Tommy Cannon

Tommy Cannon

Date of birth: 27-06-1938
Tommy Derbyshire was a factory welder  in Oldham, Lancashire when he met Robert Harper, and together decided to form the double act Cannon and Ball. They started as singers working the pubs and clubs before switching to comedy because the money was better. From a 1974 appearance in Opportunity Knocks they rose to be a staple of primetime Saturday night TV in the 1980s, with their self-titled LWT show running for nine series, leading to the 1982 film The Boys in Blue together in 1982, in which they played policemen. They enjoyed the trappings – and the stresses - of success in their heyday,  living the high life with Rolls-Royces and second homes (Cannon even bought Rochdale football club), but also falling out to the point they were barely on speaking terms. And after their  TV series was cancelled in 1992, they were faced with huge tax bills. In 2017 Cannon, declared bankruptcy. That changed when Ball became a Christian in 1986 and put his wild days behind him, and the pair eventually had a rapprochement. Cannon found God eight years later and together, they published a book called Christianity for Beginners
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Lee Mack: I want to give Bobby Ball a funeral on Not Going Out

With Tommy Cannon as the priest

Lee Mack plans to give Bobby Ball a fitting send-off in the next series of Not Going Out - with Tommy Cannon leading the honours.

The stand-up is planning a funeral for Ball’s character Frank in the sitcom, with a congregation of comic from his generation as the mourners.

Ball’s real funeral in Lytham, near Blackpool, in November, was a relatively subdued affair as Covid restrictions limited the size of the ceremony. Yet still hundreds of fans line the route to say goodbye.

Now Mack says he could stage a fictional farewell for the star, who played his dad in the show,

‘I’m thinking of starting the next series with a funeral,’ he told The Sun. ‘And Tommy, I’m thinking of having him as the priest, and also bring some comics of that generation.

‘Bring in all his mates, as in my dad’s mates, who I’ve never met. That will be the story

‘I want to see a scene which opens up with Sid Little, Freddie "Parrot-Face" Davies and the like, all just sitting round. It would be marvellous.’

When Ball died with Covid in October, Mack called him a ‘childhood comedy hero’ and said: ‘I’m utterly shocked and devastated to lose my mate Bobby like this.’

Ball would have turned 77 on Thursday, and Cannon tweeted an affectionate commemoration: 

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Published: 30 Jan 2021

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