Dinnerladies was Victoria Wood’s first TV sitcom and 18 years on from its final episode, the series remains a comedy classic.
Written by and starring Wood, the incredible cast included Julie Walters, Thelma Barlow, Andrew Dunn, Celia Imrie, Maxine Peake, Shobna Gulati and Anne Reid.
It features never before seen footage of the making of Dinnerladies, the fluffs, the gaffs and the laughs, as we see Victoria Wood and the rest of the Dinnerladies cast record the show live in front of a studio audience. Not only that, this series includes an archive interview with Victoria Wood herself as she explains the processes she went through to make this iconic sitcom.
Plus, there are contributions from co-stars and fans alike, such as Julie Walters, Maxine Peake, Duncan Preston, Jim Moir and Jo Brand as they describe why Dinnerladies deserves its place in sitcom history. As an extra special treat, four of the original cast members, Andrew Dunn, Shobna Gulati, Anne Reid and Thelma Barlow meet up to chew the fat on what made making Dinnerladies such a delicious experience
Ahead of the new series, here are 10 surprising facts you probably never knew about the late great Victoria Wood.
1. She had a number one single (sort of…)
The Stonk, the Comic Relief single from Hale and Pace reached number one in 1991. But who recorded the B-Side to the track? It was Victoria Wood’s Smile Song – the only track to reach the top of the charts with a reference to “sex scenes with Ken Barlow”.
2. Unusual Desert Island Discs
The comedian’s appearance on Desert Island Discs was notable and moving discussion about her weight and troubled teenage years.
It also revealed a surprising taste for 70s American rock with selections including Randy Newman, Tom Waits Weather Report and the Doobie Brothers classic What A Fool Believes.
3. She struck up a friendship with Morrissey
The Smiths singer was a massive fan of Wood’s work and proposed to her via the music press. The Smiths’ track Rusholme Ruffians was inspired by the Wood song Fourteen Again and the pair were filmed together for Wood’s 2013 documentary A Nice Cup Of Tea.
4. She had a famous brother
Her old brother Chris Foote Wood is a politician, who as stood for Parliament eight times and the European Parliament six times.
5. A link with the Chuckle Brothers, Nookie Bear and Showaddywaddy
As a winner on the ATV talent show New Faces in 1974, her big break in showbusiness connects her with fellow New Faces alumni.
The impressive collection of British entertainers who got a breakthrough on the show includes Lenny Henry, Jim Davidson, Joe Pasquale, The Chuckle Brothers and Roger De Courcey with Nookie Bear.
6. The attention to detail she dedicated to Dinnerladies
Wood spent time working morning shifts at the James Halstead factory in Whitefield, Manchester as research for the show and even used a fully functioning catering toaster on set.
The cast and crew used to even serve toast to the studio audience while filming.
7. She was Danny Dyer's first crush
The EastEnders actor and Twitter geezer paid tribute to Wood after she died in 2016 in his own unique way.
"A world without Victoria Wood is a sad, sad thing. My first major crush. RIP, beautiful. 2016: the year of taking the greats."
8. She was a Coronation Street superfan
The comedian was a huge Corrie fanatic, so it’s no surprise that so many cast members in Dinnerladies would have a connection to Weatherfield.
From Thelma Barlow (Mavis Riley) and Anne Reid (Valerie Tatlock) to Sue Cleaver (Eileen Grimshaw) and Shobna Gulati (Sunita Parekh), at least 25 members of the cast have Corrie connections.
Dinnerladies Diaries premieres on Wednesday, March 14th at 8pm on Gold – BT TV channel 310.
BT TV customers can catch up on episodes they miss on the BT Player.
Gold is one of 60 premium channels available on BT TV along with other channels such as E!, Comedy Central, National Geographic and many more.