Darlington Civic Theatre
The remarkable Ken Dodd, just a month short of his 84th birthday, was back in town for two nights of chuckle-muscle stretching fun.
The first night was a sell-out and I presume the second one was too. There's nobody quite like Ken Dodd. He has to be seen to be believed. By the end of the evening, one's watch usually has to be seen to be believed, too. Giving value for money is one of Dodd's obsessions; he simply can't bring himself to bring each private party to an end.
He appeared on the stage at 7.30 p.m., banging 'The Great Drum of Knotty Ash', and launched into a bombardment of jokes which didn't stop until 9.00 p.m. He then took a break - but there wasn't one for the cross-legged audience. Anne Jones took to the stage to provide half an hour of music and songs, before Dodd returned for another hour.
At 10.30 p.m., he announced the commencement of the interval. At this point, we had to jump ship and return home; not because we weren't enjoying the show, but because the advertised finishing time of 1.00 a.m. was stretching things a little bit too much.
Ken Dodd remains one of a kind. There will definitely never be another entertainer quite like him. Forthcoming tour dates can be seen on his website. Catch him while you can!