'Rock on Tommy' - Oldham legend set to go solo after devastating heartbreak of losing Bobby

Date published: 02 July 2024

After encouragement from singing superstar Robbie Williams, Oldham-born Tommy Cannon, one half of the record-breaking TV sensation Cannon and Ball, is set to tour the theatres of Great Britain later this year. 

He stops off at the Middleton Arena on Friday, October 18, 2024.

A household name responsible for some 20 million plus viewers during his peak time Saturday evening TV shows, Tommy Cannon is heading out on his first UK solo theatre tour at the age of 86 after heartbreakingly losing his much-loved comedy partner Bobby Ball during Covid.

Tommy said: “Like thousands of people, Covid and its restrictions brought unprecedented challenges on every level.

“In the early days of Covid I was still performing regularly with Bobby who was my stage partner of 59 years in our special double act ‘Cannon & Ball’.

“Sadly, during Covid Bobby passed away and suddenly, I felt extremely vulnerable, desperately low and hugely depressed.

"My confidence had gone as I had lost my entertainment soul mate and partner of nearly six decades.

"I just felt lost and sad’."

The rise of Cannon and Ball was a classic tale of working-class lads that were catapulted to fame via social clubs and would eventually lead them to record breaking summer and panto shows as they headlined in theatres across the UK.

The pair would have the honour of clocking up a double ‘This is Your Life’ feature with Eamonn Andrews and they were regular headliners in front of the Queen and Prince Phillip for many memorable Royal Variety performances.

Tommy said: "I can’t wait to get started with my solo tour – I think that at the age of 86 it’s likely to be some kind of a record breaker when it comes to debut tours.

Cannon and Ball meet the Queen as they top bill at the Royal Variety Performance

“I want to thank so many special friends that have helped me put the past behind me and have been encouraging me to step out again. 

"It will be really special to appear at Middleton Arena in October as I have a life-long connection to the area.

"Myself and Bobby learnt our trade around the Manchester area and some of our greatest achievements were made when working in the region that means so much to me.

"I was born in Oldham so I know a lot of family and friends will be present that night.

"I expect this night to be a memorable one.

“Robbie Williams invited me and my family to his last tour as special guests and when we met up after his show in Manchester, he made me feel so welcome and relevant.

"In fact during his concert he introduced me to the 22,000 plus crowd and had everyone chanting my name.

"I honestly didn’t realise that people would still feel that love, when I got home, I thought about it and decided “why not” I still have an audience out there, it’s just that like me, they are a little older.

"That night in front of Robbie was a real game-changer!

"Robbie told me he had been a huge fan of Cannon and Ball through the years and a huge host of other star names from the world of entertainment have also offered support and encouragement to me to get up and get back on stage.

"The super loyal fans have been contacting in loads of ways - urging me to keep the legacy going on stage.

"I am truly buzzing to get on the theatre tour across the UK and meet the many fans.

"I’m 86 now and I feel like I am in great shape to progress.’’

Tommy will kick-off his solo show “Rock On Tommy’ this October and November – he will chat through his memories of working at the very top of his profession featuring many classic clips.

The evening will include support from some of his very favourite acts.

Rock on Tommy plays the Middleton Arena on Friday, October 18, 2024 at 7:30pm.

Tickets are available via the link here

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