AS the statue of her in Library Gardens attests, Bury remains incredibly proud of comedian and actress Victoria Wood.

But as a new biography of the much-missed star reveals, Victoria’s relationship with her hometown was a complicated one, influenced by an unhappy childhood and isolated upbringing in an old children’s home overlooking bleak moorland.

“By the time she was born Victoria had three older siblings and I think her parents were a bit exhausted by bringing up children,” said author and journalist Jasper Rees, who was asked by her family to tell her story in Let’s Do It: The Authorised Biography of Victoria Wood.

“They moved to Birtle Edge House when she was five and it was incredibly isolated and no one ever went there. Her mother was a bit of a sociopath and didn’t want neighbours so Victoria had a very isolated childhood.

“By the time she went to Bury Grammar School aged 11 her mother had resumed her education and she had even less attention. Victoria pretty much brought herself up with a TV, a piano and books.”

Jasper was granted complete access to Victoria’s rich archive of personal and professional material, and conducted over 200 interviews with her family, friends and colleagues - among them Victoria’s children, her sisters, ex-husband Geoffrey Durham, Julie Walters, Celia Imrie, Dawn French, Anne Reid and Imelda Staunton.

“She always knew from a young age she wanted to be famous,” said Jasper. “She was good at entertaining her family and in her early years at Bury Grammar she was good at writing

“She was an observer who was never one of the popular girls but in later years she gave thanks to that because it enable her to observe people.

“She told me once there was a reason why comedians were all weird and oddballs and it was because they weren’t popular at school.

“I think she would play this zany character in order to get noticed and that was the split between the public Victoria we know who could go on stage and be this great comedian and the private, very shy person who was very unlike that.”

Much of Victoria’s humour was grounded in everyday life and referenced activities, attitudes and products which exemplified Britain. She was noted for her observational skills and satirising aspects of social class.

“By the time she got to the sixth form she was very good as the school entertainer,” said Jasper. “She wrote plays and had become a bit of a star and wanted to get away from Birtle Edge House. Victoria didn’t have a warm and cosy relationship in her memory with Bury but she was never disparaging about it.

“There were a lot of dim Lancashire girls in her sketches but they were dim girls from anywhere and she was always happy to take the mick out of Yorkshire or Southerners too. Jenni Murray once accused her of being a Southerner on Woman’s Hour and she really bit back!

“She loved Manchester and the last great moment in her career was when her musical That Day We Sang was performed at the Manchester International Festival in 2011. It was a love letter to Manchester and she said she always carried the North with her.”

Victoria was diagnosed with terminal cancer in late 2015, but kept her illness private. She died aged 62 in April 2016.

“It’s extraordinary how many people say they still miss her,” added Jasper. “The thing about her work is that it is timeless and doesn’t date.

“It ranges so broadly from drama to sketches to sitcom to musicals and stand-up comedy where I think she was probably at her very greatest. There’s so much of her still to be consumed and she’s never really been replaced because there will probably never be anyone like her.”

The biography is out now, published by Orion.