Netizen 24 GBR: Calls made to install plaque commemorating comedian Sir Ken Dodd in Nottingham where he made debut

By On March 12, 2018

Calls made to install plaque commemorating comedian Sir Ken Dodd in Nottingham where he made debut

A plaque commemorating the life of legendary comedian Sir Ken Dodd could be installed in the city where he made his professional debut more than 60 years ago - after plans were revealed by conservationists.

The much-loved Liverpudlian died, aged 90, on Monday, March 12, after a six-week stint in hospital with a chest infection.

His first professional gig was in Nottingham at the Empire Theatre - which stood where the Royal Concert Hall is now - back in 1954.

And members of the Nottingham Civic Society, which works to preserve historic buildings and public spaces, want a plaque to be installed at the Concert Hall in his honour.

It has been backed by ex-showbiz agent Tony Sherwood - as well as the Concert Hall itself.

Ken Dodd poses backstage with the Bluebell Girls during a rehearsal for the show " Doddy's Here Again" at the London Palladium in 1976.

Mr Sherwood, 73, of Carlton, said: "If there's a chance of commemorating Ken [in the city] it should not be ignored. It was an important aspect of his life. He had to start somewhere - and that was the Empire.

"I have had a great deal to do with Ken over the years. He was someone I admired and who I will miss.

"Ken worked right until relatively recently. He filled theatres and he will be missed. Nobody performed for as long as he did. He could go on for three hours without repeating a joke."

Robert Sanderson, managing director of the Theatre Royal and Royal Concert Hall, said: "‘We’d be delighted to pay tribute to Sir Ken Dodd and honour his long history with our venue. We’d be happy to discuss the possibilities with our colleagues and organisations across the city."

Paying tribute to Sir Ken, Mr Sherwood, also a consultant for comedian, actor and television personality Jasper Carrott, added: "He was the biggest-selling artist from Liverpool since the Beatles. He was a major recording artist. He was the second biggest recording artist to come out of Liverpool. He sold a considerable amount of records.

Comedian Sir Ken Dodd

"He was a very clever man. He held Nottingham in high-esteem. He played Nottingham very, very many times.

"Today is the anniversary of my brother's death last year and he was a great fan. I have great comfort in that he and Ken will making each other laugh."

Hilary Silvester, chair of the civic society, said: "We would have to get permission from the Theatre Royal and the Royal Concert Hall and the city council. If people want to go ahead with that it's a good idea. It would be nice to do.

"Where the ground floor bar is or somewhere around the corner where the Empire was, t hat would be the ideal location, somewhere around South Sherwood Street."

She said the society would consider fundraising for a green plaque to match a similar one installed at the front of the Theatre Royal to mark its 150th anniversary in September 2015.

The Empire Theatre where Ken Dodd made his first professional performance - it closed four years later

Mrs Silvester added: "The same sort of thing would cost the same.

"He was a legend. Even people who do not particularly like music halls or comedians, people would go to him and watch him because he was so funny. He never faltered and went on for hours.

"He appealed to such a wide range of people. There was nothing that was crude or cruel or unpleasant about his humour. There was something that appealed to all sorts of people, and all ages.

"He appealed to children as well as older people. People said he was such a kind man in some of the tributes. He was almost a Shakespearean clown and witty with his words."

Kevin Powell, joint heritage walks organiser at the civic society, added: "It [could] say 'Nottingham Civic Society' on the edge and the commemoration in the middle. Something like 'Sir Ken Dodd's first professional appearance was in Nottingham in 1954'."

It comes after plans were revealed last August for a commemorative blue plaque to be placed to the wall of fashion designer Paul Smith's original shop in the wake of the news that it has closed down.

The first store by the Beeston-born fashion icon opened in 1970 in Byard Lane, in the city centre, and remained open even as the brand went global.

Businesses, the civic society and city council all said it would be "fantastic" for the shop to have its own plaque to ensure its history is not forgotten.

But it has not yet been installed.

Mrs Silvester ad ded: "I would like to get going on that. We started and got held up. We have not been able to move forward.

"We are hoping to get in touch with him and see what he says. The staff were keen. But of course it takes time to get in touch with the owners."

Source: Google News

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