Sir Ken Dodd was a regular and favourite fixture on the Congress Theatre summer season, playing to sell out houses at the 1,600 seat venue and keeping the audiences laughing into the small hours with shows which often went into five hours or more.
Even at 88 when he performed at the Congress for the last time the show started at 7pm and ended well past midnight with only one interval!
Ken was a national treasure and general manager Gavin Davis said: “As the general manager of Eastbourne Theatres, I was very fortunate to have met Sir Ken Dodd on a number of occasions. His happiness show was a regular part of Eastbourne Theatres Summer Season and his epic lengthy shows were renowned the world over, which kept audiences glued to their seats to the early hours of the morning for every visit.”
Gavin adds: “Personally I found him to be an absolute gentleman and he will be truly missed.”
Sir Ken was a regular fixture of the Congress Theatre Summer Season and he provided many hours of laughs even in just one of his shows – his performances were legendary it would be a short show if it was a five hour performance.
Gavin recalls: “There was a charming anecdote which I can recall from a few years back where we received a complaint from a group of people who had come to see Mr Dodd as part of their holiday in Eastbourne – the next morning at breakfast in their hotel they were commenting how absurd it was that a show that started at 7.30pm and ended at 11pm didn’t have an interval.
The table of guests next to them overheard and had been at the Ken Dodd Happiness show themselves the night before and informed the complainers that the show didn’t end at 11pm and that in fact was the interval as the performance then carried on until 1.30am.
“Thank you for all the laughs Sir Ken and tatty bye from your friends at Eastbourne Theatres.”
The last word should go to the great man himself who said “Laughter is the greatest music in the world and audiences come to my shows to escape the cares of life. They don’t want to be embarrassed or insulted. They want to laugh and so do I - which is probably why it works.”