I’m a comedian by trade. A comic. And before you give me, “hey, I’ve got one for you, Ted…” I’ve heard it. I get it all the time. “Ey Ted, ave you ‘eard the one about the… “Yes, I ‘ave, so don’t waste yer breath. And chances are I’ve not only heard it but I bloody well wrote it! See, in my game yer have to see the funny in everything and if you can’t see the funny in everything you’d be as much use as a one legged man in an arse kicking contest. You have to see the funny side, be it sad bad or Leroy brown.
I started off as as one half of a duo. Every town we played people flocked to see us, queueing out of the door. Our name was in lights; FISH and CHIPS we were called. I’m codding yer. I had a fight outside one night and got done for A-SALT and BATTERY. You see I can’t help it. But you never stop thinking in my game you’ve gotta find the funny where there is no fun. I put the fun into funeral.
I’ve played all the seaside resorts in Britain. You might well have seen my name. You’d need bloody good eyes but you may have seen it, usually right down the bottom of the theatre poster. I’ve worked with them all, Doddy, Les, Tommy, Danny, Jimmy. Curley, Larry and Mo.. You name ‘em. And while they’re all living it up with their second home in Spain and golfin’ with Brucie I’m still in the same two up two down in Blackpool. Ey, I’m not a bitter man, no, I’m a lager drinker… No, really, I’m not bitter. Why would I wanna play Michael Mcintyres TV roadshow when I’m playing Heckmondwike working mens club.
It was doing this job where I met the missus. I knew I should have worked harder at school. No, she’s a lovely woman. Beautiful aubern hair right down her back, none on her head just right down her back. I was a young handsome buck, playing a theatre in North Wales and she was Miss Wales, or so she said. Miss Whales and Dolphins more like. We got on like a house on fire and I’ve been looking for the emergency exit for the past thirty years… I don’t know what I’d be without Shirley. Well, I do, I’d be happy.
She knows me, she knows I don’t mean it. it’s just a bit of banter. She was a dancer, doing the same as me, scratching a living doing the clubs and end of piers up and down the country. I made the first move, I bought her a Teddy bear off the market. Turned out they were stolen bears the police caught the stall holder Ted handed. Then we did a summer season together at Scarborough. I was supporting Les Dawson and Shirley was one of the dancers. That was when we first got together, as it were. If you can call together, me working in one end of the country and her the other.
When we eventually settled, in the frozen north of Blackpool we realised that any thoughts of kids that we may have had, had come to a dead end as we discovered that Shirley’s tubes came to a dead end. Her Northern line had no connection to her Waterloo. I told her I was never ovary fussed on having kids anyway. She’s always had problems down below. The first time I asked her back to my digs, she said, “I’m on me menstruel cycle.” I said, “never mind I’ll follow you in the car.
To be honest if maintenance had dealt with the current disruption when it was current, our life would have been a lot easier. And Shirley’s beautiful aubern hair that ran right down her back wouldn’t have run right down the drain with the chemotherapy. I said to the doctor , “give it to me frank.” He said, “my name’s not Frank, but chemotherapy for ovarian cancer stage 4 has a 98% failure rate.” I said, ‘ ok, now give me the bad news”. I told him that my Shirley isn’t allowed to die, it’s not in the contract. And she wouldn’t want me cooking for myself anyway, as she always thought I made a meal of it.