Entertainment & Arts

In pictures: Val Doonican

The enduring image of Val Doonican is one of him sitting in a rocking chair, guitar in hand, sporting a garish jumper. His TV show ran and ran and his Christmas specials attracted audiences of up to 19 million viewers. The multi-coloured sweaters may have been replaced by smart suits but he remained a national institution.

Waterford-born Doonican moved to London to further his singing and entertainment career, which eventually spanned radio, television, cabaret and music hall.

He had a prolific recording career, with more than 50 albums to his name, spanning the 1950s and 1970s. He made a number of appearances on Top of the Pops, his smart attire and gentle music somewhat incongruous next to the other 60s and 70s chart-toppers of the time. Here he is pictured backstage ahead of an appearance.

Doonican played with his rocking chair image and he had a large collection of mini replica ones. He was also a keen golfer, spending his spare time on tour on the green.

Image copyright PA

He was married to wife Lynnette Rae, a cabaret star, for more than 50 years.

His Saturday night TV show could attract some of the biggest names in entertainment of the time, including Cilla Black.

Marti Webb appeared with him on a show dedicated entirely to Bing Crosby.

The Val Doonican Show ran the whole gamut of variety and light entertainment. The show finally finished its mammoth run in 1986.

His TV shows also allowed him to meet some of his own idols, including singer and actor Howard Keel, who appeared on Christmas Eve With Val Doonican in 1987.

Related Topics

More on this story