Programme Notes

To describe Tommy Cannon and Bobby Ball as stars is at the very least an understatement. To describe them as superstars and a true phenomenon is perhaps more accurate. Since their debut TV series for London Weekend Television in 1979, they have not only become top TV stars with their own television series and specials every year, but they are without doubt the biggest box office attraction in the UK.

In the summer of '85 their ten week run at the Opera House, Blackpool smashed all previous records by playing to over 300,000 people and grossing over �1 million. Results in 86 were the same when they played a serie at the Bournemouth International Centre. Bookings for their 86/87 pantomime flooded in and 'Babes in the Wood' at the Alhambra Theatre was yet another success with the record-books once again having to be re-written!

Cannon and Ball's star status is further enhanced by the fact that they are the only act in showbusiness to have won three seperate National Club Awards; they have enjoyed success as recoding artistes with both singles and albums; starred in their own feature film 'The Boys In Blue'; triumphed in numerous popularity polls and have also been named Showbusiness Personalities of the Year by the Variety Club of Great Britain, the highest accolade that can be bestowed by fellow professionals.

Bobby (Robert Harper) and Tommy (Thomas Derbyshire) were former workmates at an Oldham engineering factory in the 1960's. By day they were welders, but at night they became the Harper Brothers, a singing duo, which achieved a great deal of popularity in the Northern clubs.

It soon became evident that Bobby had a natural flair for comedy and this was complemented by Tommy's ability to remain straight-faced; acting as the perfect foil. Singing remained part of their act, but the comedy content grew stronger as did their popularity.

Since then their career of over twenty years is showbusiness history - their series and specials are always in the top TV ratings and they play to capacity audiences not just in the UK, but even in Australia and the Middle East.

1987 was just as busy as ever for Cannon and Ball. Following the finish of their pantomime in Bradford at the end of February, Tommy and Bobby took a well earned holiday and then straight into a spring tour from mid-April until the end of June. Their summer season at Blackpool Opera House commenced mid July until the end of October - another marathon record breaking fourteen week season.

The Guiness Book of Records had to be re-written yet again when Cannon and Ball took their pantomime 'Babes in the Wood' for the 1987/8 Christmas season to the most famous variety theatre in the world - The London Palladium. During its breathtaking �2 million run another record was created, when during one week ticket sales contributed to the biggest box office gross in the history of the British theatre.

The London Palladium embraces true stars and makes them feel at home, and the London Palladium certainly became a second home to Tommy and Bobby; where, in addition to their pantomime season, from the same stage they recorded their TV Christmas special; appeared with Jimmy Tarbuck as his guest stars in LWT's Live from the Palladium series, and appeared in the Royal Variety Show before Her Majesty The Queen and His Royal Highness Prince Philip.

A completely new venture took off during spring 1989, when Cannon and Ball starred in the comedy play 'You'll Do For Me' which was directed by Brian Rix and toured throughout Britain.

Summer '89 was spent in Scarborough with Sunday concerts being held across the Pennines where they starred at the Opera House in Blackpool.

Following summer season they recorded for Yorkshire Television and undertook a cabaret tour. Their lavish 'Babes in the Wood' was at Birmingham Hippodrom Christmas 89/90 followed by more work with Yorkshire Television. A spring tour during 1990 was followed by a summer season at the Britannia Pier Great Yarmouth and more cabaret work towards the end of the year.

They will be playing a short tour before playing the 25 week summer North Pier 1991 here at Blackpool.

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The Mike Ryal Orchestra