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Rock on Tommy! Cannon and Ball are coming to Swansea

By MarkRees  |  Posted: August 28, 2014

Ha! Ha! Hood

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For anyone glued to their TV sets in the 1980s, Saturday nights were owned by the brace-stretching, wise-cracking, comedy double act Cannon and Ball.

More recently, Bobby Ball has been seen as Lee Mack’s dad in Not Going Out, while in 2005 he and Tommy Cannon hit the Australian outback together in I’m A Celebrity ...

But for all their current successes, it would appear the pair will forever be synonymous with their primetime heydey, with their catchphrases still firmly ingrained in the public consciousness.

“I still get stopped, and lots of people start with Rock on Tommy!,” laughs Bobby.

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“But ‘selfies’ have taken over now as virtually everyone has a phone. So once it was always an autograph, now it’s a photo.

“But they are always lovely, and Tommy and I remain humbled and grateful to our fans.”

And what is the secret of their longevity?

“Genuine friendship which has taken us through the highs and lows which all careers inevitably go through, and an understanding of each other’s different needs over the years,” suggests Tommy.

Next week, with Su Pollard of Hi-de-Hi fame in tow, they arrive in Swansea to star in Ha Ha Hood! Prince of Leaves, the latest production from the team behind Ha Ha Holmes!, Hitler! and Hamlet!

The tour marks 40 years since their first television appearance, and also a whopping 50 years together as a duo.

“When our manager first called about Ha! Ha! Hood! I thought he’d been in the pub, as it sounded like nothing we had ever done before,” says Bobby of the story, which takes place 10 years after a messy divorce between Robin Hood and Maid Marian, who reunite to fight the evil Sheriff.

The villain is played by Tommy, while Bobby takes the role of Friar Tuck, who is now considerably older and rougher around the edges.

“I’m mad in it – barking mad! And funny. And who knows, maybe a little factual?” he says of his role.

“He’s not a foodie as the original Friar Tuck was always portrayed. He’s more of a lover of junk food. He would be proud to know that years and years later his image and name would be stolen for chip shops across the country like The Happy Friar.”

Tommy, in contrast, is much more aloof as the conniving baddie, and casts a much more reserved figure.

“The Sheriff is mean, mad and bad, with a little twinkle in his eye,” explains Tommy.

“He’ll be as bad as can be. In fact, if he could give out parking tickets, he would start with Bobby’s car,” he jokes.

And did they watch any previous incarnations of the Sherwood outlaw and his merry men as research or inspiration?

“No, I’d like to find the characters myself without film and TV versions. I’m an actor, darling!” says Bobby.

Whereas Tommy does claim to see a resemblance between his portrayal and a certain acclaimed Shakespearean actor.

He says: “I see a lot of Alan Rickman in my version of the Sheriff!”

Ha Ha Hood! Prince of Leaves

WHERE: Swansea’s Grand Theatre

ON: Thursday, September 4 and Friday, September 5, 7.30pm

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  • Scroggins  |  August 29 2014, 7:18AM

    How will they get their Zimmer frames on stage? These were never very amusing at the height (?) of their fame, they have not mellowed since.

    |   -1
  • Scarpia  |  August 29 2014, 6:45AM

    Wow! Great news! The second worst double act of all time (top place goes to Little & Large) is coming to Swansea. I can't wait not to buy a ticket.

    |   -1