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Alderney’s memories of King of Diddy Men

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ALDERNEY residents have been remembering fondly the evening that Sir Ken Dodd visited the island to perform in the 1990s.

Sir Ken Dodd, who has died aged 90, is remembered fondly in Alderney. (Picture by Ian West/PA Wire)

Sir Ken, who died on Sunday, arrived on a Trislander, trademark tickling stick in hand, and performed in the ballroom at the Belle Vue hotel in October 1990.

The hotel’s owner, Steve Collins, who also ran the radio station, brought him over after Sir Ken said it was his ambition to perform in every theatre in the country.

The Belle Vue was packed to the rafters, with people squeezing themselves onto stairwells and on the floor.

Dougal Bohan, station manager and presenter for the island’s Quay FM, said it had been a truly memorable night.

‘It was tremendous and there was huge excitement on the island. You don’t often get a celebrity like that to come over. The atmosphere was electric.

‘He said we were in for a long night – which proved to be right. I remember his opening gags ran: “Good evening everybody – it’s not very often I appear in a bunker. I wouldn’t say we were close to France, but I stuck my head down the toilet and said bonjour to everyone”.

‘The fact that I still remember them show what an impression he made.

‘He obviously learned a lot about the island before he came. There were a lot of local stories, as well as the tax man getting a mention.

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‘It was laugh out loud and the jokes came at such a quick rate that you missed some of them because you were still laughing at the last one. It was a joke per second. And he didn’t seem to want to stop.’

Other people on Alderney would remember Sir Ken fondly, he said. ‘I think people will be very sad at the news that he has passed away,’ said Mr Bohan. ‘He made a lot of friends when he came here. The kids loved him. When he departed, he brought his tickling stick to the airport and kids were allowed to go out onto the apron to wave goodbye to him and he really fell in love with the island.

‘He did say he would like to come back at some stage, but sadly he never did.

‘He performed from 8pm and we had to ask him to stop at 12.30am because of the licensing laws,’ said Tracey Jean, Mr Collins’ daughter.

‘We still have a pristine tickling stick which he gave us which I may auction off for an Alderney charity. It was a great night,’ she said.

Sir Ken performed in Guernsey in the 1970s at the Little Theatre.

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