The king of laughter

The opening of the exhibition of "Top of the Pops"  photographer Harry Goodwin, at Blackpool's Grundy Art Gallery. Ken Dodd.

The opening of the exhibition of "Top of the Pops" photographer Harry Goodwin, at Blackpool's Grundy Art Gallery. Ken Dodd.

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HE’s the tickle-tastic doyen of comedy - and Ken Dodd is showing no signs of slowing down.

The 83-year-old is to perform at St Helens Theatre Royal on September 8, where’s been a regular down the years.

His show, Ken Dodd: Over 50 years of laughter and Happiness, is a celebration of his long career in British comedy.

But fans needn’t worry as this is no nostaglia-soaked trip down memory.

The Dodd-meister will instead lavish his fans with mountains of the impeccably delivered one-liners that have become his trademark down the years.

“To be honest, my favourite place is the theatre,” says Doddy, who still lives in his childhood Knotty Ash home.

“After more than 50 gloriously happy years, I still enjoy the ‘buzz’ of the live venue and a packed audience laughing their heads off and forgetting all their cares and worries for a couple of hours.

“I’m lucky because I never get tired of entertaining and making people laugh.”

Doddy was born in the Liverpool suburb of Knotty Ash which, because of the imaginary landmarks Doddy ascribed to the area, many punters believed to be a made-up place.

He left school at 14 to work with his coal merchant father but also earned extra cash as a door-to-door salesman. At the age of 27, he quit his job and become a full-time entertainer.

He’s barely stopped working since.

Career highlights include a record-breaking 42 week run at the London Palladium, knocking the Beatles off the top of the charts (with the million-selling Tears), and a number of highly-rated TV shows.

He’s also the creator of the famous Diddy Men and has mapped out a surreal alternative-landscape for his beloved Knotty Ash, which includes the area’s jam butty mines and broken biscuit factor.

But it’s theatre that remains his real passion and he has no plans to quit any time soon.

“Why should I when I love every second of doing my job? Anyway, it’s not really a job. I’ve been doing it for over 50 years now and it’s more like a hobby, because I love it so much.

“As long as people keep coming to my shows and laughing their heads off and enjoying themselves, then I will continue touring this great country of ours.

“It’s my love. It’s my life and I enjoy every single minute of it.”

* Tickets are available from the box office on 01744 756000 priced £18.50.