Letters - January 5, 2017

Ken Dodd
Ken Dodd
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SIR KEN DODD

See this comic legend while you can

For those who have never seen the living legend Sir Ken Dodd perform ‘live’ on a theatre stage, I urge you to do so before it’s too late. He is now 90 years of age, and undoubtedly the hardest working British comedian of all time.

He started his career in 1954 playing many of the northern working men’s clubs. His energetic and eccentric appearance made him very different to the other comedians of his generation. By 1965 he was a household name, at the top of his game, performing 42 weeks of sell-out ‘live’ shows at The London Palladium and doing three marathon shows on a Saturday!

He also has a fine light baritone singing voice and actually out sold the ‘Beatles’ in 1965 with his ballad song ‘Tears’. He sold millions of records in what was then a very lucrative easy listening market.

In 1971 he was invited to play Malvolio in William Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night. He also appeared in Kenneth Branagh’s film version of Shakespeare’s Hamlet in 1996.

His comedy act today still features a mix of song and ventriloquism with his ancient puppet ‘Dickie Mint’. Ken Dodd has the brilliance of taking the ‘Mickey’ out of himself with being a poor vent act.

In 1989 having worked non stop for 35 years, he was the subject of a major Inland Revenue tax investigation. He instructed the late George Carmen QC to represent him who famously quoted “some accountants are comedians - but comedians are never accountants”. When asked by the judge “what does £100,000 in a suitcase feel like?” Ken Dodd famously replied, “Its very light M’Lord”.

His Crown Court trial lasted three weeks, he was finally acquitted. Although the trial took its toll on his health, in hindsight it re-ignited his career and before long was back at The London Palladium performing sell-out shows in 1990.

Ken Dodd has performed many times at various theatres in Blackpool during his long standing career. Ken Dodd has stated publicly that The Grand Theatre in Blackpool is one of his favourite places. He has a brilliant brain, blessed with a comedy gift, with delivery and timing that may never be seen again. A definite ‘one off’ unique character. He has also done a lot for charity and made his home town city of Liverpool proud. He duly deserved to be knighted by the Queen in the 2017 New Year’s Honours List.

Stephen 
Pierre

via email

FRACKING

Time to put our trust in the industry

Following on from my previous correspondence with you concerning fracking for which I received a number of unbalanced replies. It is most, most unfortunate that a reputable body such as Friends of the Earth have had to retract some of their media and advertising publicity.

My view remains the same as ever. Fracking in the UK is new. So were gas lights and electricity 100 years ago. We have to trust in the industry. There will be enough governing bodies observing their practices.

We require long term employment in Lancashire especially among our young people and this new industry can provide that.

When the matter arose a few years back now, I considered the industry long and hard, without emotion, and whether or not, it was in the my close vicinity.

Friends of the Earth have lost support amongst their clear and balanced thinking supporters. Greenpeace (to which I subscribe) also, have not come out of this far reaching enquiry, without criticism.

The horizontal fracturing industry to extract gas from shale, have presented a very balanced view throughout, and Cuadrilla in our area has done likewise.

Let us hope that now we can get on being self-sufficient in our energy needs and our area of employment deprivation given a much needed life line.

Stuart Sykes MBE

Chairman, Windmill Youth Group

APPEAL

Support end to 1% pay cap on nurses

The Royal College of Nursing is asking your readers to sign a petition (www.rcn.org.uk/nursingcounts) demanding an end to the 1 per cent pay cap on nurses.

There are currently 24,000 vacancies in the nursing workforce across the UK of which more than 2,000 are in the North West.

Our NHS is already struggling to cope with hospital bed shortages, long waiting times and under-staffed wards.

More than ever, we need to encourage people to consider nursing as a career and ensure we retain those already in the profession.

The evidence is strong that nurse numbers have a direct impact on patient health. It was recently announced that MPs would receive a 1.4 per cent pay rise and yet the Government has imposed a pay ‘glass ceiling’ on NHS staff who work long and unsociable shifts to try and keep the nation healthy.

Nurses enjoy a diverse and rewarding career that really makes a difference but they must be wondering exactly what they have to do to merit a pay award which reflects the value of their work.

We need 100,000 signatures otherwise nurses’ pay will not be considered for debate by Parliament.

Paul Wood

Operational Manager, RCN North West

ELECTIONS

Restrict postal votes - and fraud

Identity checks will not prevent election fraud.

The case for returning postal votes only to those who are on holiday, working or physically disabled is overwhelming.

Jack 
Brown

via email