Tommy Cannon prepares for his first Pantomime without double act partner Bobby Ball

  • Report by Helen Carnell

Tommy Cannon and Bobby Ball regularly drew TV audiences of more than 20 million with their double act.

The Cannon and Ball Show ran on ITV for over nine years, cementing their names in the history books as a top comedy duo.

Even forty years later, Tommy's stage presence is a force to be reckoned with. Recently, he practically upstaged Robbie Williams at the pop-star's own arena show.

But two years after the death of his on-screen other half, Tommy Cannon is now preparing to take to the stage without his lifetime partner in crime.

Tommy said: "When I did panto, it was quite easy because we would do table tennis routines, old McDonald had a farm, had very little to do with the cast.

"If I missed a line, Bob would cover, and if he missed a line I would cover! So we were comfortable in that zone.

"So it's quite scary [without him]"

The kindly cast of Consett's Aladdin are helping him feel less exposed after 60 years sharing the limelight - but it's still Bobby who's with him in spirit in the wings and on stage.

Tommy continued: "The amount of times that I had to hide or just turn away because I was giggling just as much as the audience were.

"I think about him every day. I look up and I think - you little messpot, I bet you're having a great time up there, looking down on me and saying, get on with it you soft beggar."