Summer 1999 – Blackpool


A production at the Blackpool Grand Theatre. The show included Cannon and Ball, Bucks Fizz, Johnnie Casson, The Roly Polys and Frank Carson as a special guest.

July 8th – August 28th Mon, Tues, Fri and Sat 8pm
Wed, Thurs 6:15pm and 8:45pm
August 29th – October 30th Mon, Tues, Thurs, Fri 8pm
Wed, Sat 6:15pm and 8:45pm

1999 Blackpool Ticket

Souvenir Programme

1999 Summer Programme

Cannon and Ball

1999 Summer ProgrammeTommy Cannon and Bobby Ball are one of Britain’s funniest and most successful double acts. Together they have achieved a string of honours that include them among the all-time greats of showbusiness.

The duo have starred in their own television series practically every year since 1979. If that wasn’t enough they have notched up an impressive array of television appearances including: Wogan, Parkinson, Des O’Connor Tonight, Noel Edmonds House Party, Talking Telephone Numbers, The Generation Game and Sunday Night at the Palladium, to name but a few.

Cannon and Ball remain the only act to have won three separate National Club Awards and be named as the Variety Club “Personalities of the Year.”

Tom and Bob have broken venue records all over the UK, including London. In 1981 they played a six week season at the Dominion Theatre, where every seat was sold before the show even opened. In 1988 their pantomime Babes in the Wood broke all previous pantomime records at the world famous London Palladium. It was during this run, at The Palladium, that Cannon and Ball created the record for the largest box office take in a single week in British theatre history.

During their previous Summer Season at the Blackpool Grand Theatre, Rock with Laughter ’96 fulfilled Tommy and Bobby’s ambition to star in their own Rock ‘n’ Roll spectacular.

In the spring of 1999 the boys appeared at various theatres across the country starring in An Evening at the Music Hall with their tour of An Audience with…

Even after all these years Tommy and Bobby are still enjoying every minute and are looking forward to entertaining for a long time to come.

Bucks Fizz

1999 Summer ProgrammeEveryone remembers Bucks’ Fizz as the winners of the 1981 Eurovision Song Contest for their exhilarating performance of, Making Your Mind Up and, of course, the unique costume change half way through this catchy number!

Step back in time with the new Bucks’ Fizz and relive such hits as Land of Make Believe, My Camera Never Lies, Now These Days are Gone, Power of Dreams and New Beginning. The line-up still includes original main vocalist Bobby Gubby, known as Bobby G, who is now joined by the extraordinary talents of Heidi Manton, Louise Hart and Graham Crisp.

With world-wide record sales exceeding £50 million and a host of gold and silver records to boot, Bucks’ Fizz are destined to remain in our minds as something altogether more popular than the drink from which they take their name – but no less intoxicating.

Johnny Casson

1999 Summer ProgrammeThis popular Yorkshireman started his showbiz career touring the country as drummer with the very popular Cresters. Do you remember where you were during the swinging 60’s and 70’s? Johnnie has a clear recollection of The Cresters playing such venues as Batley Variety Club, Wakefield Theatre Club, Caesar’s Palace and The Maltings, where they backed Tammy Wynette on several television specials.

On or off stage requests for Johnnie’s appearances are outstripping available dates. Television shows: This is Your Life, Stars in their Eyes and The Krypton Factor have all greatly benefited by first having the audience warmed by Johnnie.

Is it any wonder, then, that after appearing on Des O’Connor Tonight in 1997, Des proclaimed that Johnnie was one of the funniest comedians to appear on the show and a subsequent invitation to guest at Bruce Forsyth’s 70th Birthday Special followed?

Every major cabaret venue has, at one time, succumbed to the dynamic and hilarious talents of the man with ‘the mixed-up metaphors’. So, sit back and relax while Johnnie’s original blend of humour brings first a smile then…uncontrollable laughter!

The Roly Polys

1999 Summer ProgrammeThe Roly Polys first bounced onto our screens during a Les Dawson show in 1982. The idea of the act, originated by Les Dawson and Ernest Maxim especially for a BBC television series, is, today, bigger than anyone could ever have imagined!

Before joining The Roly Polys Mo did an act with her husband, Marie was a choreographer and Sue had a dancing school in Wolverhampton. Mo, Marie and Sue are now joined by Sandy and Zeb who complete the line-up. Although the troop are big favourites in UK Pantomime and cabaret, the girls tell us they’re just as popular in Japan, South America and the continent.

Hobbies include swimming, knitting, and cooking. They would love to go horse riding but the RSPCA stepped in!

Frank Carson

1999 Summer ProgrammeThis zany Irish Comic received his lucky break through television producer Barney Coleham who, spotting his talents, signed him to appear once on the top television show The Good Old Days! Frank proved such a success he was signed for another five shows.

Through the immense exposure Frank received he caught the eye of the Head of Granada Light Entertainment, Johnny Hamp, who convinced Frank to appear on The Comedians. The Comedians later toured with a specially staged theatre show smashing box office records at every venue.

Many television appearances followed and Frank became a popular choice for Cabaret, Pantomime and Summer Season all over the United Kingdom.

After captivating audiences across Britain, Frank decided to take his act overseas, visiting Australia, Canada and the Middle and Far East.

Frank devotes as much time to charity work as he does performing. From his Captaincy of The Variety Club of Great Britain Golfing Society in 1981, to raising £130,000 for the Belfast Royal Victoria Hospital Children’s Cancer Ward, Frank always finds time to lend a hand.

In 1987 Frank was officially recognised for his incredible dedication to helping those less fortunate when he was awarded one of the greatest honours of the Catholic Church: he was knighted to the order of St Gregory by his Holiness the Pope.

Frank is proud to rank many members of the royal family among his greatest fans. Tonight’s show promises to be ‘A Cracker’ …it’s just the way he tells em!

1999 summer photo
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Gary Bushell, The Sun

Weak-end telly

Saturday night telly is a disgrace. ITV haven’t launched a successful Saturday evening show since Gladiators in 1992 (Although they did kill off The Big Big Talent Show just after it hit 10 million viewers.) The BBC have managed just one new hit, The Other Half which has made it to series three and a 39 per cent viewing share.

The list of Saturday stinkers grows even longer – Families At War, Would I Lie To You, Give Your Mates A Break – while old formats haemorrhage viewers. And what are TV bosses doing about it?

BBC1 have hired a panel of TV novices to think up new formats (if that doesn’t work they’ll have a crack team of monkeys working round the clock). And ITV are blaming everyone but themselves as usual.

Why not learn from Joe Public? Blackpool’s hottest show is a variety bill starring Cannon and Ball with Frank Carson, Johnnie Casson, Buck’s Fizz and the Roly-Polys. It isn’t smart, post-modern or fashionable. But it’s doing 90 per cent business with 900 customers a night.

Gary Bushell
The Sun

Full cast photo  Cannon and Ball with Frank Carson

Tourist Gazette

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Out to have a Ball…

By Robin Duke, Entertainments Editor

Tommy Cannon and Bobby Ball couldn’t be happier.

They’re back in their favourite resort, they’re topping the bill of a traditional variety show – and if advance interest is anything to go by their Comedy Bonanza 99 production at the Grand Theatre looks like being the hit of this final summer of the 20th century

“We always wanted to do this summer season but first it was on, then it was off, and then back on again,” said Tommy this week when hoteliers and guesthouse owners were treated to a bite-sized showcase of a bill which also features Frank Carson, Johnnie Casson, Bucks Fizz and the Roly Polys.

“It’s the best variety show in Blackpool – and therefore probably the best variety bill in the country,” enthuses Bobby, whose recent move to the St Annes area means he’s just minutes away from the Grand.

“The only thing missing is the dancers but it’s still a hell of a bill,” says Tommy. “We are here to get some belly laughs – that’s what people want when they are on holiday. It’s what they expect from a summer season show and if this bill can’t give them that then we might as well all pack it in right now.”
He admits that for him and Bobby it’s also a two-way thing.

“We still get an adrenaline rush from hearing that laughter,” he says. “You just want to keep it going as long as you can.”

Both comedians are pleased that the Grand has put its faith in a variety bill packed with familiar Blackpool names.

“We’ve been brought up in that tradition of summer seasons,” says Tommy. “When we started out a 12-week run was considered short and now an eight-week one in most places is stretching it. But so many of the new performers won’t even consider that long – they’ve not been brought up with that tradition, there’s a feeling that summer shows aren’t quite respectable enough for them.”

But he’s optimistic for the future.

“Like anything else it’s a circle, it will come back again,” he says. “My daughter Kelly is nine next birthday and she put some flares on for a party and thought they were the height of fashion – I showed her a picture of Bobby and me on TV’s Wheeltappers and Shunters Club wearing flares you could have hidden someone up. She couldn’t believe it.

“It’s like Vic Reeves and Bob Mortimer. A whole generation suddenly thinks they’ve invented the art of being a double act – but all they are doing is taken the tradition and developing it.

“And there’s always people who will want to see a live act rather than just watch the television.”

It’s been three years since the comedy couple last played a summer season in Blackpool and since then they’ve “had a great time in America,” cropped up on various TV shows, and toured the country with both their Christian show (there’s another one planned for later this year), as well as An Audience With Cannon & Ball.

“We were worried we wouldn’t have enough material to go it alone,” says Bobby. “But the first night we did two and a half hours. I think the audience thought they’d walked into a Ken Dodd show!”

And now they are back in their favourite resort.

“In essence Blackpool is where our career started – the first talent show we ever won was in Blackpool -where the Empire Bingo Club is now on Hawes Side Lane, and North Pier was when we first really took off,” says Bobby. “It’s always been our second home – and now that I live here, it’s my first one too!”

Comedy Bonanza 99 runs from Thursday, July 8 to Saturday, October 30. Ticket details from 01253290190.