Victoria Wood

Absolutely gutted. No, we can't afford to lose her. I remember going on course about TV sitcom writing a few years back, with lots of sharp young things, and getting very condescending looks when I said I rated dinnerladies.  And tonight I got out the old VHS tape of "An audience with Victoria Wood" just to listen to the finale again - the utterly stunning Ballad of Barry and Freda. Yes, you. Let's do it - or Beat me on the bottom with a Woman's Weekly. Yes, that one. Mounting rhythm and fabulous internal rhymes - they don't make 'em like that any more, but then they never did. The show was attended by all kinds of celebrities, and the camera keeps sweeping through the audience, picking out big names, helplessly laughing, obviously recognising that they ware watching and listening to someone very, very special. She was always unique, a real national treasure.