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Ken Dodd

So goodbye, then, Ken Dodd.

He was one of those one-offs. Utterly sui generis. A comedian with more than a touch of the surreal. The diddy men from Knotty Ash and the jam butty mines they worked in were a genius invention, seeming so exotic it was a surprise to discover Knotty Ash was an actual location in Liverpool. But he built an engaging fantasy world out of it.

I’d forgotten till I saw the clip on the news that in the early 60s he had a TV show where the diddy men appeared as puppets.

He managed to survive a brush with the tax man and incorporated the experience into his act without alienating his audience whom he famously gave value for money, playing long shows. It didn’t matter whether you laughed at one of his jokes or not, there’d be another along soon enough and he’d get you with that, or the next.

Not content with “pure” comedy he was also a reasonable ventriloquist while at the same time playing against the form. And he was a chart topping singer.

He had a big hit with Happiness and his recording of Tears was the biggest selling single of 1965 (and the 39th biggest selling single in British chart history.)

The good lady heard one of his songs played in tribute on the radio today and remarked how good a voice he had. I tracked the song down. This is no just-get-by, song-and-dance-man effort. He performs it with total conviction. I wouldn’t have taken to it at the time but I recognise its quality now.

Ken Dodd: Love Me With All Your Heart

A master of his craft.

Kenneth Arthur Dodd: 8/11/1927 – 11/3/2018. So it goes.

Friday on my Mind 113: The Ferret Song

Monty Python didn’t come out of nowhere. There was a ferment among English comedic talent following in the wake of Beyond the Fringe in the early to mid-60s, with individuals coming together in various combinations, splitting apart and recoalescing in TV shows like At Last the 1948 Show and Do Not Adjust Your Set as well as the immortal radio comedy I’m Sorry I’ll Read That Againtwo of whose songs have appeared in this category previously – before the main players settled down into their most famous incarnations as Monty Python’s Flying Circus and The Goodies.

I first remember hearing this classic (I can’t bring myself to categorise it as music however) on I’m Sorry I’ll Read That Again but it had been performed earlier in At Last the 1948 Show and it also counts towards those singles from my elder brother’s record collection – see this category numbers 53-56.

John Cleese with the 1948 show choir: The Ferret Song from the 1948 Show

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