Bobby Ball: Comic to get Lytham statue he 'used to gag about'

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Bobby Ball
Image caption,
Ball's widow Yvonne said he "would have been elated" at getting a statue

Comedian Bobby Ball, who used to joke about having a statue in his favourite resort, is to get his wish granted.

The Oldham-born comic moved to Lytham more than 25 years ago after falling in love with the town while working in nearby Blackpool with his comedy partner Tommy Cannon in the 1980s.

Following his death in October, Fylde Council has now voted to erect a statue of Ball outside the town's theatre.

His widow Yvonne said she was "over the moon [and] Bob would have been elated".

Image source, PA Media
Image caption,
Cannon and Ball played summer seasons in Blackpool in their 1980s heyday

Cannon and Ball rose from playing working men's clubs to host their own Saturday night ITV show in the 1980s.

After dropping out of the spotlight in the 1990s, Ball, whose real name was Robert Harper, found new fame as the father of fellow comic Lee Mack's character in the BBC sitcom Not Going Out.

Mrs Harper said he "used to gag" about how he would be remembered, "saying 'I want a statue in Lytham'".

"He used to say to people 'where's my statue, where's my statue?'," she said.

"I used to reply 'you're not dead yet Bob.'"

She added that the statue would feature Ball's trademark red braces and something she had specifically asked for.

"I want it to show the twinkle in his eye," she said.

Image source, PA Media
Image caption,
Ball's catchphrase - "Rock on, Tommy" - forms part of Blackpool's Comedy Carpet

Fylde Council leader Karen Buckley said Lytham's adopted son had left a "legacy of joy and kindness".

"This statue will ensure he can go on giving joy to the area and visitors long after he took his final bow," she added.

The statue will be the second dedication to Ball on the Lancashire coast, as his catchphrases - "You little liar!" and "Rock on, Tommy" - and name form part of Blackpool's Comedy Carpet.

An authority spokesman said it was not known when the statue would be erected but it would be paid for by public appeal and council funds.

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