Souvenir Programme Articles
Tommy Cannon and Bobby Ball
In 1981 Cannon and Ball completed another television series for London Weekend Television and broke further summer season records at Great Yarmouth, where their show outstripped all other productions at the resort. Following a brief theatre tour that autumn, Tommy and Bobby spent Christmas at the Apollo Theatre, Coventry, with anew show devised by their television producer, David Bell. Once again, public support was overwhelming and the boys were pleased to play to completely full houses for the entire run of the show
In the spring of ’82 they returned to London for yet another television series which was broadcast in May and June. Guest stars featured on this series included Leo Sayer, Bruce Forsyth, Iris Williams, Adam Ant, David Essex and snooker champion, Steve Davis, amongst others. Many memorable sketches resulted from the pairing of Tommy and Bobby with their guests in comic situations. In the summer of 1982, Cannon and Ball had their first opportunity to take on Southern audiences for a continuous season, when they played at the Bournemouth Winter Gardens for a total of twenty weeks. This was a nostalgic return for the boys, as they had previously played a summer season there in 1974 as ‘bottom of the bill supports’ to the Rolf Harris Show.
Their opening night in June was greeted with a rapturous reception from the audience and the critics and the season went on to break all known records at Bournemouth, with capacity business being achieved for seventeen of the twnety weeks and the boys enjoying a great critical response from all quarters.
No sooner had the season finished than Cannon and Ball were plunged straight into their most demanding new role to date – starring in their own full-length feature movie ‘The Boys In Blue’. This was shot at Elstree and on location between September and December, and like all filming schedules involved Tommy and Bobby in getting up at 5am on a regular basis to be made up and wardrobed in time for shooting to commence at 8:30.
Christmas ’82 brought a further step up the ladder with their first ever West End season at the Dominion Theatre, Tottenham Court Road. This ran for seven weeks and once again broke all records for a non-pantomime West End Christmas Show. The advance demand for tickets was so great that virtually every seat for the run had been sold before the show even opened. Just three days after the Christmas Show finished, Cannon and Ball attended the Variety Club luncheon at London’s Hilton Hotel, where they were proud to receive the Showbusiness Personalities of the Year Award for their achievements in 1982.
Following well deserved holidays in the Pacific and Far East during February, the boys returned to record a new Easter Special for London Weekend Television before commencing their present tour. Summer ’83 will see them undertaking a further season in Scarborough and their Christmas Show this year will be in Manchester. Discussions are already under way for a second feature film and they are also due to record a new album this year following the success of their first album released in 1982 on the Music for Pleasure label.
The Boys In Blue
“The Boys In Blue” is the debut movie of Tommy Cannon and Bobby Ball.
Producer Gregory Smith comments: “I saw them on television some two and a half years ago and thought them unique; and their managers, Laurie Mansfield and Stuart Little wood, and I got together to talk over ideas. They weren’t then enjoying the exceptional countrywide success they have now. Nothing speaks louder than money, and when the film people could see the kind of response they were getting, it made the job of setting up the film that much easier.”
The Rank Organisation’s financial stake in the cops and robbers movie is the largest they have made for a number of years and it marks a first-time feature film investment for Rank’s partners, MAM and Apollo Leisure Group.
Writer-Director Val Guest and Greg Smith successfully collaborated on several feature productions and this happy liaison plus Guest’s, undoubted ability as a ‘comedians’ director’ virtually ensured Val would be asked to help Tommy and Bobby’s debut. In his own debut days, Val wrote sketches for the inimitable Sid Fields, scripted Will Hay’s classic comedy, Oh, Mr Porter, which is now in the National Film Theatre Library, and the first Crazy Gang films. Comedy men who owe their film start to Val include Peter Sellers, Frankie Howard, Jon Pertwee, Ronnie Corbett and Lionel Jeffries. Co-starring with Cannon and Ball in “The Boys In Blue” are: Suzanne Danielle, Eric Sykes, Roy Kinnear, Jon Pertwee, Jack Douglas, Arthur English and Edward Judd.
Tommy Cannon and Bobby Ball are the sergeant and constable of a village sub-station threatened with closure because the boys haven’t suffered a crime nor made an arrest in ten years.
True to comedy-cops tradition, Tommy and Bobby decide they will have to solve the mystery of nationwide art thefts to keep their station open – as well as their profitable supermarket next door (groceries delivered by police car) and betting business (over the station phone).
Vivacious Suzanne Danielle plays Kim who hinders as much as helps their crazy investigations. She is Girl Friday to the cockney lord-of the manor, Roy Kinnear.
Bobby’s attempts to date Kim and track down the art robbers proves a frustrating combination for Tommy and Bobby.
Eric Sykes is the Chief Constable, Jack Douglas, the Chief Inspector, with Jack’s wife Su, appearing with him for the first time in a movie, as secretary to Edward Judd, the undercover detective the boys think is the criminal master-mind. Jon Pertwee joins in the fun as a crafty coastguard.
See more information on this film at The Boys In Blue.