"I HAVE been blessed", Ken Dodd recently told me as he reflected on his 90-year journey in life.

Sixty of those glorious years saw the reign of our undisputed King of Comedy.

A long and wonderful winding road that started at Knotty Ash and finished there.

We, his audience, listened to him, laughed with him and admired him.

We were blessed to have had him in our lives.

When I asked him how he would like to be remembered he laughed: "by being here".

He revealed that the persona of a jester was the one he was happiest with.

Even though he could act, sing, and was also a master ventriloquist he was never happier than playing the court fool making someone laugh whether in the street or in a sold out venue from Blackpool to Birkenhead.

So in this week's Inferno – a column he read – I will share with you a few memories from the millions of them out there.

By Jove!

Ladies and gentleman welcome to a diddy audience with the Master of Mirth – Kenneth Arthur Dodd.

On comedy ... 

Doddy could sense humour in everything and everyone.

When he saw Liverpool's disruptive 'Big Dig' he asked council leader Joe Anderson from the stage why it was taking so long excavating the city centre, adding "have you lost something?"

He would write down ideas in Biro on his arms and hands.

Many a conversation or observation would end up bringing the house down, once Ken had 'Dodd-ified' them.

When I referred to him as The GagFather he nodded and smiled.

He modestly approved of the title.

He said there was no better, joyous feeling than being 'smothered' in a wave of laughter from an audience.

He was inspired by Arthur Askey, Ted Ray and Tommy Handley – Liverpudlians from his idyllic childhood and men who never resorted to blue humour – just like Doddy.

He was also passionately protective of his home town.

On Wirral ... 

DODDY spoke with great affection of the peninsular.

He played some of his earliest shows there and knew every venue.

He had a soft spot for New Brighton's Floral Pavilion where he would play at least twice a year.

He was the last performer to play the old theatre and the first to re-open it.

Ken loved the fact that his inspirational parents Sarah and Arthur 'clicked' on the famous Ham and Egg Parade.

With a flight of many surreal flights of fancy he told me he always carried his passport with him in case he needed to travel by ferry. 

On time ... 

"I'M never late – it's just that other people are early," he maintained with a chuckle.

He said his five-hour variety shows were 'an education'.

You would leave the theatre saying: "Well, that taught me a lesson."

I recall the first show I reviewed in Southport.

I went by train and was unaware of the duration of his joke-packed fun-fests.

At midnight the buses and trains had finished and I was stranded.

I was paid £10 for the review and the journey cost me £30. I christened him 'The Patron Saint of Taxi Drivers'.

And talking of cabbies, he once ordered a taxi to collect me from his house after work we were doing on his photo album book Look at it My Way at his beautiful Knotty Ash home.

I sat in the car after Ken had waved me off and the driver asked me where exactly was the 'drying out centre' he was to take me?

On his fans ... 

THEY meant the world to this man for all seasons.

While showbiz pals Charlie Landsborough, Ricky Tomlinson and Pauline Daniels wipe away floods of real tears for a clown, the countless non-celebrities will never forget him.

Storyteller Cathy Roberts, whom he simply called 'Tugboat' after her Albert Dock vessel, said he was ‘the personification of laughter’.’

"He was a patron of Literally our bookshop in New Brighton and he was always there for us.

"So generous with his time. When I wrote the musical Moggies he appeared on screen and in voice as the 'man in the moon' and attended the opening night.

"Every performance we ever do will have Ken's magical touch."

On his legacy ... 

IT is time for a permanent recognition to him on both sides of the Mersey to join the statue at Liverpool’s Lime Street.

On the day he left us, a call went out from his favourite station – BBC Radio Merseyside.

Proposals included: Superlambanana-type versions of the much-loved Diddy Men; the cruise liner terminal to be named after him or the next Mersey Ferry bearing his name.

Wirral community artists Carl and Rose Lecky say there should be Tribute to Master of Mirth OPINION wirralglobe.co.uk WEDNESDAY, MARCH 14, 2018 11 W G a statue at the Floral Pavilion.

Hear hear. My own favourite celebratory tribute is ‘Happiness Day’ – every November 8 from now on. I know by talking to him that this is a plumptious concept he would have loved.

It would be a day where people from the home to the workplace tell each other gags and share laughter and love.

A Ken Dodd happiness lecture by a famous figure and a star-studded variety show to keep his name in lights.

AND finally ...

FOR me, Ken has not left us, he's just gone on a huge tour.

I have a tickling stick in a glass case at home accompanied by a photo of me with this wizard of wit.

Not a single day has gone by when I haven't thought of him and happily that will never change.

There were two Ken Dodds: the unique stage performer and the private, lovely, gentle man.

I loved them both.

God Bless you, Ken.

Peter Grant