Ken Dodd

Ken Dodd

Date of birth: 08-11-1927
Date of death: 11-03-2018

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/CC BY-SA 3.0

Leeds venue honours Ken Dodd

'The War of the Roses is well and truly over!'

The City Varieties Music Hall in Leeds is to rename its auditorium in honour of Sir Ken Dodd.

The veteran comedian – who died in 2018 at the age of 90 – played there several times between 1953 to 1983.

His widow, Lady Dodd, pictured with her late husband, above, said: ‘If he'd known then that in years to come the city of Leeds would honour him by naming this glorious auditorium after him, he'd never have believed it. A man from Lancashire being honoured in Yorkshire - the War of the Roses is well and truly over!’

To mark the renaming, the venue will also be  the first to screen the documentary The Real Ken Dodd: The Man I Love – on June 9

 Narrated by Miriam Margolyes, the movie features Lee Mack, Harry Hill, Johnny Vegas, Paul O’Grady, Tim Vine, Les Dennis, and more – and true to Dodd’s reputation for long shows, runs for three hours. 

And proceeds from he film will help fund the to build The Sir Ken Dodd Happiness Centre,  a £15 million national comedy museum planned for the Royal Court Theatre in Liverpool.

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Published: 12 May 2024

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Past Shows


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