RIP Sir Ken Dodd. A legend and an inspiration. I have a lot to thank You for. I Was thrilled you had the best birthday party in Liverpool before you left us. Your city, friends,Family and Show business will miss you terribly. pic.twitter.com/iDeEC4yukJ
Paying tribute to Sir Ken, comedian Russ Abbot said he was “an icon, a one-off and a true professor of comedy”.
“One of the greatest. How tickled I am to have known him,” he added.
Liverpudlian comedian John Bishop wrote on Instagram: “True comedy legend. RIP Sir Ken Dodd.”
Actor David Morrissey, who is also from Knotty Ash, tweeted: “Ken Dodd was such an important part of my life growing up in Knotty Ash. He was a great comic and a great man. Thanks for all the laughs.”
Sir Ken had been a comedian since 1954 and was born the son of a coal merchant in 1927.
In the 1960s, he made it into the Guinness Book of Records for telling 1,500 jokes in three and a half hours.
After making his name in the music halls, his career in television and radio took off, as he brought national appeal to his regional, perhaps parochial humour.
He was a chart-topping singer too: his signature tune Happiness was released in 1964 and his single Tears was the third highest-selling song of the 1960s in Britain, beaten only by two Beatles singles.
Sir Ken met Anne when she appeared in the Ken Dodd Christmas Show at the Manchester Opera House in 1961.
Reverend Julia Jesson said when she moved to Sir Ken’s local church – St John’s in Knotty Ash – her former parishioners were very amused when they found who one of her flock would be.
“Everyone knew about Knotty Ash thanks to Ken,” she added.
“I met him several times and I was struck by what a Godly and humble man he was.”
Referring to the length of Sir Ken’s comedy shows, comedian Gary Delaney paid tribute on Twitter.
Fans also paid their own tributes, one wrote on Twitter: “After my father died in 1990 we took my mother to see #KenDodd at the Palladium. He was the perfect pick-me-up: daft, irrepressible, funny and silly in equal measure. We were all reduced to helpless, crying-with-laughter wrecks. Bravo! #legend.”
Sir Ken made his first professional appearance in 1954 at the Theatre Royal, Stockport, but it would be another decade before he made his West End debut, topping the bill at the London Palladium.
Throughout the 1970s and 80s, he was a regular face on TV and worked to a punishing schedule, which he kept throughout his career, seldom taking a holiday.
But in 1989 Sir Ken faced the possibility of a fall from grace when he was charged with eight counts of tax fraud spanning 15 years and involving more than £800,000.
He was later acquitted after a 23-day trial, but the court heard a range of stories about his eccentricity, including hiding more than £300,000 in wardrobes, cupboards and under stairs.
Taking up his career again on his acquittal, Sir Ken enjoyed another season at the London Palladium in 1990 and won a British Comedy Lifetime Achievement Award as well as being voted Top Variety Performer in 1993.
In 2011, he unveiled a “Comedy Carpet” featuring the catchphrases, jokes and names of more than 1,000 comedians at the foot of Blackpool Tower.
Very sad to hear that Sir Ken Dodd has passed away. Over the decades he entertained thousands in Blackpool and was the perfect choice to open the Comedy Carpet for us in 2011 #thankyousirkenpic.twitter.com/SPPbsVbnEx