BOBBY Ball is itching to get back on the road, touring with the Best of British Variety Tour alongside Bucks Fizz, Faith Brown, and Nookie Bear.
“I can’t wait, it’ll be a good laugh,” he said.
“Touring is all we’ve ever done really, me and Tommy, it’s all we know. We have a couple of weeks off a year, but we get itchy feet.”
In a career spanning 45 years, Tommy and Bobby have starred in their own TV series almost every year since 1979 and are the only act to have won three separate National Club Awards and be named as the Variety Club personalities of the year.
More recently they have appeared in Last of the Summer Wine and experienced life in the jungle on ITV’s I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here.
Bobby describes their relationship as “like being married but without the sex... and I can’t see it coming to that!” he joked.
So how have they managed to stick together for so long?
“We have the same sense of humour, that’s how we've lasted,” said Bobby.
“And we both love making people laugh, it’s fantastic. I like it when they boo Tommy, but he doesn’t. He says to me ‘I’m hated Bobby’ and I say to him: ‘Great, that means the act’s working Tom’.
“Mind you, we’re getting on now. You know you’re getting old when people ring you up at 9pm and say ‘I’ve not woke you up have I?’ and when you help an old lady across the road, then you realise it’s your wife.”
The beauty of their comedy, according to Bobby, is that they appeal to a family audience.
“I’m not being like an old man when I say this, but our appeal is that it’s family entertainment, there’s no swearing in this show.
“There are some cheeky gags, but nothing that you’d be embarrassed to take your kids to.
“That’s the problem with a lot of entertainment these days because swearing is in our culture now. There’s very little that you can take the whole family to now without the swearing.”
Bobby also believes variety is just what the country needs to give them a laugh in times of economic doom and gloom.
“Variety was at its biggest when the war was on because people needed to get out and get away from it.
“I think at these times people need to laugh too. The beauty of this show is that for the price of a ticket you get to see all these different acts, so it’s really good value. Families can come along, hear good music, be entertained, and enjoy themselves.
“The people of Great Britain are definitely missing variety because it’s not on TV anymore. Now it’s all cooking shows and reality TV. We don’t cook and that’s why we’re not on TV anymore.
“I don’t think shows like Britain’s Got Talent and X Factor plug that gap either because they’re amateur performers. What we need is some professionals on the telly.”
In the Best of British Variety Tour (which calls in at Blackpool for three consecutive Fridays, from August 14) Tommy and Bobby will be sharing the bill with comedian Tom O’Connor, impressionist Faith Brown, Bucks Fizz, Nookie Bear, and comic Norman Collier.
“I’m looking forward to working with all of the acts,” said Bobby. “But if that Nookie Bear gives me any back-chat I’ll knock his head off.
“We know the other performers very well and Roger De Courcey (ventriloquist who operates Nookie Bear) used to actually do a show with us.
“We all go way back. Before our catchphrase ‘Rock on Tommy’ I used to say ‘You’ll do for me Tommy’ and that was actually given to us by Norman Collier who’s appearing in this show so maybe we’ll bring it back for old time’s sake. We’re going to have a real good laugh, I know that much.”
l See Cannon and Ball in the Best of British Variety Tour 2009 at Blackpool Opera House on Friday, August 14, 21 and 28. For tickets call 0844 856 1111.