Ken Dodd: From panto to Shakespeare in The Stage Archive
Ken Dodd, who died yesterday aged 90, has a career in the performing arts that stretched well over 60 years. Delving into The Stage archives, we reveal some of his landmark shows from signing a first contract in Blackpool in 1954 – when the newspaper saw potential for the “uprising Liverpool laugh-merchant” – to star status and performing in Shakespeare.
Extraordinary stories emerge of how the former hardware salesman’s “set of tantalising features” ruined his ventriloquism act, why he insured his teeth, and how a Masonic concert changed his life.
Ken Dodd is offered a contract for the 1955 season in Blackpool (November, 1954)
First pantomime role (as Wishy Washy), 1954
Blackpool review, June, 1955
A big hit in Blackpool, August, 1955
Blackpool Hippodrome, September, 1957
Dodd-gy doctor, July 1958
Doddy’s Music Box review, January, 1967Royal Variety performance, November 1967
If you’d like to read more stories from the history of theatre, all previous content from The Stage is available at the British Newspaper Archive in a convenient, easy-to-access format. Please visit: thestage.co.uk/archive
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