New Year Honours Ken’s so tickled at being knighted
KEN Dodd has been made a knight in the New Year’s Honours.
The veteran funnyman said: “I woke up this morning and thought – what a beautiful day for becoming a ‘Sir’!
The 89-year-old also said he was “proud and also humbled” to receive the knighthood, paying tribute to all those who had campaigned over the years for him to be recognised.
And he joked that he was now going to buy a new suit for his trip to Buckingham Palace, as well as thinking of a suitable joke to tell the Queen.
Sir Ken was given an OBE in 1982, however fans have since campaigned long and hard for him to receive a knighthood.
Among campaigners was Sarah King, daughter of former tourism boss Phil King – who was affectionately known as “Mr Southport”.
Mr King worked tirelessly to put Southport on the map and worked for Sefton Council between 1977-98, introducing events such as Southport Air Show, and he and Ken were great friends.
After Phil died in 2014, Ken said: “”He loved the town and was totally dedicated to the promotion of everything good about Southport – especially the theatre.
“He had time for everybody and was a brilliant Director of Entertainment sharing his warm personality and abundant enthusiasm with everyone.
“To me personally he was also a very kind and dear friend over many years.”
Ken later unveiled a special plaque at Southport Theatre and Convention Centre in honour of Phil King.
Just last year, Ken told the Visiter that Southport has a special place in his heart, and that coming to the town is ‘‘like coming home’’.
Sarah King said she is ‘‘absolutely delighted’’ to see Sir Ken receive the honour. She said: “This has been a long time coming; I’m just sad my dad isn’t here to celebrate.
“He would be absolutely over the moon as he was part of the campaign to get Doddy a knighthood.
“Ken Dodd is a true comedy legend. Not only is he a great showman but he is very generous with his time and does a lot for charity. This is more than well deserved.”
Kenneth Arthur Dodd was born in Knotty Ash in November 1927, one of three children of coal merchant Arthur Dodd and his wife Sarah.
The young Ken got his first paid gig as a schoolboy when he entertained the boys at the city’s St Edward’s Orphanage, earning himself half a crown.
His first big break came in 1954 when he made his professional showbiz debut at the old Nottingham Empire, later making a name for himself in shows at Blackpool.
He remains best known, however, for the length of his live shows, with fans often missing their buses and trains home.
But despite more than 60 years in the entertainment business, he shows no sign of hanging up the famous tickling stick.
Speaking to the Visiter last year, he said: “I have never even considered retirement. Why would I? I love every second of doing my job!
“If you can call it a job. It doesn’t feel like work to me.
“The theatre has always been my favourite place. 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 the night.”
Ken with partner Anne Jones and, below left, with Southport tourism boss and good friend Phil King in 1989