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Express & Star comment: By jove, our Ken was a true legend

By Star Comment | Opinions | Published:

Few people have mastered the art of making people laugh in the way that Ken Dodd did.

Ken Dodd in his dressing room at Dudley Town Hall prior to going on stage

His act – completely daft, at times unhinged, and always cheeky in the extreme – was delivered in such a way that even the biggest cynic would struggle not to crack a smile.

The fact that he was still performing at the age of 90 tells us all we need to know about the man.

His work ethic was simply unmatched.

He was, of course, famed for his longevity, performing as a professional comedian for more than 60 years.

Dodd also famously did a record-breaking 42-week run at the London Palladium in 1965.

The duration of his live performances ensured that anyone who went to see him certainly got their money's worth.

It really is hard to recall seeing Dodd's face without him bearing a broad grin.

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While most of his peers had long since shuffled off this mortal coil, Dodd was still hitting the circuit.

And what a shtick it was.

Dodd created his own lexicon and imaginative landscape, populated by diddymen wielding tattifilarious tickle sticks, by chuckle muscles, jam butty mines and titters-per-minute.

On stage, he had little in common with his contemporaries, Kenneth Williams, Ronnie Barker and Frankie Howerd.

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In some way he was as lowbrow as they come, but he was also an incredibly clever man who loved acting in Shakespeare plays.

Quite simply, showbiz coursed through his veins.

Let us not forget that this man of many talents was also a chart-topping singer – his song Tears was the third-biggest-selling single of the 1960s.

He had his troubles, but like any true man of the people he battled through them, and always with that same trademark smile and ruffle of the hair.

Sadly, Dodd was the last of his generation.

He will be missed by anyone who loves a laugh and sees the value in not taking things too seriously.

To honour this comedic legend, there will undoubtedly be plenty of people who will, at some time over the course of the next few days, take great pleasure in firing out a 'by jove, missus' here or a 'how tickled I am' there.

Let's all raise a glass to this wonderful man of contradictions.

Only death could finally get him off the stage.

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