Sir Ken Dodd statue unveiled at Blackpool theatre he helped to save

  • Published
Lady Anne Dodd with sculpture of Sir Ken DoddImage source, The Grand Theatre
Image caption,
Lady Anne Dodd said she was "thrilled to bits that Ken will now be back at The Grand"

A sculpture of Sir Ken Dodd has been unveiled at a theatre which he helped to save.

The famous comic, who died in 2018, performed benefit shows at The Grand Theatre in Blackpool in the 1970s when it was threatened with closure.

Sculptor Graham Ibbeson's bust of him, complete with his trademark tickling stick and one of his Diddy Men, was unveiled by his widow Lady Anne Dodd.

She said she was "thrilled to bits that Ken will now be back at The Grand".

In 1972, the venue's owners Blackpool Tower Company wanted to demolish the theatre, which had declined from its 1930s and 40s heyday when it had seen appearances by Sir John Gielgud and Vivien Leigh.

However, locals launched a successful campaign to save it, which was backed by Sir Ken and other entertainment figures, including BBC broadcaster Alistair Cooke.

Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
Sir Ken was a regular performer in the resort and was often accompanied by his Diddy Men

The bronze sculpture was commissioned by The Friends of The Grand Theatre, an organisation which was co-founded by the Liverpool comic.

Lady Anne said she was pleased with the work and her "only input" had been to suggest the sculptor should "tickle up Ken's hair a bit".

"I am thrilled to bits that Ken will now be back at The Grand, a place I know he loved to be," she added.

The artist also created a statue of comic Eric Morecambe in nearby Morecambe and of comedy duo Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy in Ulverston, Cumbria, which Sir Ken unveiled in 2009.

He said Sir Ken had told the audience at that unveiling that "I was eyeing him up for my next sculpture, which brought a roar of laughter from the crowd".

Image source, The Grand Theatre
Image caption,
Lady Anne was joined by comedians Mick Miller and Roy Walker (above left and right) and actor Ricky Tomlinson

The unveiling was attended by comedians Mick Miller and Roy Walker, actor Ricky Tomlinson and members of the Friends of The Grand group.

Group chairman John Grady said Sir Ken had been an "invaluable supporter of The Grand" and had offered his "time and talent on numerous occasions to help raise the funds to save the theatre from demolition".

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