Former Hartlepool theatre boss pays tribute to comic genius Sir Ken Dodd

He vowed to return to his comedy career after leaving the hospital saying'Once I've recovered myself I'll get back to doing the job which is the only job I've ever had. While I was in here I wrote some new jokes so it should be alright

It's absolutely unbelievable. With Ken gone, the lights have been turned out in the world of variety. His father then bought him a ventriloquist's dummy, and the young Dodd began putting on shows at a local orphanage.

Dodd was famous for his epic stand-up shows and his last performance in Belfast in 2004 was no different with audience members treated to a staggering five-hour set. In the 1960s he held the Guinness world record for the longest joke-telling session: 1,500 jokes in three-and-a-half hours.

'He asked Anne if she wanted to marry. To my mind, he was one of the last music hall greats. Beloved by many people in Britain and a great champion of his home city and comedy.

"We knew him very well". Today it's tears of sadness as well.

If the "number of catchphrases is a mark of a comedian's success", said a BBC profile in 2013, Dodd has "done well, with such trademark sayings as "how tickled I am" and "by jove, missus" and nonsense concoctions including "tattyfilarious" and "discomknockerated".

A low point for Dodd came in 1989, when he was charged with tax fraud.

"His popularity never really waned".

She said: 'He got the big send-off when he was alive at his 90th birthday party.

Fans had left flowers and tickling sticks in tribute outside his home, where his wife spoke to reporters.

Ken Dodd, the legendary comedy king, has died on March 11 in the Knotty Ash home where he was also born and got married just two days before his death.

Sir Ken was nearly married decades ago to Anita Boutin, but she died of a brain tumour in 1977, after spending 24 years of their lives together.

Dara O Briain said he was "so happy" he had had the chance to meet Sir Ken.

Ken Dodd first trod the boards at the old Queen's Theatre in October, 1954, and appeared at the Grand Theatre in November 2017 as part of the Sunday concerts.

Sir Ken, known to generations for his stage and screen work over a career spanning seven decades, lost his life after recently suffering with a serious chest infection, which had seen him hospitalised for six weeks. "Entertainer" by Wiltshire artist David Cobley.

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