Friday, April 02, 2010

The illustrated Hello: Tommy Cannon, Bobby Ball

In the last couple of years, Cannon and Ball have started to get the sort of relocation in the nation's affections that - simply by not dying - stars sometimes do as those who were kids when they were famous get old enough to book television and radio programmes.

And although they might be popping up on Sport Relief and not-too-bad on Simon Mayo's Radio 4 comedy quiz, it's worth remembering that their double glazing advert is closer to the true spirit of what they were like.

Very much of the second string of double acts - somewhere between Little And Large and Lennie and Jerry in the pecking order - their awfulness was pretty much summed up in their first LWT programme, where an early sketch required the knowledge that Rock On Tommy was Bobby Ball's catchphrase for the punchline to work. Maybe at the end of the series. Maybe in the middle. But first programme?

Still, they were popular enough for a while, and even managed somehow to get a film made. The Boys In Blue, which was effectively a remake of a Will Hay movie about the police. Wisely, they updated the plot to the present day. Somewhat foolishly, they forgot to add in any jokes.

Somehow, The Boys In Blue managed to generate a spin-off ITV sit-com. But just as substandard policemen tend to drift into the private security business, a police comedy that didn't quite make the grade got reinvented as a sit com about security guards.

However, while The Boys In Blue is a footnote in C&B's career (a staging post on the route to losing all their money and getting born again), it also marks the point where they tried to launch a career making comedy records too. Ladies and gentlemen, this is Cannon And Ball - the single:



They should have just got Tommy to sing a song, and have Bobby in the background going 'rat-ta-tat-ta-tat'. That got them through most of their Saturday night shows.

[Part of the Illustrated Hello]


2 comments:

Chris Brown said...

I'm glad you told us that was supposed to be a comedy record. I'm not sure I'd have noticed otherwise. Still, I sat through more than I should have of that related video of 'Sometimes When We Touch' before I realised it wasn't even meant to be funny.

If you ever meet my Granny, she might tell you her Cannon & Ball story.

Peter D said...

I have a cannon and ball story that I bore people with, watch the short one, he is an evil little shit.

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