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TRIBUTES TO A 'TRUE LEGEND' Victoria Wood starred 12 times in just one year at hall.

Byline: MIKE LOCKLEY Staff Reporter mike.lockley@trinitymirror.com

BIRMINGHAM'S Symphony Hall has issued a moving tribute to Victoria Wood, the comedienne who became a record-breaker at the venue.

Victoria, who died from cancer on Wednesday at the age of 62, performed no fewer than TWELVE times at the theatre in one year.

It became a virtual home from home for the honorary Brummie.

That was the most performances by any artist there until comedian Jimmy Carr went one better in 2010.

The Symphony Hall certainly had a special place in the former Birmingham University drama student's heart.

Following the tragic news, the Symphony Hall tweeted: "RIP Victoria Wood - a sad loss, keenly felt by all of us. We have fond memories of her doing 12 shows in one year here in the 90s, She was a true legend."

Frank Clarke, writing for sister paper The Birmingham Post, heaped praise on Victoria following a 2000 appearance at the venue.

"Clearly Ms Wood is at her sublime best when working a live audience, as in this charity concert in aid of Cancer Research Campaign's CRAB appeal," he wrote. "She even found time to entertain the capacity audience with several hilarious songs on the piano, including the familiar Let's Do It."

In 1993, The Independent's Tristan Davies commented on the stir caused by Victoria's latest visit to the Second City. He wrote: "They were selling Victoria Wood 'I'm Dead Common' T-shirts in the foyer.

"Wood has made the transition from housewife's choice to housewife superstar. And she can fill dead posh, dead big venues around the country with ease. At Birmingham Symphony Hall, they were arriving by the coachload to see that lovely lass from Lancaster on her latest live tour."

The star's bonds with Birmingham were always tight.

She got her big break while still studying at Birmingham University, winning TV talent show New Faces in 1974 at the city's ATV Centre - the year she graduated with a BA in drama.

But Victoria admitted to being far from a star student.

"I studied drama at Birmingham University and got the worst degree you can get, which is a pass degree," she said. "I was one of those people who say 'I haven't done any work' - and I hadn't."

The university posted: "We are so saddened to hear the sad news about Birmingham alumna Victoria Wood. Our thoughts and best wishes are with her family and friends."

Victoria Wood may not have been born or raised in Birmingham, but she was bestowed with a Brummie sense of humour. That's why the city adored her.

She told the Symphony Hall audience in 1993: "I now live in Hampstead and my MP is Glenda Jackson.

"Not impressed? The lollipop lady is Kiri Te Kanawa."

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Victoria Wood died on Wednesday, aged 62

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Publication:Sunday Mercury (Birmingham, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Apr 24, 2016
Words:469
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