On the eve of his eightieth birthday Ken Dodd is still touring the country, performing in packed venues an average of two nights a week with his legendary four hour sets. 'I do it because that is what I do. I do it because that is what I am,' he said, when asked why he continues with this punishing schedule. Ken Dodd's career has spanned over five decades as he went from singer to actor, and presently, most famously, comedian. He is considered the last, great, music-hall inspired variety comic, but what drives this man whose career has been tainted by hardship? Dodd still lives in his childhood home of Knotty Ash and has never married, despite having two-long term fiancees. In 1989 his strange relationship to money culminated in a trial for tax evasion, and he was also famously stalked by a mystery woman. How did this feather-duster salesman become one of the most loved, though least-lauded, British comedians of all time? Stephen Griffin interviewed friends, colleagues and fellow comedians to get inside the mind of the original Diddyman.
Stephen Griffin is a freelance journalist and former arts editor and TV reviewer at the Hampstead & Highgate Express newspaper.