Tommy CANNON (1938-) and Bobby BALL (1944-)

Cannon and Ball
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THIS IS YOUR LIFE - Tommy Cannon and Bobby Ball, comedy double act, were surprised by Eamonn Andrews outside London’s Theatre Royal, Drury Lane.

The duo met in the early 1960s while working as welders in Oldham, Lancashire. They started out as singers working in the pubs and clubs of Greater Manchester, but switched to comedy after being told comics earned an extra £3 a night.

Their first television appearance was in 1974 on the variety show, The Wheeltappers and Shunters Social Club. A later performance on Bruce Forsyth's Big Night, led to ITV offering them their own television series, The Cannon and Ball Show, in July 1979.

“Get me a cigarette!”

Screenshots of Cannon ands Ball This Is Your Life

The Story of Television's Famous Big Red Book

Scriptwriter Roy Bottomley recalls the experience of this particular edition of This Is Your Life in his book This Is Your Life: The Story of Television's Famous Big Red Book...

The Life surprise on comedy duo Cannon and Ball came close to backfiring.

Eamonn loved elaborate pick-ups, and very good he was in them, so the names of Tommy Cannon and Bobby Ball were too good not to suggest an idea.

They were about to appear in the West End and a photo-call was being staged. Outside the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, we had a giant 'props' cannon built, and the 'ball' was supposed to be Eamonn. So he was bundled inside the 'barrel', all set to pop out and surprise the couple. But they walked straight past our 'cannon' - not knowing Eamonn was stuck inside.

The camera crew hauled him out in time to chase after Cannon and Ball with the book.

programme details...

  • Edition No: 578
  • Subject No: 574-575
  • Broadcast date: Wed 11 Nov 1981
  • Broadcast time: 7-7.30pm
  • Recorded: Thu 15 Oct 1981
  • Venue: Royalty Theatre
  • Series: 22
  • Edition: 5
  • Code Name: Armoury

on the guest list...

  • June Whitfield
  • Diana Dors
  • Faith Brown
  • Margaret – Tommy’s wife
  • Julie – Tommy’s daughter
  • Janette – Tommy’s daughter
  • Ian – Tommy’s son-in-law
  • Yvonne – Bobby’s wife
  • Joanne – Bobby’s daughter
  • Darren – Bobby’s son
  • Robert – Bobby’s son
  • Ken Kent
  • Hilda – Tommy’s cousin
  • Gladys – Tommy’s cousin
  • Joan – Tommy’s cousin
  • Shirley – Tommy’s cousin
  • Irene – Tommy’s cousin
  • Edith – Tommy’s cousin
  • Joyce – Tommy’s cousin
  • Alice – Tommy’s aunt
  • Fred Swift – Tommy’s cousin
  • Mavis – Bobby’s sister
  • May – Bobby’s mother
  • Bob – Bobby’s father
  • Trevor – Bobby’s brother-in-law
  • Denis Henthorne
  • Ronnie Ray
  • Nellie Holland
  • Charlie Drake
  • Brotherhood of Man
  • Pupils of Greenbank School
  • Filmed tributes:
  • Pupils of Greenbank School
  • Glyn Griffith - headmaster

external links...

production team...

  • Researcher: Brian Klein
  • Writers: Tom Brennand, Roy Bottomley
  • Directors: Paul Stewart Laing, Terry Yarwood
  • Producer: Jack Crawshaw
names listed in bold indicate subjects of This Is Your Life
Series 22 subjects: Bob Champion > Bill Fraser > Wayne Sleep > Ian Botham > Cannon and Ball > Rob Buckman > Angela Rippon > Julia McKenzie > Jackie Milburn > Paul Shane > Peter Adamson > Kiri Te Kanawa > Mickie Most > Anita Harris > Mike Brace > Faith Brown > Robin Bailey > Rod Hull > Bob Monkhouse > John Toshack > Wally Herbert > Joe Gormley > Roger Whittaker > Alan Whicker > Peter Davison > Douglas Bader