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Ken Dodd: The Biography

Ken Dodd: The Biography [Kindle Edition]

Stephen Griffin
3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)

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Product Description


A reminder of Dodd's joyful brilliance (The Mail on Sunday)

Product Description

This is the first complete biography of the last of the great British comedians. A new generation of fans and comedians, including Johnny Vegas, Victoria Wood and Vic Reeves, are now rediscovering Dodd's unique talents. Dodd has a huge and fiercely loyal fanbase and is still touring the country, performing in packed venues an average of two nights a week with his legendary four-hour sets. 'I do it because that is what I do. I do it because that is what I am,' he said, when asked why he continues with this punishing schedule. Ken Dodd's career has spanned over five decades as he went from singer to actor, and presently, most famously, comedian. He is considered the last, great, music-hall-inspired variety comic, but what drives this man whose career has been tainted by hardship? Dodd still lives in his childhood home of Knotty Ash and has never married, despite having two-long term fiances. In 1989, his strange relationship to money culminated in a trial for tax evasion, and he was also famously stalked by a mystery woman. How did this feather-duster salesman become one of the most loved, though least-lauded, British comedians of all time? Stephen Griffin interviewed friends, colleagues and fellow comedians to get inside the mind of the original Diddyman.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 483 KB
  • Print Length: 296 pages
  • Publisher: Michael O' Mara Books (13 Jun 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 184317281X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1843172819
  • ASIN: B00568LEP6
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #60,758 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Hardly definitive 4 Jan 2008
"Ken Dodd the Biography"? Slightly cheeky title, that, suggesting as it does a
definitive study. Dodd himself offered no cooperation and spoke darkly of "pirates"
who'd written about him against his will in a recently repeated edition of BBC's Arena programme
celebrating his eighty years; Michael Billington's monograph, now several decades
old, was the only book he spoke about with warmth (try your library).

Griffin's book passes the time agreeably enough but his prose doesn't have the
sparkle of a John Fisher (Funny Way to Be a Hero & Tommy Cooper), nor is there the
sense of involvement of a Graham McCann (Morecambe and Wise & Frankie
Howerd)- ie the author doesn't have a compelling enough individual style to
compensate for the lack of direct access to his subject. True, there are some insights
from sympathetic interviewees like Roy Hudd but also a fair amount of pointless
soundbites from celebrities (Anne Widdecombe?!) which don't offer much or are
quoted too briefly to be of use; Bob Monkhouse - not, in my view, a natural comic but
one who undoubtedly understood and appreciated others - is the notable exception

One plus point is that Griffin does offer chapter and verse on the tax trial, which earlier
books obviously couldn't do, but overall there seems little sense of the comedian's
inner life. Dodd spoke in the Arena documentary of writing his autobiography; let's
hope he is spared to do so. Though in fairness to Griffin maybe Monkhouse's
comment that for Dodd "everything offstage is an interval" means that Dodd the person
is of less interest than the "clever, spinning Dervish of a madman that he has invested
with life" when performing.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An Excellent Ticklemus Gift 12 Jan 2009
I found this book so readable I was unable to put it down. It's extremely well researched, including personal interviews as well as press cuttings. I had no difficulty relating the person revealed in the book to the clown I once saw live on the stage.

Anyone looking for a different person than the one who reveals himself in his shows, or is described in this book, is pursuing a chimera. This is Ken Dodd, warts and all. Dodd himself gave up trying to analyse comedy after discovering that comedy is what makes people laugh. Amateur psychologists should do the same.

Dodd bought a house he never lived in because he prefers familiar things.
His was a life for living not for accounting. He never cared for details and he never cared to reveal his private thoughts. It's others, not Dodd himself, who suggested he never married because of parental influence - he never could get used to the idea of forming another family.

He still lives in the house where he was born, the table is still set the way his mother used to set it and the HP bottle is out as it always was. He's still the bloke from Knotty Ash, who still lives in Knotty Ash and will always live in Knotty Ash. No further explanation is required and there's no reason why Ken Dodd should be asked to provide one either.

And who can blame him given the way his private life was stripped away during his trial for tax evasion?. True to form Dodd turned disaster (he did have to pay a lot of back tax) into triumph with a lot of well received Revenue inspired material.

Griffin has got it right. Dodd has kept the old music hall tradition alive with a madcap routine which provides audiences with excellent value for money (I left his live show at 12.40 a.m. when he was still going strong having been there since 7.30.p.m)!!! An excellent read, well worth the money.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ken Dodd: The Biography 25 Feb 2011
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I found this to be a very interesting and informative book and well worth having for any Ken Dodd fan .
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15 of 19 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Ken Dodd - A Biography (not The Biography) 15 Nov 2005
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This doesn't tell you much about Ken Dodd that couldn't be mostly gleaned from press cuttings and chatting to one or two people who know him. The definitive biography has yet to be written about this complex compulsive character who most people only know from his ebullient stage presence.
What of the real man and his less well-chronicled private side? That will have to wait for another day.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
By Peter H
Whatever you think of Ken Dodd or whether you laugh at his jokes you can't say the guy is lazy. From a hard life of rejection as a door-to-door salesman to the hard life of the club circuit you feel that his smallish cash-in-hand fortune has been well earned. Behind the crooked smiles he is tough guy from a tough city.

But what drives him - what motivates him to carry on when the lure of the holiday home and the golf course has captured so many stars of yesteryear?

Don't read this book to find out - because it is a case of "your guess is as good as mine." Indeed does author (Stephen Griffen) even like Ken Dodd or chuckle at his work? Hard to tell, although authors in love with stars write the worst biographies - unless you are of the same mind.

The famous cash-in-the-attic court case and an unlikely infatuated fan give variety and colour to a life that hasn't changed much in decades. The same clothes, the same jokes, the same songs and - probably - the same audience.

This is a solid book written by a solid author who has read every clipping and rang every dog-eared number in his black book. However too often this reads like the school homework of a bright pupil in a subject that interests him (personally) very little. There simply isn't enough material for the recycled tree. Too many questions. Too few answers.

If you are a fan you are far better with one of his DVD's than this product.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars Ken Ploddy
I was expecting more info, but got lots of long fluffy sentences. I skimmed some pages, unfortunately. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Angie Q
2.0 out of 5 stars nothing original
No input from Ken Dodd, just regurgitation of writing from other author and friends who met Ken Dodd, was disappointing
Published 4 months ago by Paul Webster
1.0 out of 5 stars Did he no he didnt
Not keen if Ken Dodd had contributed im sure it would have been better but i thought it was boring. I wont be reading it all
Published 5 months ago by Frances
4.0 out of 5 stars book
This was bought aS a present for my father, he is very pleased with the book. He been trying to find a copy in bookshops, to no avail .
Published 5 months ago by Jane Cole
5.0 out of 5 stars What a man
Ken interests me so much because of his massive generosity and ceaseless work. Just write one letter about a small closed theatre and a reply will come with signed photos and best... Read more
Published 6 months ago by Muriel
4.0 out of 5 stars An Interesting Biography, But It Could Never Tell The Full Story
Without doubt, Stephen Griffin's book provides a detailed and often amusing insight into a complex and fascinating performer, who is one of the last of a breed of entertainers, who... Read more
Published 6 months ago by Andrew McCann
4.0 out of 5 stars Ken Dodd
Another great read about this great comedian. It doesn't matter how many times you hear the same jokes you still have to laugh & was great to read all about his life
Published 7 months ago by Lynn
5.0 out of 5 stars THANK YOU
Published 10 months ago by afterdark
2.0 out of 5 stars Disapointing
Not what we expected really hard to get into, expected it to be really funny & it wasn't dissapointed xxxxx
Published 11 months ago by Rosie Dunning
5.0 out of 5 stars Doddy is always a good read
A good background story. It is interesting to get under the skin of how he ticks, And how hard he works at his act
Published 12 months ago by Amazon Customer
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