Tour Dates and Places
|Weds 15th – Sat 18th April||Camberley, The Lakeside|
|Sun 19th April||Hastings, The White Rock|
|Mon 20th April||Margate Winter Gardens|
|Tues 21st April||Portsmouth Guildhall|
|Weds 22nd April||Salisbury City Hall|
|Fri 24th April||Paignton Festival Theatre|
|Sat 25th April||Gloucester Leisure Centre|
|Sun 26th – Mon 27th April||Swindon Wyvern Theatre|
|Thurs 30th April||Ipswich Odeon|
|Fri 1st May||Peterborough, The Cressett|
|Sat 2nd May||Lincoln Ritz Theatre|
|Sun 3rd May||Hanley Theatre Royal|
|Fri 8th May||Liverpool Empire Theatre|
|Sat 9th May||Wrexham Plas Madoc Leisure Centre|
|Sun 10th May||Manchester Palace Theatre|
|Fri 15th May||Newport, Newport Centre|
|Sat 16th May||Bristol Hippodrome|
|Sun 17th May||Swansea Grand Theatre|
|Mon 18th May||Aberystwyht Great Hall|
|Tues 19th May||Newton Theatr Hafren|
|Weds 20th May||Batley Frontier Club|
|Thurs 11 June||Southampton Mayflower|
|Fri 12th June||Croydon Fairfield Hall|
|Sat 13th June||Brighton Dome|
|Sun 14th June||Oxford Apollo|
|Mon 15th June||Leicester De Monfort Hall|
|Tues 16th June||Sheffield City Hall|
|Thurs 18th June||Carlisle Sands Centre|
|Fri 19th June||Irvine Magnum Leisure Centre|
|Sat 20th June||Dundee Caird Hall|
|Sun 21st June||Glasgow Pavilion|
|Mon 22nd June||Aberdeen Capitol Theatre|
|Weds 24th June||Edinburgh Usher Hall|
|Thurs 25th June||Newcastle City Hall|
|Fri 26th June||Hull New Theatre|
|Sat 27th June||Skegness Embassy Centre|
|Sun 28th June||Norwich Theatre Royal|
|Mon 29th June||Southend, Cliffs Pavilion|
Cannon and Ball
Barnaby – Thurs 11th June – Mon 29th June
Billy Pearce – Sun 19 April – Weds 20th May
Cover Girls – Sun 19th April – Mon 29th June
James Stone – Thurs 11 June – Mon 29th June
Wayne Denton – 19th April – Weds 20th May
Cannon and Ball
To describe Tommy Cannon and Bobby Ball as stars is, at the very least, an understatement. To describe them as superstars and a unique comedy phenomenon is perhaps more accurate. Since their debut TV series for London Weekend Television in 1979 they have not only become top TV stars with their own highly-rated series and specials every year, but are also the biggest box-office attraction in the UK – in 1985 alone they played to over a million people live through their Summer Season, UK Tour and Panto. Last year saw no let-up in their incredible record-breaking achievements with another magnificent Summer Season in Bournemouth, further sell-out UK concerts and their box-office smash Panto ‘Babes in the Wood’ in Bradford.
To have outsold not only other comedy acts, but to have outdrawn even rock superstar Bruce Springsteen, is a totally unique achievement which puts them in a cateogry all of their own.
This summer their spectacular summer season returns to Blackpool – and it’s a racing certainty that the record books will have to be re-written all over again.
Their star status is further enhanced by the fact that they are the only act in showbusiness to have won three seperate National Club Awards; they have enjoyed success as recording artists with both singles and albums; starred in their own feature film The Boys In Blue; and have also been named Showbusiness Personalities by the Variety Club of Great Britain – the highest accolade presented by their fellow professionals.
So what is the secret of this unequalled success which has also included Royal Shows, a memorable This Is Your Life, and top-rated Christmas TV spectaculars? Tommy and Bobby don’t go in for self-analysis. Thier present day success has evolved from an initial friendship over 20 years ago when they got together to form a singing act. And it is their genuine friendship and respect for each other that is the very backbone of the Cannon and Ball story.
Another reason for this success is the amount of hard work and dedication to their loyal fans – they work 48 weeks a year, whether on tour as tonight, in panto or summer season or in the TV studios. Few entertainers can claim to work so hard.
Robert Harper is the real name of Bobby Ball, and he and Tommy Derbyshire (now Tommy Cannon) were former workmates in a Lancashire engineering factory in the early 1960’s. By day they were welders – but by night they became a singing duo called The Harper Brothers and achieved a great deal of popularity in the Northern Clubs. It soon became evident that Bobby had a natural flair for comedy, and this was complemented by Tommy’s ability to remain straight-faced and act as the perfect foil. Singing remained in their act but the comedy content grew stronger – as did their popularity.
“It got to the point where we were rehearsing our act on the factory floor,” says Tommy, “And many were the times that we were reprimanded by the foreman. Then, out of the blue, Bobby’s cousin Wally Harper, a professional comic, booked us for a week at a club in Wales. It was our first appearance outside Lancashire and the response was terrific. After that we decided to give up our daytime jobs and concentrate on showbusiness.”
Their professional career now spans 20 years, but it is only in the last 16 years that they have been known as Cannon and Ball. And the name has made all the difference to their lives.
“We were getting nowhere as the Harper Brothers” says Bobby. “So one day we sat down in a dreary cafe with our manager and began slinging names at each other. I can’t remember who came up with Cannon and Ball, but we decided that those names fitted us perfectly.”
This choice of name couldn’t have been more appropriate, because their success has come from the firepower of Tommy Cannon and the sheer comedy ammunition of Bobby Ball.
And so Cannon and Ball began the hard slog to gain recognition. They built up their popularity on the club circuit and in 1975 were voted Best Comedy Duo by readers of a leading magazine. In turn that award led to their first TV booking – for the Wheeltappers and Shunters Social Club. They also appeared on Opportunity Knocks and managed to come only second to last in the voting.
Since then the rest is pure showbusiness history – their series and specials are always in the top TV ratings, they have played to capacity audiences not just in the UK but in Australia and the Middle East and their unique approach to comedy grows in stature with each new venture.
The over-riding factor during all their years together has been their unique friendship. They don’t try to kid anyone that they never argue. But their friendship – both on and off stage – is there for all to see.
“We have no pretensions” says Tommy. “We’re a couple of ordinary fellas enjoying what we do best of all – entertaining folk and making them laugh. I suppose it took a long time initially for us to make a major breakthrough, but we’re now glad that we have so much experience behind us. Our TV shows have made an enormous difference. Suddenly we are known by millions, and at times still find it hard to come to terms with being recognised in the street. We’re not knocking it – we love it. The important thing to us as people is that we haven’t changed in out attitudes. We’re still Tommy and Bobby to everyone, and still get a kick every time someone shouts ‘Rock on, Tommy’ in the street”.
Both are happily married and still live close to each other in their native Lancashire. Tommy is married to Margaret and they have two daughters, Janette and Julie and three grandchildren. Bobby’s wife is Yvonne and they have a daughter, Joanna, who is 14. Bobby still retains close links with his two sons Darren amd Robert, from his first marriage.
In their increasingly rare off-stage moments both Tommy and Bobby like to keep fit, and while Bobby prefers to either sit in solitude on a river-bank fishing or in his club called ‘Braces’ in Rochdale, Tommy divides his time between golf and his passion for football – he is now chairman of Rochdale FC.
And the future? In the words of both a United States President and a classic rock song – You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet.
Barnaby – real name? Well, we’d love to tell you, but it’s a well-kept secret.
Hailing from Accrington in Lancashire, his all-important break came when he auditioned and was accepted for Granada Televisions ‘Fame Game’ which he won a record seven times. He has since appeared on TV-AM, The Wide Awake Club and Yorkshire Television’s ‘Ask No Questions’.
November 1985 found Barnaby touring abroad with Welsh comedian Max Boyce, with whom he appeared throughout Britain during that summer. Following appearances with Cannon and Ball in the spring of 1986, he again appeared throughout the summer and autumn on extensive tours with Max Boyce.
During Spring 1987 Barnaby will be returning to work in Malta where he is much in demand in the top hotels.
Barnaby’s comedy is clean and witty and his personality has the necessary ‘twinkle’ to suggest that he can be ‘innocently naughty’ – but nice.
Billy Pearce is one of the brightest young discoveries of the past few years. Born in Leeds of a show business family, Billy first came to attention with his visual comedy mixed with songs, tap dancing, guitar, banjo and his own style of magic all with his own brand of lunacy. He worked summer seasons in Eastbourne, Skegness, Blackpool and Cleethorpes, where he had his own show at the “Beachcomber” Holiday Camp for five years. He had a small acting part impersonating Boy George in the series ‘Halleluyah’ with Thora Hird. Billy has won 10 Clubland Awards and appeared last year in the Bobby Davro show at the Opera House. He won the ‘New Faces’ heat last November and recently appeared on the all-winners show ‘New Faces – The Next Step’. He will be appearing with Stan Boardman on ‘Summer Special’ for TVS and the ‘Tom O’Connor Roadshow’ for Central and ‘Les Dennis’s Laughter Show’ for the BBC. He has just signed a 3 year contract with Thames TV which guarantees him six guest spots this coming year. After this Cannon and Ball tour Billy will be appearing with Stan Boardman at Blackpool’s Grand Theatre for the summer season.
The Cover Girls are fast developing into one of the most exciting discoveries of the eighties. Claire Flynn, Mandy Deering, Michelle Stratford and Rosi Hetherington are not only a beautiful combination to look at, but posess the sort of voices that blend perfectly when performing their wide repertoire. It’s a repertoire that varies from music of the 1940’s, through the 60’s and right up to date, into the 80’s.
The Cover Girls have starred in Monte Carlo, Paris, Helsinki, Cyprus and Singapore, as well as many leading venues throughout Britain. They have also toured with Jimmy Tarbuck, Russ Abbot and Andy Williams. The Cover Girls have appeared on television in ‘David Essex Show’, ‘Mike Reid and His Mates’, ‘Tom O’Connor Show’, ‘3-2-1’ and did a 6 weeks series with Vince Hill for BBC Radio. One of the highlights of their packed career was their appearances at Royal Gala Shows, before H.R.H. Princess Margaret and Their Royal Highnesses Prince & Princess Michael of Kent.
James Stone, dynamic vocalist and songwriter, started his career as front man with his own band during the 70’s.
In 1982 he went solo and began appearing in hotels and discos in India, Portugal, Holland and Finland.
In 1984 he was awarded, as Top Male Vocalist”, the Ken Dodd Show Biz Award for the Variety Club of Great Britain, and the same year, after appearing for a Summer Season at Caesar’s Palace, Jersey, he was again voted ‘The Top Male Vocalist of 1984’ by The Variety Club of Jersey. In 1986, he was voted the top vocalist in ITVs ‘New Faces’
A superb vocal entertainer who recently appeared on the Grand Final of ‘New Faces ’86’ on ITV. This was Wayne’s fourth Television appearance, having previously appeared on ‘3-2-1’ in 1984, and ‘Butlin’s Anniversary Programme’ earlier last year, before winning his heat on ‘New Faces’ in October of last year.
In recent years he has appeared not only at most major venues in the United Kingdom, but in such diverse locations as Portugal, Kenya and Nigeria. After this spring tour with Cannon & Ball, Wayne will be spending this summer season appearing in Torbay.
Souvenir Programme Articles
Tommy’s Sporting Life
Tommy’s sporting ambitions were recently realised when he was elected Chairman of Rochdale Football Club. It seems only yesterday when as a nine year old boy, he stood on the terraces cheering on his local sides, Oldham Athletic and Rochdale. Like so many youngsters, he dreamt one day of playing professionally for them. Eventually the pull of showbusiness became too strong and he put away his football boots and baggy shorts, to pursue his career with Bobby. However, he never lost his love for the game and throughout the years has keenly followed Rochdale’s fortunes. Now Chairman of the club he loves, he takes the challenge very seriously. His ambitions are not only to win promotion, but to see them play on the lush green turf at Wembley.
While constant touring, pantomimes and summer seasons, prevent Tommy from seeing as many games as he would like, on Saturdays off he takes his two eldest grandsons to help him cheer on the team from the stand. When not watching football, he often turns out for charity football matches and golf tournaments.
One of Tommy’s other interests is Karate and he has recently been awarded his orange belt. He is also a keen keep fit fanatic and has a fully equipped Nissan International gymnasium in his home. “I love all kinds of sports. Although I don’t claim to be a world-beater at any of them, I find the participation wonderfully relaxing and rewarding, but I get really mad when Bobby beats me at Tiddlewinks!”
While Bobby prefers the Indoors
In complete contrast to Tommy’s love of outdoor activities, Bobby is more interested in indoor pursuits.
At home he has his own fully equipped private recording studio where he can often be found until the early hours writing, composing or recording songs, poems and short stories.
He has written a children’s book which hopefully will be made into a TV series and published in book form. “Pif Paf the Puffin” is the numerous adventures of a group of animal toon characters.
Bobby also owns his own nightclub, where he can be regularly found when ‘off duty’. The nightclub/discotheque/restaurant is situated in Rochdale and is appropriately called “Braces”. Many of Bobby’s showbusiness friends. Rik Mayall, Ben Elton, Lewis Collins, Stu Francis, The Grumbleweeds, etc. can be often seen mixing with Bobby’s Lancashire locals.
All Bobby’s children are showbusiness orientated. His eldest son, Robert, has just left drama school and was recently seen in pantomime in Hull. His younger son, Darren, is lead singer with a local pop group, and they are currently building up a strong reputation in the Manchester area. His daughter Joanne looks set to become a fashion model.
Travelling is also one of Bobby’s favourite pastimes, together with his wife Yvonne and daughter Joanne, he has just toured across America in a mobile home. But the lure of the bright lights were too strong even on holiday. Las Vegas audiences were treated to Bobby’s unique comedy when he ended up on stage with friends Freddie Starr and Englebert Humperdink.