Lowestoft memories of legendary comic Sir Ken Dodd
- Credit: EDP pics © 2006
Memories of comedian Ken Dodd have been shared by people in Lowestoft following his death.
The legendary comic, renowned for his mammoth shows that would run well past midnight, his Diddy Men and the tickling stick, performed at Lowestoft's Marina Theatre throughout his working life.
He died yesterday aged 90 in the home he was born in at Knotty Ash, Liverpool.
Martin Halliday, former chief executive of the Marina Theatre, said: 'The people of Lowestoft owe Ken a huge debt. Without him they wouldn't have a theatre there today as he gave me the advice and support needed to take the theatre from the local authority.
'We used to call him the king of British comedy. Someone who can hold an audience and to have a career that spans 60 or 70 years is just an unbelievable feat.'
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He added: 'There was never anyone comparable to Ken Dodd, while he was alive or ever again.'
Chrissie Allen, of Pakefield, interviewed the comedian when he appeared at the Marina in 2014 for Blyth Valley Community Radio, which closed in 2016.
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She said: 'He was just the most normal and most lovely person. He went on and on with the interview, despite people knocking on the door saying they were ready for the soundcheck.
'I did ask him if he would be a patron of the radio and he said 'will it cost me anything?', to which I said of course not!'
She added: 'When the radio closed I wrote to him thanking him for being a patron and he wrote back and said he remembered me and was sad that the station was closing.
'It was one of the interviews I enjoyed the most, it has always stuck in my mind because he was just so lovely and normal.'
Some of his jokes about the town included; 'Most towns I visit have been twinned with somewhere nice. Lowestoft hasn't been twinned, it has a suicide pact with Grimsby,' and 'I hear that there are quite a few old people's homes in Lowestoft. *pause* They'll all be empty tonight!'
Sir Ken also actively supported the town's sport and theatres, firstly by backing Lowestoft Town before their FA Vase final appearance at Wembley and 2008, before backing the call to save the Marina back in 2010.
In the programme ahead of the final, Sir Ken was said to have been 'tickled' that the Trawlerboys had reached the final, and wished them 'all the tattiveralius luck' before their 2-1 defeat to Kirkham Wesham.
Backing the campaign to keep the Marina open, he told the Journal: 'It must be kept as a working Theatre...within the entertainment industry the Marina Theatre is regarded as one of the finest and best-run theatres in the country. Long may it continue and it does so with my full support.'
Chris Ure, publicity organiser for the Southwold Arts Festival, said: 'I was a big Ken Dodd fan. He was the last of the so called 'front cloth comics, like Max Miller who could stand on the stage on his own and hold the audience in the palm of his hand.'