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Rant & Rave (16/12/12)


There are some events in life which are so awful that we have hormones, or something, to make us forget them. Childbirth, tax returns and long-haul travel would never be done more than once if our brains didn't immediately wipe them from our memories. Neither would buying a Christmas tree. Each year, what we think will happen is something like the scene in When Harry Met Sally, when it's snowy in New York and they are secretly falling in love. What really happens is racing between pop-up spruce farms on the sides of dual carriageways shouting "I'm not paying THAT", before dashing to a DIY store 10 minutes before closing time to hand over 55 quid for a wilting Nordman fir. And then the cat eats the needles and is sick on the presents. Bah humbug.


Some people were surprised to hear that the completely brilliant-in-every-way Victoria Wood has written a film for BBC1, to appear on 23 December, in which Wood, Julie Walters and Celia Imrie do not appear at any point. It's about Joyce Hatto, once called "the greatest living pianist almost no one has ever heard of", but whose albums turned out to contain other pianists' work, spliced together by her husband. The scandal emerged after Hatto's death, and Wood has spent three years investigating it. But fans of Wood shouldn't worry. Although the film sounds alarmingly different from her usual work, she describes it as just "the story of a marriage and of how... you get bashed about by life". It sounds just like her much-loved song "The Ballad of Freda and Barry", but with slightly more emphasis on the piano. It's going to be great.