Weymouth Theatre, Thursdays, 22nd Jul – 2nd Sept
Scarborough Futurist Theatre, Wednesdays, 27th Jul – 7th Sept
Yarmouth Britannia Pier, Tuesdays 26th Jul – 6th Sept
Blackpool Grand Theatre, Sun and Mon 10th Jul – 26th Sept
Ilfracombe Landmark Theatre, Thurs 21st Jul and Thurs 18th Aug
Programme – Blackpool
Cannon and Ball
Tommy Cannon and Bobby Ball are one of Britains funniest and most successful double acts. In a career spanning 40 years they have achieved a string of honours that includes them among the all-time greats of show business.
On television they have starred in their own series practically every year since 1979. They have also ‘guested’ on all the major shows including Wogan, Parkinson, Des O’Connor, Sunday Night at the Palladium and several Royal Variety Shows. They features in a BBC documentary, Funny Business, based on double acts, which also included footage of comedy legends Martin and Lewis, Laurel and Hardy, and Morecambe and Wise.
To add to their pedigree, they remain the only act to have won three seperate National Club Awards and be named as the Variety Club Personalities of the Year. Their feature film, The Boys in Blue, in addition to its cinema success, has gone on to become a video best-seller. The boys have also been the subject of This is Your Life!
During the 1970s they built a strong reputation around the UK cabaret club circuit for being a great live act. They also toured extensively in the hotel circuits of Australia and South Africa.
Tom and Bob have broken records in theatres all over the UK, including London. In 1981 they played a six-week season at the Dominion Theatre. Every seat was sold before the show opened, and in 1988 their pantomime Babes in the Wood broke all previous pantomime records at the world famous London Palladium, where Cannon and Ball created the record for the largest box-office amount taken in one week in British theatre history.
Rock with Laughter ’96 fulfilled Tommy and bobby’s ambition to star in their own rock ‘n’ roll spectacular, their first Summer Season for producers Qdos at the Grand.
After an extensive autumn tour and a trip to Israel, the boys played the Chinese Policemen in Aladdin at the Theatre Royal, Newcastle and again at the Grand Theatre, Wolverhampton.
They have appeared on many major TV shows including The Des O’Connor Show, Noel Edmonds House Party, Talking Telephone Number and The Generation Game.
In the spring of 1999 the boys appeared at various theatres across the country starring in An Evening at the Music Hall whilst continuing their tour of An Audience With…
The boys played full houses at their Summer Season in 1999 at the Blackpool Grand Theatre, the season was one of the most successful summers Blackpool has ever had!
The 1999/2000 pantomime season saw the boys play the Regent Theatre, Stoke on Trent for the production Cinderella, co-starring Melinda Messenger and Britt Ekland.
The early part of 2000 saw the boys starring and touring in various shows throughout the UK’s theatres. Summer Season 2000 featured the successful Comedy Bonanza show (which broke box office records) at the Blackpool Grand Theatre and the Princess Theatre, Torquay, for ten weeks, and later included Sundays at the Pavilion Theatre, Bournemouth. Pantomime 2000/2001 saw the boys star at the Alhambra Theatre, Bradford.
2001/02 pantomime season saw them starring in Aladdin with Tricia Penrose at the Theatre Royal, Nottingham.
Tommy and Bobby appeared at the Comedy Bonanza, Blackpool Grand Theatre throughout the summer of 2002 and went on to star in Dick Whittington as Captain and Captain’s Mate at the New Theatre Cardiff.
This followed with them starring in summer season at the Britannia Pier, Great Yarmouth and Weymouth Pavilion Theatre.
The box office hit a new record-breaking high at the Grand Theatre, Wolverhampton with Peter Pan for one for the longest running seasons in the UK 2003/2004. The boys played Starkey and Smee, two bumbling pirates, much to the annoyance of the evil Captain Hook.
Tommy and Bobby returned to our television screens early in 2004 with the BBC1 series Revolver, a comedy sketch show that brought together a whole host of talent that we all know and love, such as John Inman, Leslie Phillips and Honor Blackman.
The summor of 2004 the boys teamed up with The Grumbleweeds as they performed at the Grand Theatre with the hugely popular Comedy Bonanza, they also appeared at the Britannia Pier Great Yarmouth, Futurist Theatre Scarborough and the Embassy Skegness.
They went on to feature in an episode of the new series of Last of the Summer Wine which was transmitted in March 2005.
The boys starred in Peter Pan at the Civic Theatre, Darlington in the 2004/05 panto season, playing Smee and Yoo.
Even after 40 years of making people laugh, Tommy and Bobby are still enjoying every minute and are looking forward to entertaining for many years to come.
The strength of any artist in show business these days is to know when to change their style and direction; to progress and develop and move forward, instead of resting on their laurels of former glories. The great art, however, is to anticipate future trends and remain one step ahead of the pack, by making exactly the right move at exactly the right time.
For The Grumbleweeds 1998 marked an exciting change in their career. After 25 years in show business, as a five piece musical band, the group decided that the time was right to make a major change in direction. Drawing on all their years of experience and know-how, they introduced a sparkling new, fast-moving act, embracing the entire spectrum of entertainment, to take them into the millennium with a vengeance. Yet despite the change, the emphasis has remained very firmly placed on music, comedy and impressions.
The Grumbleweeds success over the past 30-odd years has been moulded to perfection through domestic cabaret clubs, concerts, pantomimes and summer seasons. It was on radio however, that they made a major breakthrough with their highly successful BBC Radio 2 series, The Grumbleweeds Radio Show, which ran from 1979 to 1988 – 15 series of programmes in all and received the prestigious Best Radio Show award from the Television and Radio Industries Awards in 1983.
The Grumbleweeds story started in Leeds in 1962, when the group was first formed by Robin Colvill and Graham Walker. They spent the next few years undertaking the usual round of clubs and pubs in their native Yorkshire and overseas engagements in Germany, following in the footsteps of bands such as The Beatles and The Rolling Stones. They turned fully professional in 1967, following an appearance on television’s Opportunity Knocks. They went on to appear on Max Bygraves Meets New Faces, courtesy of Johnny Hamp, who nearly 20 years later, masterminded their popular TV series, ambiguously titled The Grumbleweeds Radio Show.
In the years in between, the group, now a duo and slimmed down to the originals, Robin Colvill and Graham Walker, have enjoyed success in most aspects of entertainment, even down to appearing on such programmes as Coronation Street, Max and Paddy’s Road to Nowhere, Emmerdale and Heartbeat as serious actors. (Serious-ish!)
They are heralded throughout the business by their peers, as “The Governors”, enjoying record-breaking success in virtually every major seaside resort in the UK, Australia, Germany, the Falklands, South America, Spain, the Canaries, New Zealand and cruise ships all over the world. They maintain the enviable skill of being able to entertain an audience ranging from family to stag to corporate with apparent ease.
The Grumbleweeds are firmly established as a number-one attraction in the country and look forward to enjoying even more success in the future.
One of the comments most received is “How refreshing to be in pain with laughter and not have to endure any foul language!” Check out what people are saying or leave a message on their website www.thegrumbleweeds.com.
Ray Alan & Lord Charles
Ray Alan, acclaimed on American television as “the world’s greatest ventriloquist”, was born in Greenwich, London and educated in Lewisham.
At the age of five he had his first taste of applause when he entered a talent show at his local Gaumont Cinema and at 13 was a call-boy at the Lewisham Hippodrome Theatre. A year later, with a magic and impressions act, he entertained at private functions. He introduced ventriloquism into his act as a brief novelty and also sang and played ukulele.
Ray toured all the leading variety theatres and spent eight months in cabaret in India. In 1954 he played a never-to-be-forgotten tour with the famous comedians Laurel and Hardy. In that same year Ray appeared at the famous Moss Empires with Howard Keel.
With the emergence of television, Ray introduced Lord Charles into his act and the two made their television debut on the BBC’s Good Old Days (a show for which Ray holds a record number of appearances). He also created Tich and Quackers for a children’s TV series, which ran for seven years, and Ali Cat for HTV’s network series Magic Circle. For two years he was the host of BBC’s Ice Show and graduated to chair the high-rating panel games Where in the World and the children’s quiz show It’s Your Word.
Domestically he has headlined his own summer shows and Christmas seasons. On TV he has guested on all the major variety shows, including Celebrity Squares, Give Us A Clue, Blankety Blank, Starburst, Entertainment Express, London Night Out, Family Fortunes, The Bob Monkhouse Show, The Des O’Connor Show, 3-2-1, Bullseye, Blue Peter, The Paul Daniels Show and the Ronn Lucas Show besides hosting his own series Three Little Words, Where In The World, The Magic Show and Cartoon Carnival.
Internationally, he has appeared on television and in cabaret all over the world. In May 1985 Ray was one of the special guest stars chosen to appear in Bob Hope’s Birthday Show. Staged in the presence of HRH Prince Philip at London’s Lyric Theatre and screened on the NBC TV network throughout America and by ITV in Britain, the show celebrated, the comedian’s 82nd birthday. Lord Charles also made an appearance as a guest on a Liberace TV special and along with Ray also worked with Jack Benny.
Ray Alan devised, wrote and presented the Channel 4 documentary A Gottle of Geer, the title of which was taken for his first book on the secrets of the ventriloquial art, published by Pagoda Books, followed shortly after by a second book Lord Charles Wine Guide. Ray Alan also devised, wrote and presented another Channel 4 documentary Starmakers (the history of the variety agents) and wrote and hosted BBC Radio 2’s popular series The Impressionists and presented Woodentops for BBC Radio 2 talking about the history of ventriloquism.
He is in great demand at conference and corporate functions as well as after-dinner speaking engagements and cabaret. Ray has also been performing on board the cruise liners for many years including world cruises on the Canberra, Oriana, Oceana and Adonia and he continues to entertain passengers throughout 2004 on board the QE2 and the new QMII along with his many engagements performing at venues throughout the UK.