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Cannon and Ball are an Englishmarker comedy double act consisting of Tommy Cannon and Bobby Ball. The duo met in the early 1960s while working as welders in Oldhammarker. They started out as singers working the pubs and clubs of Lancashire before switching to comedy after being told comics earned an extra £3 a night.

Their first TV appearance was in 1972 in the variety show The Wheeltappers and Shunters Social Club (Granada/ITV) before a further performance in Bruce Forsyth's Big Night (LWT/ITV). LWT offered them their own series, The Cannon and Ball Show which premiered in ITV on Saturday 28 July 1979. Further series followed each year through to 1988, along with Christmas and Easter specials.

In 1982 they appeared in a feature film, The Boys in Blue, based loosely on the classic Will Hay film, Ask a Policeman . The Boys in Blue was regarded critically as weak in comparison and was their only cinema outing. It was re-released on DVD in 2004.

They also featured in a comic strip Rock On Tommy, which was published in the magazine Look-in.

In recent years they have admitted that, during their hey-day of huge popularity in the 1980s, they were barely on speaking terms and would avoid each other completely when not on stage or rehearsing. These tensions - which lasted for years - were later resolved and the two are now extremely close once again.

By the 1990s the duo were seeking a change in direction and appeared in their own sitcom Cannon and Balls Playhouse, the spin-off series Plaza Patrol and their game show Cannon and Ball's Casino. Plaza Patrol saw them play security guards in a shopping mall. Despite relatively high viewing figures for a midweek sitcom no further series were produced.

Their popularity coincided with the rise of so-called "alternative comedy", with its emphasis on more socially relevant and political concerns. As time passed, Cannon and Ball's popularity began to decline, though they were not the only comedy act to suffer as the comic tastes of the nation shifted. During the 1980s Greg Dyke, the then Head of Programming at ITV station TVS and later to hold a similar position at LWT expressed a concern that northern comedy shows may not suit southern tastes.

One of their greatest sketches which is commonly referred to as The Trumpet Routine featured Bobby Ball playing a plastic trumpet whilst Tommy Cannon was trying to sing a song. After stopping the song numerous times, Tommy Cannon eventually grabbed the trumpet from Bobby Ball and smashed it up by stamping on it. A very upset Bobby Ball cried whilst shouting 'aww look at it'. The sketch itself typifies the duo's comedy style, with straight man Cannon becoming increasingly angry and agitated with Ball's inconsideration towards Cannon's questionable singing ability. This subsequently leads to a child like outburst from Ball when Cannon's patience finally snaps.

In more recent times they have continued to find success as a comic duo in theatre and pantomime, along with numerous cameo appearances on TV. In 2005 they appeared in the British reality TV series I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here!.

The pair revived a touring version of the theatrical farce Big Bad Mouse, originally a highly successful vehicle for Jimmy Edwards and Eric Sykes in the 1960s and 1970s. The latest incarnation of the show featured Cannon and Ball in the starring roles, supported by Allo Allo’s Sue Hodge as Lady Chesapeake and newcomer Emily Trebicki as secretary Miss Spencer. The show opened in Hullmarker during May 2008 and toured six other cities, before ending in August at the Theatre Royal, Windsormarker, to mixed reviews.

Also in 2008 the pair's career continued as they appeared again on TV as the faces of Safestyle UK, a Bradfordmarker based double glazing firm.

The pair are devout Christians and have published a book called Christianity for Beginners. Bobby Ball became a born-again Christian in 1986 and Tommy Cannon in 1992, their conversion having a lot to do with the re-kindling of their broken friendship. They now regularly feature in their own gospel and "an audience with..." show in churches around the country.

Catchphrases:- "Rock on Tommy", "You little liar", "I piggin' hate you, Tommy", "Aww, look at it", "I'm all excited".

References

  1. The Boys in Blue
  2. Ask A Policeman


External links




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