Victoria Wood, 58, has written and starred in plays, films, television shows and revues. Her many awards include eight Baftas. She was awarded an OBE in 1997 and a CBE in 2008.
Public school or state school? University or straight into work?
I went to a state primary school where we were seated according to how well we had done in the exams – I was in the top row. But one couldn’t help noticing that the children in the lower rows were not less clever, they were from poorer homes. My secondary school was a direct grant girls’ grammar and that was a very long seven years. Our sixth-form uniform was a pale blue Courtelle jumper and a grey skirt, and the jumpers got bigger every time they were washed, so by the time you were doing your A-levels you were in a sort of aqua bathing tent. I was always in trouble and spent most of my time being sent out. I studied drama at Birmingham university and got the worst degree you can get, which is a pass degree. I was one of those people who say, “I haven’t done any work” – and I hadn’t.
Who was or still is your mentor?
I have never had one. I’d quite like one.
How physically fit are you?
About two inches above average. I’m from the aerobics generation and I’m sad that step has gone out of fashion. I used to go to a massive step class off the Edgware Road that was like a Nuremberg rally. I exercise most days and I walk up escalators on the Underground.
Ambition or talent: which matters more to success?
Ambition every time. You only need to turn on the television to see huge numbers of very ambitious and totally untalented people.
Have you ever taken an IQ test?
No, because I think I would be depressed by the result. I think it would be like doing those puzzles which come in crackers. Which is why I prefer to get the tape measure or the magnifying glass.
How politically committed are you?
I tut rather than act.
Do you consider your carbon footprint?
I do think about it, but I still fly, which probably cancels out my composting.
Do you have more than one home?
You can only have one home.
What would you like to own that you don’t currently possess?
I’d like another bottle opener.
What’s your biggest extravagance?
In what place are you happiest?
Filming, on location.
What ambitions do you still have?
To write a funny film.
What drives you on?
I need the adrenalin of work and I want to learn to do my job better.
What is the greatest achievement of your life so far?
To have earned a living from comedy.
What has been your greatest disappointment?
As a pianist – I feel my left hand has let me down.
If your 20-year-old self could see you now, what would she think?
That I looked very old.
If you lost everything tomorrow, what would you do?
Go on Cash in the Celebrity Attic.
Do you believe in assisted suicide?
I think it should be available for those who request it and available in this country. For assisted career suicide, see previous question.
Do you believe in an afterlife?
No. I wish I did. It would take the pressure off this one a bit.
If you had to rate your satisfaction with your life so far, out of 10, what would you score?
Nine. I think my life has been utterly satisfactory; my own behaviour within it has been rather inadequate.
Victoria Wood is an ambassador for the National Art Pass, which gives free and discounted access to art across the UK.
Her new play, ‘That Day We Sang’, opens at the Manchester Opera House on July 6.
Get alerts on Victoria Wood when a new story is published