An autobiography of the duo, telling their whole story: from meeting, through their years of fame, to their conversion to Christianity and onto today.
The chapters are:
Preface by Chris Gidney – See below
1. Teddy Boys – Their early life and childhood (Both)
2. Teenager in Love – Tommys teenage years and young marriage (Tommy)
3. The Black and Tans – Bobbys teenage years and marriage (Bobby)
4. Rock ‘N’ Roll – They meet at work and form a double act (Both)
5. Doing the Rounds – Working the pubs and clubs together (Tommy)
6. Curry for Supper – Appearing on Opportunity Knocks, and his marriage breakdown (Bobby)
7. Jack the Hat – Starting to make it big (Tommy)
8. Strippers and Bouncers – Touring the clubs (Bobby)
9. The Fame Game – Their big years on TV, and becoming a Christian (Bobby)
10. Divorce and Despair – The big years from Tommys perspective, including his divorce (Tommy)
11. The Tax Man Cometh – Their huge tax demand (Tommy)
12. A Great Loss – More on the tax problems (Bobby)
13. Horses, Holes and Hit-men – An addiction to gambling (Tommy)
14. The Wind Beneath our Wings – Their faith and the future (Both)
The Lancashire town of Oldham sits proudly beside northeast Manchester and is a short drive from one of the country’s premier seaside resorts, Blackpool. This popular desitnation, with its three-mile promenade, extensive stretches of beach, three piers and many theatres, clubs and bars, remains at the heart of show-business glitz. The victorian centre still manages to attract more than a million visitors a year with an extensive season running from early spring and culminating in the famous Blackpool Illuminations every November. Its world famous Pleasure Beach offers increasingly dangerous rides to those thrill-seekers eager to be terrorized by the latest white-knuckle experiences.
To me, the energy and excitement of Blackpool has always been synonymous with life in the entertainment business. The rise and fall of the roller coaster, the win and lose of the slot machines, the fun and fear of the ghost train, all seem to underline the unexpected twists and turns of many a show-business life – and none more so, I know, than Cannon and Ball. If any comedy duo’s lot is akin to a Blackpool funfair, it is theirs. The fortunes won and lost and the dips and dives of fame have shocked, moulded and changed them into the men they are today. In fact, the character changes that have taken place over many years are so significant that many of their peers in the profession still find the contrast hard to accept.
I first met Bobby and Tommy when they still had the dubious reputation of being the nastiest people in the business. Some support acts were so afraid of them they would even refuse the work rather than face the destructive force it could bring into their lives. As this story unfolds, you will begin to see why. Loved by audiences and hated by critics, little did anyone know of the personal anguish and pain hidden beneath the laughter.
Never before has Britain’s top comedy act been so honest in opening up the truth about their past and their rise to fame. I have made sure of it! As their friend for many years, I know and understand their private and show-business lives and realize that it is the failures as well as the successes which bring this fascinating tapestry together, giving the full picture at last.
So, please take your place, make sure your seatbelt is secure, and brace yourself to plunge into the thrilling world of Cannon and Ball.
Published by Hodder and Stoughton General; 2000; ISBN: 000274046