Ken Dodd

Ken Dodd

Date of birth: 08-11-1927

Dodd started his career as a ventriloquist - and indeed still uses the Dicky Mint dummy in his act.

However, his success came through his exaggerated on-stage persona - the manic hairstyle, protruding teeth and, of course, trademark tickling stick - combined with a relentless stream of one-liners, peppered with nonsense words like 'tattifilarious', that can - and do - entertain audiences for hours.

He built his reputation as a live performer on the variety stage, and famously logs audience reactions to jokes every night, building up a picture of what plays well where.

His career was boosted with appearances on TV, often just guest roles, but his bizarre appearance would always stick in the mind. He also has a penchant for sickly ballads, as well as his signature tune Happiness, recording several albums of love songs and notching up 19 top 40 hits, including the 1965 chart-topper Tears.

Dodd became embroiled in a tax-dodging case in the Eighties, and was eventually cleared, but the case revealed much about Dodd's eccentric private life, too.

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© David A Ellis / Creative Commons 3.0

Ken Dodd in hospital with chest infection

Comic, 90, hit by flu

Sir Ken Dodd is in ­hospital with a severe chest infection.

The 90-year-old comedian fell ill with the flu last Friday and was reportedly taken to hospital by ambulance after struggling to breathe.

A spokesman for the veteran comedian told The Sun:  ‘He’s had a chest infection and is receiving treatment for that. He’s expected to make a recovery.

‘He went in for a check on Friday because with everything that has been going around and Ken’s age, it’s better to be safe than sorry. They are just keeping a close watch on him and making sure all is well.'

Sir Ken’s partner Anne, 76, is said to have been by his bedside all week.

Last year he received a knighthood from Prince William recognising more than six decades of comedy and charity work. He is a notorious workaholic who loves to be on stage, with shows often running up to five hours. He continues to gig two or three times a month.

Dodd’s show at the Hafren in Powys on Saturday has been postponed until March 2, but his next, at Parr Hall in Warrington on the 27th, is still scheduled to go ahead.

Last year he spoke of his ‘show must go on’ spirit, saying: ‘I’ve been on stage with pneumonia and a broken ankle, but you don’t feel a thing. You’re an entertainer. The magic takes over and you become Superman.'

The UK has been hit by a severe strain of Australian flu this winter, which for most people results in a week of illness. However, the virus has been linked to deaths and the elderly are particularly at risk.

Roy Chubby Brown has cancelled his gig in Radlett, Hertfordshire, tonight because of illness. The 72-year-old has  battled throat cancer.

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Published: 18 Jan 2018

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