The Friends of Blackpool Grand are tickled to unveil a tribute to Sir Ken Dodd OBE

A ‘tattyfilarious’ tribute to the Master of Mirth and comedy legend, Sir Ken Dodd OBE, has been unveiled in Blackpool.

By Richard Hunt
Friday, 22nd July 2022, 7:55 pm
Updated Friday, 22nd July 2022, 7:56 pm

The Friends of The Grand Theatre unveiled the special bronze sculpture today (Friday July 22) after commissioning renowned artist Graham Ibbeson to commemorate their famous founding member.

It will take pride of place in the theatre’s dress circle for all to enjoy.

As well as his off-stage support for the elegant theatre, Ken regularly performed at the venue during his long and illustrious career.

Unveiling of new Ken Dodd sculpture at the Grand Theatre. Pictured is Mick Miller, Steve Royle and Johnnie Casson.

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The sculptor undertook the precious project throughout 2020-21 during the national lockdown and his famed previous works include celebrations of comedy greats Les

Dawson, Morecambe and Wise and Laurel and Hardy.

This spectacular sculpture of Ken features his famous tickling stick along with Dicky Mint - one of his most beloved Diddymen.

Unveiling of new Ken Dodd sculpture at the Grand Theatre. Pictured is Lady Anne Dodd.

Friends of The Grand chairman, John Grady, said of the commission: “Sir Ken was a very important founding member of The Friends and an invaluable supporter of the Grand Theatre.

"He often offered his time and talent on numerous occasions to help raise the funds to save the theatre from demolition, back in the 1970s.

"Every year since the theatre re-opened, he performed on our stage spreading joy and laughter and we wanted to officially recognise his incredible contribution to The Grand and the world of theatre as a whole.”

Sculptor Graham Ibbeson added: “To me, Ken Dodd was an absolute legend, and the last of the great comedians of an era that made the transition from music hall to variety theatre and on to television.

Unveiling of new Ken Dodd sculpture at the Grand Theatre

“He loved live audiences, and those audiences loved him back.”

Ken was born on November 8 1927 in the Liverpool suburb of Knotty Ash, the son of a coal merchant.

He began his lifelong career as an entertainer in the 1950s and was known for his eccentric and lengthy performances and incredible repertoire of one-liners.

Ken would bring his inimitable one-man show to the Grand, year on year, until his very last live appearances in October 2017.

Ken Dodd at his beloved Grand Theatre in 1996

Sir Ken received a knighthood at the age of 89 for his charity work and outstanding career in entertainment, 25 years after he was first awarded an OBE .

He died at his home in Knotty Ash in March 2018 aged 90, with beloved wife Lady Anne Dodd by his side, and she said of the sculpture: “I am truly honoured that the Friends of the Grand want to commemorate Ken in this way.

"Graham is a brilliant artist and my only input was to ‘tickle up’ Ken’s hair a bit! “

Blackpool Grand Theatre Chief Executive, Adam Knight, added: “Sir Ken was incredibly special, not only to the Friends of The Grand, but also to the people of Blackpool.

"I know many of our theatre patrons will very much enjoy seeing Ken along with Dicky Mint in our dress circle every time they come here.”

Fellow Liverpudlian comedians Mick Miller and Jimmy Tarbuck were among those at the unveiling.

Mick said: “Ken Dodd was a comedy master. When young comedians used to ask me for advice, I always told them to go and watch Ken live as it would be the best seven hours of their lives!”

Jimmy said: “Ken was the greatest stage comic the country has ever seen.”