute to Victoria Wood.Beth Allcock, The Sun, 16th May 2016
The secret to Victoria Wood's popularity was that her humour allowed her to be "inoffensive and yet quite naughty." There may be comedians who were sharper or funnier, but they couldn't claim the huge affection Victoria Wood had. She was loved by so many because she'd never resort to shocks, sex or scandal to grab attention, finding the right tone by being a tiny bit "naughty" but never cruel.
Julie Walters, Barry Cryer, Celia Imrie, Alison Steadman, Michael Ball and others offer funny anecdotes and warm memories of her and if you begin to feel it's perhaps getting too sweet and sad, clips of Victoria Wood elbow their way in, being a little bit "naughty" to correct the balance. You can't be melancholy when she pops up on screen to discuss ageing women visiting the doctor, some with pelvic floors dangling and another holding her cervix in a margarine tub.
We also learn of Wood's Lancashire childhood and how she saw Joyce Grenfell's act as a girl, and became fascinated with the image of a lone woman on a stage who could make everyone laugh.Julie McDowall, The National, 14th May 2016