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Ken Dodd: From panto to Shakespeare in The Stage Archive

Ken Dodd on the front page of The Stage, April 15, 1965 Ken Dodd on the front page of The Stage, April 15, 1965
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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

Advert from December, 1954

Blackpool review, June, 1955

Engagement, August, 1955

A big hit in Blackpool, August, 1955

London, November, 1955

Liverpool FC, June, 1956

Central Pier show, June 1956

Comedy roots, August, 1956

30th birthday, November, 1956

Pantomime review, Liverpool, January, 1957

Topping the bill, January, 1957

Gnash-ional treasure, April, 1957

Saying no to TV, April, 1957

Cup Final tips, May, 1957

Blackpool season, June 1957

Blackpool Hippodrome, September, 1957

Preparing for Panto, December, 1957

FC Tooth fairy, February 1958

Dodd-gy doctor, July 1958

Blackpool, September, 1958

Spring Show, Coventry, April, 1960

Torquay thanks Dodd, October, 1960

Ken Dodd’s year, November, 1960

Coventry panto, February, 1961

Dodd chooses Blackpool, December, 1961

Another TV series, February, 1962Blackpool, August, 1962

Ken Dodd for Coventry, October, 1962

TV teething troubles, December, 1962

The Stage’s newest correspondent, June, 1963September, 1963

Sausage by candlelight, December, 1963

Ken Dodd calling, February, 1964

High Jinks in Liverpool, March, 1965

Doddy’s Here, April, 1965

Revue review, April, 1965

Variety Artistes Federation annual meeting, October, 1965

Ticklemas Eve, December 1965

Back in Blackpool, June, 1966

With the Bluebell Girls, July, 1966

Doddy’s Music Box review, January, 1967Royal Variety performance, November 1967

Dodd for charity, April, 1968

Water Rats in Blackpool, September 1968

With Bernard Delfont, Liverpool, July, 1970

Diddymen’s Dash, January, 1971

Summer special, August, 1971

Children’s hospital visit, Liverpool, August, 1971

Dodd to do Shakespeare, September, 1971

Twelfth Night review, November, 1971



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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