Titbits 4th August 1979

Cannon and Ball are back with a bang

Comedy duo Cannon and Ball had nothing to smile about when they appeared on TV’s Opportunity Knocks. Their act was a flop.

But now the twosome are set to become household names with their current ITV series.

And again Tommy Cannon and Bobby Ball, who are already established as top club entertainers, are still keeping straight faces.

“We’re bom worriers,” explains Tommy (on the left in the picture). “TV is a relatively new experience for us. This is our first series.

“Even working with a script is strange after 15 years of ad-libbing.”

It is eight years since they appeared on Opportunity Knocks and had a chance to break into the big time.

“But we failed miserably,” says Bobby, “and it nearly broke our hearts. The applause from the audience failed to budge the clapometer. 

“And the show had a disastrous effect because lots of work was cancelled. We toyed with the idea of returning to the shop floor to earn enough money to feed our families.”

But Cannon and Ball stuck at it — and their patience has paid off.

“In a way failure helped us to view the future with more honesty,” says Tommy. “We knew we had talent, but it was obvious that we were channelling it in the wrong direction. 

“So we began to rebuild and we’ve finally succeeded in making the TV breakthrough.”

Both men are from Oldham, Lancashire, where they still live.

They met in the early 1960s when they worked as welders.

“We had never entertained outside of Lancashire and we didn’t know what to expect. But the response was so terrific that when we came home we handed in our notice,” says Tommy.

After a lot of hard work their fame began to spread and eventually they were voted Top Comedy Act by readers of a show business magazine.

Since then they have appeared in top TV variety shows. But nothing is more important than their own series.