Ken Dodd unveils Blackpool comedy carpet artwork

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Media captionThe BBC's Ed Thomas was entertained by one of the stars who feature on the comedy carpet, Ken Dodd

A "Comedy Carpet" featuring the catchphrases, jokes and names of more than 1,000 comedians has been unveiled at the foot of Blackpool Tower.

Comic legends, including Les Dawson, Frankie Howerd, Tommy Cooper and Morecambe and Wise, are featured in the giant engraving made of granite and concrete.

It features 160,000 individually-cut letters spelling out the phrases.

It was officially unveiled by Ken Dodd at 12:30 BST.

The project has taken five years from conception to installation and is integrated into the Tower Festival Headland at the foot of Blackpool Tower.

The centre of the "carpet" features five sections devoted to Ken Dodd, Les Dawson, Morecambe and Wise, Frankie Howerd and Tommy Cooper.

Around the edge of it, there is a list of comic performers and writers from the days of music hall and variety, through to contemporary performers.

Designer Gordon Young said: "I'd been looking at photographs of stars and the Blackpool Tower was a recurring backdrop to the photos - Eric and Ernie in deck chairs, Ken Dodd, Les Dawson.

"It soon became obvious that Blackpool had been a magnetic chuckle point for the nation. From Mae West to modern maestros like Peter Kay, the sheer breadth of comedians who've performed in the town over the decades is amazing.

"As I stand on the carpet I can see, 'Let's do it, let's do it, let's do it while the mood is right' - that's Victoria Wood - and if I twist in the other direction, I can see, 'Nick nack nick nack nicky nacky noo', which is a lot of silliness but it's Ken Dodd."

The engraved letters vary in size from a few centimetres, to almost a metre in height, so the piece can be seen nearby and also from a height - at the top of Blackpool Tower.

Graham Cain, Blackpool Council's cabinet member for tourism and culture, said: "This magnificent work is all part of the continuing regeneration of Blackpool. It's a truly unique work of accessible public art at one of our resort's most famous locations.

"There's already a huge amount of interest in the carpet and I'm looking forward to seeing people enjoy it once it's officially open."

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