Tommy Cannon declared bankrupt | A far cry from the once-lavish lifestyle © SolomanMcKenzie via CC BY-SA 3.0

Tommy Cannon declared bankrupt

A far cry from the once-lavish lifestyle

Tommy Cannon has been declared bankrupt.

The 78-year-old comedy star admitted he had been living ‘hand-to-mouth’ for a decade, but shrugged off the bankruptcy, filed in Birmingham this week, saying: ‘It’s embarrassing but just one of those things.’

In the 1980s, he and Bobby Ball attracted TV audiences of 20million, which afforded them a lavish lifestyle. They bought matching Rolls-Royces, beachfront homes in the Canary Islands, and cabin cruisers. Cannon even bought the Rochdale football club.

But after their  TV series was cancelled in 1992, they were faced with a tax bill of  £1.9million in today's money, for which they blamed their accountant. They cleared it – with Ball saying: ‘It wasn't our fault but we paid what we owed.’

However finances have continued to be a struggle, with Cannon telling The Sun today: 'I haven't worked since Christmas, it's all gone off a cliff.’

Their career has had its ups and down – and at the height of their fame Tommy (real name Tommy Derbyshire)  and Ball (Robert Harper) fell out so badly they only spoke on stage.

Ball had a reputation for womanising, drinking heavily and getting into fights, until he became a Christian in 1986 and put his wild days behind him. Cannon, who had left his wife of 30 years for Hazel, a dancer in one of their shows, followed suit eight years later.

 The pair, who continue to work live sporadically and in panto, made a brief TV comeback on I’m a Celebrity in 2005. Ball appears as Lee Mack’s dad in Not Going Out, while Cannon has been tipped as a contestant in the next series of Strictly Come Dancing.

Published: 19 May 2017

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