Bobby Ball death: pictures show comedian’s sell-out years in Great Yarmouth

Bobby Ball and Tommy Cannon of Cannon and Ball perform at Britannia Pier in Great Yarmouth for their

Bobby Ball and Tommy Cannon of Cannon and Ball perform at Britannia Pier in Great Yarmouth for their third season in 1992. Picture: Archant Library - Credit: Archant Library

Fans have been mourning the loss of Bobby Ball, one half of double act Cannon and Ball, who brought joy to thousands across the region when performing in Great Yarmouth.

Bobby Ball and Tommy Cannon of Cannon and Ball perform at Britannia Pier in Great Yarmouth in 1981.

Bobby Ball and Tommy Cannon of Cannon and Ball perform at Britannia Pier in Great Yarmouth in 1981. Picture: Archant Library - Credit: Archant Library

The comedian, actor and author, who lit up Britannia Pier in the 1980s and 90s, has died at the age of 76 after testing positive for coronavirus.

He had been in hospital with breathing problems.

In the 1980s and 1990s, Mr Ball, alongside his lifelong friend Tommy Cannon, performed shows off the Golden Mile, becoming a part of life on the coast during the heyday of the summer season.

Pictures from our archive show the duo enjoying the seafront, and getting up to their slapstick antics, when they came to the town.

Seaside antics from Cannon and Ball in 1990. Picture: Archant Library

Seaside antics from Cannon and Ball in 1990. Picture: Archant Library - Credit: Archant Library


You may also want to watch:


In 1981 they were the headline act in a bill that also included then up-and-coming entertainer Lenny Henry.

Nine years later, during a publicity shoot, Mr Ball, never one to miss an opportunity for mischief, grabbed a stick of Yarmouth rock and pretended to wallop Mr Cannon.

Most Read

During their third season at Britannia Pier, in 1992, they even found the time to don life jackets and visit Caister Lifeboat.

Fans who saw the duo take to stages in Great Yarmouth have been reacting on social media.

Bobby Ball and Tommy Cannon of Cannon and Ball in 1991. Picture: Archant Library

Bobby Ball and Tommy Cannon of Cannon and Ball in 1991. Picture: Archant Library - Credit: Archant Library

Rob Stokes said: “Another element of the golden age of comedy is gone, we will never see the like of him again. Rest in peace Bobby, your loyal fans will mourn the sad loss of you for many years.”

Tony Smith commented: “I saw this great comedy duo in summer season and pantomime many times. May Bobby rest in peace and my thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends at this sad time.”

Hayley Comrie said: “RIP Bobby you gave much joy to many people over the decades and will be missed.”

Mr Ball was born Robert Harper on January 28, 1944 and found fame on the The Cannon and Ball Show opposite his lifelong friend Tommy Cannon.

Tommy Cannon and Bobby Ball of Cannon and Ball perform at Britannia Pier in Great Yarmouth in 1981.

Tommy Cannon and Bobby Ball of Cannon and Ball perform at Britannia Pier in Great Yarmouth in 1981. Picture: Archant Library - Credit: Archant Library

Both men had been welders in their native Oldham when they first met on the factory floor, eventually forming a singing duo called The Harper Brothers, who performed in local pubs and clubs.

Mr Ball also appeared in TV series’ including Last Of The Summer Wine, Heartbeat, Mount Pleasant, Benidorm, The Cockfields and Not Going Out, and the duo appeared on I’m A Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here! in 2005.

A statement from his manager Phil Dale said: “It is with great personal sadness that on behalf of Yvonne Ball, and the family, and Tommy Cannon, I announce that Bobby Ball passed away at Blackpool Victoria Hospital on the 28th October 2020 approximately 9.30pm.

“Bobby had been taken to the hospital for tests as he started with breathing problems. At first it was thought to be a chest infection but a test proved positive for Covid-19.

Bobby Ball and Tommy Cannon of Cannon and Ball perform at Britannia Pier in Great Yarmouth in 1990.

Bobby Ball and Tommy Cannon of Cannon and Ball perform at Britannia Pier in Great Yarmouth in 1990. Picture: Archant Library - Credit: Archant Library

“His wife Yvonne said the hospital and staff could not have been more wonderful, as they were outstanding in their care of duty and they did everything possible for him and she cannot praise them enough.

“She said that the family and Tommy would like to express their sincere thanks to the many, many people who have been fans of Bobby and they know that they will all share in part the great loss and total sadness that Yvonne, the family and Tommy all feel.

“Yvonne added that their need for privacy at this time has to be a priority. No further announcements or statements will be made.”

Mr Cannon said: “Rock on, my good friend, I can’t believe this, I’m devastated.”

Bobby Ball and Tommy Cannon of Cannon and Ball rehearse for their London weekend television Christma

Bobby Ball and Tommy Cannon of Cannon and Ball rehearse for their London weekend television Christmas show in 1987. Picture: PA Images - Credit: Archant Library

His wife Yvonne added: “I will always miss him, he was so joyful, full of fun and mischievous.”

Ball’s manager Phil Dale said: “Bobby was a true comedy star who loved entertaining people and he loved life itself. I spoke to him every day and it would always end in laughter.”

Bobby Ball and Tommy Cannon of Cannon and Ball perform at Britannia Pier in Great Yarmouth in 1981.

Bobby Ball and Tommy Cannon of Cannon and Ball perform at Britannia Pier in Great Yarmouth in 1981. Picture: Archant Library - Credit: Archant Library

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter
Comments powered by Disqus