Tommy Cannon remembers ‘fantastic’ Des O’Connor

Kerri-Ann Roper, PA Entertainment Editor
·2-min read

Tommy Cannon has said he will remember entertainer Des O’Connor as a “best pal” following his death aged 88.

Comedy star Cannon has joined the world of entertainment in mourning the loss of the host of Countdown, Des O’Connor Tonight and The Des O’Connor Show.

Speaking of the lasting legacy O’Connor had on the world of variety shows and entertainment, Cannon told the PA News Agency: “I don’t think it’s ever going to be repeated”.

Cannon, part of successful comedy duo Cannon & Ball, added: “Things change you know, variety and vaudeville, everything changes, whether that changes for the better I don’t know but that’s what happens in the world we live in and there’s so many TV channels now. For instance, my partner Bobby (Ball) passed away… and we often talked about it you know, ‘where’s variety going?’, and what happens is it slowly disappears, which is a shame because… he’ll leave a legacy of good family entertainment.”

Bobby Ball died in hospital on October 28 aged 76 after testing positive for Covid-19 and alongside Cannon, the pair had found fame on the smash hit The Cannon And Ball Show which ran from 1979 to 1988.

Cannon said his first memory of working with O’Connor was when he and Ball appeared on his TV show.

He said: “I think it was close to over Christmas. Bob and I was like ‘oh my goodness me, this is Des O’Connor, this is big’, and he was absolutely fantastic.

“He laughed along with everything. He was just like being in your front room with your best pal”.

Des O’Connor TV Quick Awards 2004
TV presenter Des O’Connor has died aged 88 (PA)

While their paths did not cross professionally much over the next few years, Cannon said he and Ball had enjoyed O’Connor’s career: “The thing was we’ve always lived in the north of England and Des obviously lived down in the south, and no we didn’t cross too many paths to be quite honest. But we used to watch him when he did the Eric and Ernie show (The Eric Morecambe and Ernie Wise Show), when Eric used to take the mickey out of him about his singing and everything and that was fabulous you know, fabulous”.

Cannon said he will remember O’Connor like a “best pal”.

He said: “I will always remember him as, if you like a… like a best pal.

“You know whenever you went and did his show that’s Des, that’s how he was. He was a lovely man and all I can say is rest in peace mate because both Bobby and I loved you.”