KEN DODD: Wyvern Theatre pays tribute to comedy legend's famous knack of running over
KEN Dodd visited the Swindon area several times during his long career, usually to appear at the Wyvern Theatre.
He wasnât always working, though
The first local story about him in our files is from July, 1969.
We said: âThe summer night calm of the little village of Ogbourne St Andrew was rippled yesterday when a large white car came to a halt at the Wheatsheaf Inn car park just before closing time, and out stepped a man whose main aim in life is to make people laugh â" Ken Dodd.
âDoddy, minus his Knotty Ash Diddymen, stepped into the inn to quench his thirst and the curtains were drawn to preserve the privacy of the private bar.â
Fans waited patiently outside with autograph books, which he happily signed.
A little over a year later, we ran a brief story about a meeting in Scarborough between the star and Swindon holidaymaker Dave Mantell.
The two had first met in Torquay more than a decade earlier and become friends. They reminisced about the clapped-out car the comic drove in those days.
We said: âToday Ken has four cars and a chauffeur to drive them, but his success hasnât changed him from the friendly character he has always been.â
In July, 1982, the Adver photographed Ken at the Wyvern, but not during a show.
The occasion was a surprise visit to present local hospital radio broadcaster Vic Court with a tankard honouring his years of service.
It had been paid for by nurses and staff at the old Princess Margaret Hospital.
In October, 1988, we assured readers that the starâs impending tax fraud trial â" he was sensationally acquitted â" wouldnât prevent him from appearing in Swindon later in the month.
By June of 1990, when he again appeared at the Wyvern, Ken already had a reputa tion for giving live audiences more than their moneyâs worth.
We said: âThe legendary entertainer took the stage at the Wyvern Theatre in Swindon at 6pm and did not finish until 8.50pm â" five minutes after his second performance of the evening was due to begin.
âTheatre director Alan Lord, who went to the second show, said Ken Dodd was back on stage at 9pm and did not finish this one until 12.30am.â
In 2012 it was announced that he was again bringing his Laughter Show to the Wyvern.
We said: The Liverpool-born comedian turns 85 in November, but still has a touring schedule worthy of a performer 50 or 60 years younger.
âHis Swindon appearance is among some 100 live shows heâd booked to play this year.â
Christine Husseyin, Wyvern Theatre Ticket Office Manager recollects what it was like when the comedy genius come to town.
âOur customers were always very excited when Ken Dodd was due to per form at the Wyvern Theatre.
"For many years Ken would put on two shows in the same day, but he was well known for overrunning his show which left the evening audience waiting in the foyer for over an hour before they could take their seats.
"With just one show you could expect to be here until midnight, it was always fun when the audience phoned the ticket office for a running time, something we could never answer.
"The audience loved coming to his shows.âSource: Google News