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Head of Zeus
Happiness and Tears
14 Nov 2019 * EBOOK * £5.99 * 9781788549523

A definitive life one of the best-loved and most enduring figures of British comedy, the eccentric genius and national treasure Ken Dodd, whose seven-decade career straddled the end of the era of variety and the golden age of television comedy.

Non Fiction / BGF (Biography)
Extent: 336 pages
Exclusive sale: GB AU NZ IN ZA SG
Not for sale: CA US
Happiness and Tears: The Ken Dodd StoryLouis Barfe

'I suffer from acute kleptomania. But when it gets bad, I take something for it.'

Ken Dodd was a legend of British comedy. He launched his career in 1954, adopted his trademark 'tickling stick' two years later and went on to enjoy a sixty-year career as the nation's jester. Dodd's act was frenzied and zany, exploiting his saucer-eyed, buck-toothed appearance and deploying a repertoire of one-liners, whimsical and verbal inventions and liberal doses of saucy – but never dirty – jokes.

Louis Barfe charts Dodd's life and extraordinarily long career, revealing him to be the last of the great variety acts – and a comic phenomenon who delighted his audiences across seven decades.

Reviews for Happiness and Tears:

'The definitive account' The Times.

'An industriously thorough, entertaining biography' The Spectator.

'Sure to delight Dodd's many admirers' TLS.

'Fascinatingly odd' Daily Express.

'An absolute joy' Choice.

Louis Barfe is a journalist and expert on all aspects of the entertainment industry. He is the author of Where Have All The Good Times Gone? The rise and fall of the record industry (2004), Turned Out Nice Again – the story of British light entertainment (2008), The Trials and Triumphs of Les Dawson (2012) and Happiness and Tears: the Ken Dodd Story (2019). He tweets @AlanKelloggs.

The definitive life of a legend of British comedy and much-loved national treasure.

Author is a respected expert on the British light entertainment industry.

The perfect gift for anyone who loves old-fashioned vulgar fun.

MARKET: Danny Baker; Paul O'Grady.


'Barfe takes us through Dodd's fascinating life and career with great clarity, some impressive sleuthing and obvious affection', Reader's Digest

'Barfe's biography of Ken Dodd is an absolute joy, celebrating [a] comic genius', Choice

'As much a tribute as a biography ... The result is sure to delight Dodd's many admirers', Times Literary Supplement

'[Barfe] makes a convincing case for Dodd as the last of the great variety acts, a talent better suited to the stage than the small screen', The Lady

'Fascinatingly odd', Daily Express

'Louis Barfe's industriously thorough, entertaining biography [...] written with admiration verging on hagiography, portrays the comic genius who was the last performer to uphold this country's tradition of vaudeville in music hall, on radio and television', Spectator

'Louis Barfe brings, in his excellent life of Ken Dodd, an experienced and authoritative hand, taking a firm step towards a comprehensive portrait ... The triumphs of his first choice profession are related here in masterly fashion by Louis Barfe', The Call Boy

'Louis Barfe charts the life and long career of one of our favourite and much missed comics', This England

'This excellent biography is the first serious assessment of the life and legacy of Ken Dodd ... It gives an honest, well-rounded portrait of a great eccentric and comic genius', Choice Magazine

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