Legendary Comedian Sir Ken Dodd who entertained crowds in Harrogate across decades was helped to celebrate his last birthday at the Royal Hall.
Sir Ken died at the age of 90 on Sunday (March 11) in Liverpool reportedly following him receiving treatment for a chest infection.
The comedian was a regular visitor to the district, performing at the Royal Hall since at least 1975, and calling it the ‘nicest theatre in Britain’ in an interview with The Advertiser last year.
During curtain-call at a show in October last year members of Royal Hall Restoration Trust and the audience helped to preemptively mark his birthday, November 8, with a cake and singing of happy birthday.
Sir Ken said: “It’s absolutely beautiful. There are many fine venues I love, including the Blackpool Grand and the Gaiety Theatre on the Isle of Man but the Royal Hall is the nicest in Britain.”
Both this and his previous show in 2013 were to raise funds for the preservation and restoration of the theatre.
News of his passing has sparked an outpouring of tributes online, fellow comedian Bernie Clifton tweeting “he had lost a friend” and that the world was a “poorer, darker place.”
Entertainer Andy Eastwood performed with Sir Ken over the past 16 years, sharing the stage with him around 350 times. Meeting his hero and mentor backstage at Bournemouth Pavilion when he was 14 he would enter the world of entertainment eight years later with his first professional dates with him.
He said: “It’s hard to accept that I’ll never again have the buzz of belting out my routine to a sizzling Ken Dodd audience, and seeing the legend at work, but I know that his influence in the entertainment world will live on immeasurably through the countless artists who have benefitted from his genius. This is a terribly sad day but his lasting legacy will be happiness. Thank you Ken, you were the greatest.