GREATER Manchester comedian Victoria Wood has died aged 62 after a short battle with cancer, her publicist has confirmed.

The beloved Lancashire actress grew up in Bury and began her career in 1974 by winning the ITV talent show New Faces.

Her popularity grew in the 1980s as she established herself with the award-winning television series Victoria Wood As Seen On TV.

Wood quickly became one of Britain’s most popular stand-up comics, going on to star in the also award-winning sitcom Dinnerladies.

Her show Acorn Antiques was so popular that it spawned a musical, which Wood wrote and was directed by Trevor Nunn in 2005.

In 2006 she won two BAFTA awards for her one-off ITV drama, Housewife, 49.

The actress and singer was awarded a CBE in 2008.

Salford University’s Dan McLaughlin recalls his encounter with Victoria Wood

In more recent years Wood returned to her roots, writing and directing the musical That Day We Sang for the 2011 Manchester International Festival.

Victoria Wood’s publicist Neil Reading announced the death with this statement: “Victoria Wood has sadly passed away, after a short but brave battle with cancer.

“The multi Bafta award-winning writer, director, actor and comedian died peacefully at her north London home with family this morning. She was 62.

“The family ask for privacy at this very sad time.”

Tributes have been flooding in since the announcement.

Prime Minister David Cameron said: “Victoria Wood was a national treasure loved by millions. My thoughts are with her family.”

Screenwriter and comedian Caitlin Moran has spoken of the affect Victoria Wood had on her career: “Seeing Victoria Wood on TV – working class, bookish, silly, clever, doing stand-up, singing, acting – made me think “Girls can do this.””

Fellow comedian Ricky Gervais said: “RIP the brilliant Victoria Wood. So innovative, funny and down to earth. This has not been a good year.”

Gervais’s comment refers to the spate of deaths suffered by the British entertainment industry, including names such as Terry Wogan, Ronnie Corbett, Alan Rickman and David Bowie.

As with those deaths, the public have been filling Twitter with memories and tributes:

By Thom Whyte

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