TV Times 13th October 1984

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TV Times 13th Oct 1984 contents TV Times 13th Oct 1984 contents

All Aboard the Tommy and Bobby Boat Show

By Stewart Knowles

After 20 years ‘marriage’ on stage, comedians Cannon and Ball have now become neighbours-at-sea, each with a boat of his own. In the closing weeks of summer, two handsome motor cruisers have been tied up side-by-side, or prow-to-stern, at Torquay’s marina, close to the Princess Theatre where the Lancashire comics have been topping the bill. They return to ITV on Saturday with a new series.

Bobby Ball bought his boat two years ago but has only recently managed to persuade his partner, Tommy Cannon, a golfing nut, to have a rest from the tees and fairways, and take to the waves.

Cannon arrives hot foot from the local course to join Ball on the quayside. ‘Rock on Tommy!’ cry the kids, taking in the snazzy golfing outfit of bright yellow trousers, yellow and white shirt in bold hoop stripes and gleaming white shoes. ‘Dead elegant,’ says Ball, sporting workmanlike anorak over dark clothes, ready to put to sea for a mackerel-fishing expedition. ‘It’s a great way to get away from it all.’

The boats, appropriately enough are almost a matching set and could easily be labelled ‘His’ and ‘His’. In fact, Ball decided to call his 23ft cruiser Smile, after a song he was writing at the time.

TV Times 13th Oct 1984 articleTV Times 13th Oct 1984 article

‘Before I bought the boat she was called For Sale,’ he quips. ‘I’ve always wanted a boat, but it was never anything I could imagine having. Then, two years ago, before a summer season in Scarborough, I decided to splash out. Now, I’m totally hooked,’ says Ball who has been having some success as a mackerel fisherman, catching enough to provide himself and his wife, Yvonne, with the occasional fish supper.

Tommy Cannon watched Bobby Ball’s growing enthusiasm from a safe distance. Then, a few weeks before this summer’s season ended, he took the plunge and bought a motor cruiser of his own called Bright Eyes. ‘Bob finally managed to drag me off the golf course and took me out on his boat. I absolutely loved it and I knew I had to have one,’ says Cannon. ‘The cabin’s a bit small but what can you expect? I’ll keep this until I get fed up with it and then I’ll buy a better one.’

Bobby Ball has already sold Smile and is now looking for something larger. ‘I want something big enough to make proper journeys – like going across the Channel. Meanwhile, I’m having sailing lessons. That’s even more exciting. Who knows? Maybe it’ll be a yacht next. Mind you, this one picks her feet up. I can get 12 knots out of her. But I just love pottering about on the water. Tommy can relax on the golf course, I can relax on the water.’

‘Relax?’ says Tommy Cannon incredulously. ‘Golf is a ridiculously hard game and I sometimes wonder why I bother with it. I’ve tried to get Bob interested but he just hasn’t the patience. I’ll tell you this – handling a boat, even though it can be a bit tricky, is a lot easier than golf. . .’

One thing’s for sure, when the comedy duo shortly find themselves on stage in Australia for a six-week season, they’ll find plenty of outlets for their love of boats and boating. Taking to the water has long been part of the Down Under lifestyle.