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End of an era as Ken Dodd the ultimate old trouper dies aged 90

By: stagedoorscribbler - March 12, 2018

Ken Dodd with ever-present props, his tickling sticks

Tributes have been pouring in for comedy legend Sir Ken Dodd who has died aged 90. His death marks the end of an era.

Doddy, as he was universally known, was the last of a generation  of comedians who cut their teeth (and what teeth they were) during the dying days of music hall.

The son of a coal merchant, Ken’s  first taste of the world go work was as a door to door pots and pans salesman. His natural gift for  doorstep patter and repartee led naturally to showbusiness and his career on variety bills took off after an appearance on the 1950s BBC radio show Workers' Playtime.

Working alongside old troupers from the music hall era and up-and-coming talents who embraced the relatively new world of TV comedy, Ken Dodd remained a unique performer. His quick-fire wit, mad-cap imagination and natural charm would stand him in good stead for the next seven decades. He became famed for his marathon theatre shows - some lasting  more than four hours.

He was famously well-read, highly intelligent and multi-talented. He even appeared in Shakespeare plays. But touring as a stand-up comedian was his life and something he continued doing until his final performance in his home city of Liverpool on 28th December last year. With his tickling sticks, Diddymen and huge arsenal of jokes, he was the ultimate family entertainer.

A 2018 tour was fully booked but the dates had to be cancelled when he was admitted to hospital with a severe chest infection. After six weeks he was allowed home to the house in the Liverpool suburb of Knotty Ash where he had been born in 1927. Doddy had never lived anywhere else and it was here, just two days before his death, that he married Anne, his partner of 40 years. His life was as unusual as it was well-lived and his career, a long-running fairytale performance with the final curtain coming down satisfyingly late.