Blackpool favourite Sir Ken Dodd was lost for words – almost – when he was dubbed a knight by the Duke of Cambridge.
Doddy, who is still touring at the age of 89, was overjoyed when William awarded him the honour during a Buckingham Palace investiture ceremony.
Famed for his wild hair, buck teeth, Diddymen and infamous “tickling stick”, the veteran comedian said about the honour: “I’m delighted and highly tickled.
“One of the happiest things is the joy and pleasure it brings to your family and friends and then you say to yourself it is a great honour and I just hope I’ll be worthy of it.”
Born the son of a coal merchant in 1927 in Knotty Ash, Liverpool, Sir Ken made his professional debut at the Nottingham Empire Theatre in 1954 and has been performing regularly ever since.
His talent led to shows on the radio and television and a recording career, with his signature tune Happiness released in 1964.
The following year a 42-week run at the London Palladium cemented his status and he also made it into the Guinness Book of Records for telling 1,500 jokes in three and a half hours.
In 1989, he was charged with tax evasion but was acquitted after a three-week trial.
Despite his age Sir Ken’s work ethic is renown with his gigs regularly lasting hours - and throughout 2017 he is touring the nation with his Happiness show, with four shows at the Grand Theatre.
Sir Ken added: “Some of my shows last over four hours but there’s also a supporting cast, we do it as a team so I love to have other acts on the same show.” The veteran comic said the fans who come to his gigs kept him going: “It’s the audiences, you live off an audience.
“I tell people I’ve got the best job in the world, because I only see happy people.
“I only see them laughing and it’s a wonderful feeling, it comes over to you on the stage when you have an audience laughing their socks off.
“I won’t hang my tickling stick up, till I have to.”
Sir Ken said he had left his tickling sticks behind at his hotel but he improvised with a fluffy microphone cover after the ceremony, when he posed for pictures.
What are his links to resort?
Sir Doddy’s connection with Blackpool goes back to 1955 when he appeared in the resort just 12 months after turning professional.
The following year he returned to the seaside where he had a part in “Let’s Have Fun”.
His performance at the Central Pier was part of a comedy revue with Jimmy James and company.
Also on the same bill were Jimmy Clitheroe and Roy Castle.
Eventually, Ken gained top billing at Blackpool in 1958. He then guested on TV and radio shows and made many appearances on BBC TV’s long running programme, The Good Old Days.
In the 1990s An Audience With Ken Dodd on ITV was a ratings winner and introduced the comedian to a new generation.