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9th December 2004
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Cannon And Ball
UK, ITV (LWT, *Yorkshire), Sketch/standup/**sitcom, Colour, 1978
Starring: Tommy Cannon, Bobby Ball

After years on the northern cabaret circuit, comedians Tommy Cannon (the lighter-haired one, real name Thomas Derbyshire) and Bobby Ball (the darker-haired, moustachioed and smaller one, real name Robert Harper) broke into TV as part of Bruce Forsyth's Big Night, a weekly compendium of stand-alone items presented by Brucie on Saturday nights in late 1978. The former welders from Oldham, who had previously worked under the name the Harper Brothers, became major stars very quickly, soon winning their first own series, which, unfortunately for them, was interrupted by the ITV network strike of 1979. Nonetheless, with their Abbott And Costello-like antics and catchphrases such as 'Rock on, Tommy' they retained a strong presence on ITV through the 1980s, and moved into the cinema in 1983 with their oneoff movie The Boys In Blue (director Val Guest).

Three of their 11 series were distinct from the others: in the six programmes beginning 26 April 1986 and also the six beginning 10 January 1987 (the second set all written by Bryan Blackburn) a sitcom premise was explored, in which Tommy and Bobby stayed in a well-appointed London flat when they were down south, away from their Rochdale homes. Casino, from 19 May 1990, was part comedy-show, part game-show (with Cannon and Ball as question-masters). Clearly, the comics were eager to try something new, and a year later they appeared in the ITV sitcom Plaza Patrol

Researched and written by Mark Lewisohn.

Tommy Cannon
Bobby Ball

Geoffrey Sax - Director
David Crossman - Director
David Bell - Director
Alasdair Macmillan - Director
Paul Jackson - Director
Terry Kinane - Director
Marcus Plantin - Director
Ian Hamilton - Director
Michael Hurll - Director
Graham Wetherell - Director
Humphrey Barclay - Producer
David Bell - Producer
Sid Green - Producer
Paul Jackson - Producer
Marcus Plantin - Producer
Ian Hamilton - Producer
Michael Hurll - Producer
Graham Wetherell - Producer
Transmission Details
Number of episodes: 75 Length: 43 · 30 mins · 22 · 45 mins · 6 · 60 mins · 4 · approx 15 mins
Series One (4 x approx 15 mins) 4 Nov-18 Nov 1978 · part of Bruce Forsyth's Big Night · Sat from 7.25pm; 24 Dec 1978 · part of Bruce Forsyth's Christmas Eve · Sun from 7.15pm
Series Two (first own series) (6 x 30 mins) 28 July & 4 Aug 1979 · Sat 8pm; 26 Oct-16 Nov 1979 · Sat 8.30pm
Series Three (7 x 30 mins) 11 Apr-23 May 1980 · Fri 7.30pm
Special (45 mins) Cannon And Ball For Christmas 20 December 1980 · Sat 6pm
Series Four (6 x 30 mins) 25 Apr-30 May 1981 · Sat 7.35pm
Special (60 mins) Cannon And Ball At Drury Lane 2 Jan 1982 · Sat 7pm
Series Five (6 x 30 mins) The Cannon And Ball Show 8 May-12 June 1982 · Sat 7.15pm
Special (60 mins) The Cannon And Ball Easter Show 2 Apr 1983 · Sat 8.15pm
Series Six (6 x 45 mins) 3 Dec 1983-21 Jan 1984 · Sat 7pm
Series Seven (6 x 45 mins) 13 Oct-17 Nov 1984 · Sat 7pm
Special (60 mins) Christmas Cannon And Ball 21 Dec 1985 · Sat 7.45pm
**Series Eight (6 x 30 mins) 26 Apr-31 May 1986 · Sat 7pm
Special (60 mins) The Cannon And Ball Special 27 Dec 1986 · Sat 6.30pm
**Series Nine (6 x 30 mins) 10 Jan-14 Feb 1987 · Sat 6.45pm
Special (60 mins) The Cannon And Ball Special 2 Jan 1988 · Sat 7.40pm
Series Ten (6 x 30 mins) 28 May-2 July 1988 · Sat 7pm
*Special (60 mins) The Cannon And Ball Show 24 Dec 1988 · Sat 5.15pm
*Series Eleven (9 x 45 mins) Casino 19 May-25 Aug 1990 · Sat 6.10pm

The information in the Guide to Comedy is complied from 'The Radio Times Guide to Television Comedy' by Mark Lewisohn, published by BBC Books. More information about the book is available from the BBC Shop.
(The BBC is not responsible for the content of external links.)

Reviews supplied by Radio Times © 2003 BBC Worldwide - used under licence from BBC Worldwide.

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