Nigel Parkinson, Cartoonist

Nigel Parkinson, Cartoonist
This is him, at a recent Comic Con (Photo (C) Alan A Andrew)

Saturday, 26 March 2011

Am I a Diddyman?

In 1965, the biggest star in Britain was Ken Dodd. No, really. He'd been selling out seaside pavilions for some years, and had been a radio star for a while, but by 1965 he'd became a bona fide TV star and, more unlikely, a Number One chart star! Yes, in the same year The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Kinks, The Hollies, The Beach Boys, Sandie Shaw, The Byrds and Manfred Mann were No 1!
In that year he introduced something specially for the children - The Diddymen, a team of Leprachaun-like puppets who worked in the fictional "Jam Butty mines" of Knotty Ash (a real district of Liverpool, Dodd's home town, and, indeed mine.) They were designed by John Geering, who went on to be D C Thomson's Bananaman star artist.

Ken Dodd's saturday tea-time TV show had a spot where kids sent in drawings or poems or jokes to be featured. Yes, LIVE on BBC 1! In either late 1965 or early 1966, I made my TV debut by proxy with a drawing of a proposed new Diddyman character and had my name & address read out. Some time later a new Diddyman appeared - I wonder if it was Nigel Ponsonby-Smythe (above), because that would be sort of neat, wouldn't it?

1 comment:

Kid said...

I remember watching the programme as a kid - I wonder what I'd think if I saw it now? Do you recall the old joke? "Ken Dodd died yesterday." "Did he?" (Diddy.) "No - Doddy!" Boom boom. Who said the old ones are the best?