Obituary: Ken Dodd

His swept-up hair, protruding teeth and saying of lunatic bewilderment prepared Sir Ken Dodd one of Britain’s most recognisable entertainers.

He was one of the more popular craftsmen of his time, transcending the record planneds, crowding theatres and starring on TV.

An old-fashioned motley performer with his seeds in music hall, he supplemented a unique smash of surrealism to his act,

Even allegations of tax fraud failed to diminish his holding with his adoring public.

Kenneth Arthur Dodd was born on 8 November 1927 in the Liverpool suburb of Knotty Ash, the lad of a coal merchant.

His birthplace would frisk a primary its participation in his later stage show as he entwine surreal anecdotes around Knotty Ash and its inhabitants the Diddy parties, with their jam-pack butty anti-personnel mines and black pudding plantation.

As a child he registered an early expertise for comedian but without any believed to be establishing it a job. However one escapade went wrong when he tried journeying his bike with his eyes closed and sustained gashes to his opening that resulted in his distinctive toothy appearance.

Image caption His appearances on The Good Old Days wondered his music hall beginnings

Despite going a scholarship to elementary school, “hed left” at 14 and came himself a bit cart with which “hes been gone” round the outskirts of Liverpool, exchanging jackpots and pans.

As he used to say in later years: “If you can sell utensils and pans to homemakers on their washing period, you can sell anything, even jokes.”

But the stage pulled and, after moving off for a work on how to be a ventriloquist, he set out to entertain the public in regional guilds and dorms with a dummy given to him by his father.

He sufficed a long apprenticeship as an amateur musician before manufacturing his first professional expression as Professor Yaffle Chucklebutty, Operatic Tenor and Sausage Knotter, in Nottingham in 1954. “At least they didn’t boo me off, ” he afterwards recalled.

Little black notebooks

A year later he appeared in Blackpool, and by 1958 had gained top billing in the seaside used which has been the obliging – and sometimes cracking – of a multitude of mixture acts.

During the next decade he gained a steadily-increasing stature in the north music halls, and grew known to a wider public for his broadcasts and his records of popular songs, like ‘Happiness’.

But his introduction in the West End of London was deferred until 1965, when he transcended the invoice at the Palladium in an extraordinarily successful 42 -week range. In the same year, he surpassed the charts with ‘Tears’.

Image caption The Diddymen were a central part of his act

Ken Dodd was devoted to his part, and seldom, if ever, took a holiday.

He registered all his laughters – and the public reaction to them – in a series of little pitch-black notebooks, and rehearsed and re-rehearsed his every word and gesture.

Set down in publication, often of his information may seem platitude. It was the way he gave it across that counted.

Possibility of disgrace

Uttered by him, a utterance such as “Good Morning” grew charged with an offence extravagant insinuation, and – backed by relevant pantomime – would throw an audience into paroxysms of laughter.

Dodd’s catchphrases, most famously “How tickled I am! “, were repeated everywhere.

At a Liverpool theatre in 1974 he told gags at a rate of 10 a hour for more than three hours – a stunt that gained him a target in the Guinness Book of Records.

Image caption The last of the old-time duration music hall entertainers

Throughout the 1970 s and 80 s he was a house favourite on television and radio, and kept up a discipline planned of theatre appearances.

But in 1989, Ken Dodd fronted the possibility of humiliation, when he upheld trouble at Liverpool Crown Court on eight indicts of tax fraud encompassing a period of 15 years and involving PS825, 000.

The trial abounded with fibs of his oddity. He had claimed to live on PS3, 500 a year, while his personal rich ran into millions, and he did not take a holiday until “hes been” 51.

It likewise become apparent that he had 20 bank account in Jersey and the Isle of Man, and obligated regular ‘cash and carry’ flights to deposit coin in them which was not declared to the Inland Revenue.

Private man

He also had PS336, 000 hidden in cupboards, closets and under stairs.

The jury was swayed by Dodd’s defence counsel George Carman QC, who remarked: “Some auditors are comics but humorists are never accountants”. Dodd was acquitted, even though he faced a reported PS2m bill for law costs and taxation he had previously promised to pay.

He took up his busines again and later became beacon of his law suffering, quipping “I told the Inland Revenue I didn’t owe them a penny because I lived near the seaside.”

He had another season at the London Palladium in 1990, and was given a British Comedy Lifetime Achievement Award and elected Top Variety Performer in 1993.

Image caption He was still play-act four-hour registers in his 80 s

And the TV special, An Audience With Ken Dodd, supported a huge strike, showcasing Dodd’s comic splendor for a younger audience.

He was still touring in his ninth decade with his demoes sometimes previous into the early hours of the morning. “Some of you are optimists, ” he’d tell his audience at the start of a display, “you’ve booked your taxis for half-past 12 But they say the breakfast here is good.”

Behind the banter Ken Dodd was a private lover, and a serious student of comic theory.

As he formerly made it: “Freud “re just saying that” laughter is the outward face of the psyche. But Freud never had to play the Glasgow Empire.”

He repudiated recommendations that many of his gags, particularly those revolving around blondes, were sexist. ” I think in every comic there is a streak of rebellion. We don’t take kindly to beings telling us what we should say. But I don’t like obscenity and pornography – the great comedians never did anything like that, they didn’t need to.”

Dodd married his partner of 40 years, Anne Jones, two days before he died. Although the pair had a interminable booking, Jones – a singer, pianist and flautist – was the backing act on his tour.

In December 2016, to the delight of his forces of love, it was announced that Doddy was to be awarded a knighthood in the New Year Honours.

Ken Dodd was the UK’s last great music hall entertainer, from an age when jesters trudged from venue to venue plying their trade of laughter.

“My job, ” he formerly told the Daily Telegraph, ” isn’t to educate people or even do politics, I’ve got to obligate parties feel good, I want to represent them happy.”

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