Thurs 16th Jul – Sat 24th Oct, Mon – Sat.
Cannon and Ball
To describe Tommy Cannon & 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 one 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 all other comedy acts, but to have outdrawn even rock superstar Bruce Springsteen, is a totally unique achievement which puts them in a category all of their own. Their star status is further enhanced by the fact that they are the only act in showbusiness to have won three separate 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 as well as triumphing in numerous newspaper popularity polls, Tommy and Bobby 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? Their 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 Canon & 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. Their professional career now spans 20 years, but it is only in the last 16 years that they have been known as Cannon & Ball. 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 & 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 & 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.
From Moscow to Tokyo, from Australia to the U.S.A. The Nolans have become one of entertainments most successful and best loved phenomenons. A triumph whether appearing on stage, on TV or on record – and although naively criticised in some areas for their ‘squeaky clean’ image, there can be very few artistes who can appeal from eight to eighty year olds and appear with Frank Sinatra one minute and Motorhead the next! In 1974 the parents and brothers stepped aside and The Nolans were born comprising Anne, Denise, Maureen, Linda and Bernie. Following a season at the London Rooms in London’s Drury Lane, the girls became a household name almost overnight when they guested on the entire series of BBC TV’s top rated Cliff Richard Show. The series led to The Nolans guesting on Frank Sinatra’s 1975 European tour and with the Sinatra Seal of approval the girl’s career exploded with countless TV appearances, Summer Seasons and overseas tours, with the likes of Englebert Humperdink.
Record success however still eluded the girls – they had released two albums through small independent labels The Singing Nolans (1973) and The Nolan Sisters (1977) – until in early 1978 they recorded a collection of classic hits under the title ’20 Giant Hits’. Released on Target Records, the album hit number three in the British album charts and went gold. In 1974 The Nolans signed to C.B.S. Records and teamed up with producer Ben Findon. It was a partnership which went on to produce massive success with hit singles and albums worldwide. ‘Spirit, Body and Soul’ gave the girls their first hit single in November 1979, but it was the classic ‘In the Mood for Dancing’ which became the definitive Nolans hit. Released in February 1980, the single went gold, hit number three in the British Charts and established a new image for the girls – The Nolans had grown up and become acceptable to the vast contemporary market. Both songs were taken from ‘The Nolan Sisters’ album, which also hit the British Top Ten.
The Nolans international success mushroomed, particularly in Japan, where the girls achieved Platinum record sales, became the first overseas act to top the Japanese charts in over ten years, and won the prestigious Tokyo Music Festival.
Although just 25 years of age, London-born entertainer, Brian Conley, already has a wealth of experience in show business – recently voted ‘Most Up-And-Coming Comedian’ by Margaret Forward of The Sunday People.
Brian has appeared with such artistes as; Cannon & Ball; Tom Jones; Jack Jones; Neil Sedaka; Tammy Wynette; The Three Degrees and many more. As well as topping the bill at night clubs and theatres throughout the country.
Brian has appeared on all the major TV and variety shows, including ‘Live from the Palladium’ in 1987. His busy TV schedule for 1986 included his appearance on the Jimmy Cricket series for Central; a guest appearance on ‘Live from the Piccadilly’, and a regular spot on TVS’s ‘summertime Special’ led to him emerging as a vital member of a new zany comedy special, ‘Five Alive’. Owing to the success of this special it was made into a series for TVS, which is to be transmitted in July and August 1987.
In addition to Brian’s TV commitments, he has appeared in six major Pantomimes across the U.K., with such names as Little and Large; John Inman and Bobby Davro.
Brian’s hobbies include trying to park his car in Blackpool!
But, as an entertainer; comedian; singer; fire-eater and juggler, the odds are definitely in his favour.
Bob Bramson represents the third generation of Vaudeville-Music Hall and Circus artists. He manipulates, juggles and rolls big wooden hoops and gives this old children’s toy a new life. At the moment, in international show business, Bob Bramson is the only one to present this kind of art. Born in Berlin – Germany. He was age six when he joined his father and mother at rehearsals at home. Three years later he made his debut, with his parents, in Sweden. As his skill increased, aged 19, he took over the spectacular act from his father.
The Bramson family have performed this kind of act since 1902 but since 1967 they are Music Hall artistes. His hoops are rolling all over the world. His elegant movements throughout, which greatly enhance his act, are attributable to the ballet training as a boy in Berlin and Budapest.
The Clark Brothers
These international entertainers are Jimmy and Stevie Clark – The Clark Brothers, who started their careers in Philadelphia, P.A., at the age of 3 – a career which has taken them all over the world. They have appeared before Royalty on many occasions -most notably the very first Royal Command Performance with the Beatles.
Jimmy and Stevie were among the privileged few asked to join the Grand Order of Water Rats, one of the oldest charitable organisations in the World, the only other American members being Laurel and Hardy, Ted Louis and Danny Kaye. The Opera House has played host to them with Shirley Bassey and Cliff Richard and this summer season sees their welcome return – Singers, Dancers, Impressionists and Comedians all rolled into one – or two!
Brian Rogers has worked as a dancer and choreographer almost exclusively on television. He was a member of the Young Generation dancers appearing in many of the BBC Saturday night series such as the Rolf Harris and Lulu Shows. He appeared in the ITV Specials for American television starring Julie Andrews, Glen Cambell and Ann Margaret. Over the last eight years he has choreographed a wide variety of Specials starring Stanley Baxter, Peter Cook, Bruce Forsyth, Cannon and Ball, A History of Dance Spectacular in Germany and in 1985, for America, Bob Hope’s 82nd Birthday Show and the Paul Daniels Show Easter Special which won the Golden Rose of Montreux award.
His distinctive choreography has been featured in many successful series including The Video Entertainers, Success, The Jim Davidson Show, Starburst, Search For A Star and the Mike Yarwood Show. Brian Rogers’ Dancers appear regularly on 3-2-1, The Laughter Show and the spectacular Live From Her Majesty’s. In the theatre he has choreographed summer shows for Cannon and Ball, Jimmy Tarbuck, Freddie Starr, a series of Sunday shows for Tommy Steele, and his own company’s cabaret act, The Brian Rogers Connection.
Mike hails from Bamsley in Yorkshire and has journeyed the Pennine trail countless times during his seven year long association with his Lancastrian colleagues and friends, Tommy and Bobby.
This years summer season in Blackpool re-kindles fond memories of the Town, from childhood club trips with Mike Parkinson (the younger), to adolescent foray’s down the Golden mile-if gypsy Rose Lee had read Mike’s palm in those day’s she would have seen a colourful career ahead for this likeable musician.
Now-twenty five years on- Mike’s musical pedigree span’s across the international entertainment spectrum, having played every major venue in the U.K. (including his highlight the London Palladium). Extensive touring abroad has included, Hong Kong, Middle East, Australia and P&O cruise Lines.
Mike is also a freelance musical Director with Thames Television, which developed his status to record producer and has recently co-produced Tommy and Bobby’s much-awaited album, due for release soon. The credits roll on-as does the magical world of music and entertainment Cannon and Ball style.
The Clark Brothers
Brian Rogers TV Dancers – “Me and my Fabulous Feet”
Brian Rogers TV Dancers – “Lay Back and Be Cool”
Brian Rogers TV Dancers – “Danger Zone”
Cannon and Ball