Tommy Cannon remembers ‘fantastic’ Des O’Connor

Tommy Cannon has said he will remember entertainer Des O'Connor as a "best pal" following his death aged 88.

Comedy star Cannon has joined the world of entertainment in mourning the loss of the host of Countdown, Des O'Connor Tonight and The Des O'Connor Show.

Speaking of the lasting legacy O'Connor had on the world of variety shows and entertainment, Cannon told the PA News Agency: "I don't think it's ever going to be repeated".

Cannon, part of successful comedy duo Cannon & Ball, added: "Things change you know, variety and vaudeville, everything changes, whether that changes for the better I don't know but that's what happens in the world we live in and there's so many TV channels now. For instance, my partner Bobby (Ball) passed away... and we often talked about it you know, 'where's variety going?', and what happens is it slowly disappears, which is a shame because... he'll leave a legacy of good family entertainment."

Bobby Ball died in hospital on October 28 aged 76 after testing positive for Covid-19 and alongside Cannon, the pair had found fame on the smash hit The Cannon And Ball Show which ran from 1979 to 1988.

Des O’Connor
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Des O’Connor
English comedian Des O'Connor (left) with pop singer Cliff Richard during rehearsals for the show 'Stars In Your Eyes' at the London Palladium, 26th May 1960. (Photo by Central Press/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
UNSPECIFIED - JANUARY 01: Photo of Des O'CONNOR; Des O'Connor performing on tv show (Photo by David Farrell/Redferns)
UNITED KINGDOM - JANUARY 01: Des O'Connor performs on stage in the 1960's. (Photo by David Redfern/Redferns)
Gillian Vaughan, wife of comedian Des O'Connor, had a baby daughter five days ago, their first child. Tracy Jane was photographed with her parents in the Lindo Wing of St Mary's Hospital, Paddington. Tracy has a lot of dark hair and weighed 7lbs 2oz at birth, 26th November 1962. (Photo by Doreen Spooner/Mirrorpix/Getty Images)
Actor Des O'Connor with wife, actress Gillian Vaughan, and daughter Tracy Jane, 6th August 1963. (Photo by Howard Walker/Mirrorpix/Getty Images)
Singer and entertainer Des O'Connor with his daughters Samantha and Tracy, at their home in Great Yarmouth, circa 1960-1970. (Photo by Chris Ware/Keystone Features/Getty Images)
UNITED KINGDOM - JANUARY 01: Photo of Des O'CONNOR; Des O'Connor performing on tv show (Photo by David Farrell/Redferns)
10th November 1969: Queen Elizabeth II meets Mireille Mathieu during the aftershow presentation following the Royal Variety Performance, which had taken place at the London Palladium; also seen here are (left to right) Bernard Delfont, Danny La Rue and Des O'Connor. (Photo by Tim Graham/Fox Photos/Getty Images)
26th August 1971: Irish comedian and singer Des O'Connor in his riding silks at Newmarket stables where he is training for the Epsom Champagne Amateur Riders Derby. (Photo by Central Press/Getty Images)
Comedians Eric Morecambe (right) and Ernie Wise with presenter Des O'Connor (centre) on the Christmas special of the BBC television series 'The Morecambe and Wise Show', 1975. (Photo by Don Smith/Radio Times via Getty Images)
British pop star Engelbert Humperdinck (c) celebrates with fellow stars Freddie Starr (l) and Des O'Connor (r) at a party in London following a concert at the Royal Albert Hall, London. (Photo by PA Images via Getty Images)
Des O'Connor plays genial host to his guests Jimmy Tarbuck and Mart Caine. The recording of Des' first ITV Christmas Show was taking place at Thames studios. 18th November 1983. (Photo by Alisdair MacDonald/Mirrorpix/Getty Images)
Singer and entertainer Des O'Connor in hospital with a broken leg, being visited by friend and fellow entertainer Eric Morecambe, Wellington Hospital, London, February 27th 1978. (Photo by Frank Barratt/Keystone/Getty Images)
LONDON - OCTOBER 23: British television presenter Des O'Connor and his wife and daughter attend the "Royal Television Awards" at the Royal Albert Hall on October 23, 2001 in London. (Photo by Dave Hogan/Getty Images)
Janet Jackson interview on Des O'Connor Show, London, 2nd December, 1997. (Photo by Jo Hale/Redferns)
Today With Des And Mel' Tv Programme, Britain - 25 Feb 2004, Des O'Connor And Melanie Sykes (Photo by Brian Rasic/Getty Images)
Des O'Connor arrives at the reception party for Sir Elton John and David Furnish at their Old Windsor mansion, Wednesday December 21, 2005. The couple 'married' in a Civil Partnership Ceremony earlier today at Windsor Guildhall. (Photo by Matt Faber - PA Images/PA Images via Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 20: (EMBARGOED FOR PUBLICATION IN UK TABLOID NEWSPAPERS UNTIL 48 HOURS AFTER CREATE DATE AND TIME. MANDATORY CREDIT PHOTO BY DAVE M. BENETT/GETTY IMAGES REQUIRED) (L to R) Richard Madeley, Judy Finnigan, Des O'Connor and Cilla Black attend a party celebrating the addition of veteran entertainer Des O'Connor to the cast of the West End Production of "Dreamboats And Petticoats" at the Playhouse Theatre on October 20, 2011 in London, England. (Photo by Dave M. Benett/Getty Images)

Cannon said his first memory of working with O'Connor was when he and Ball appeared on his TV show.

He said: "I think it was close to over Christmas. Bob and I was like 'oh my goodness me, this is Des O'Connor, this is big', and he was absolutely fantastic.

"He laughed along with everything. He was just like being in your front room with your best pal".

While their paths did not cross professionally much over the next few years, Cannon said he and Ball had enjoyed O'Connor's career: "The thing was we've always lived in the north of England and Des obviously lived down in the south, and no we didn't cross too many paths to be quite honest. But we used to watch him when he did the Eric and Ernie show (The Eric Morecambe and Ernie Wise Show), when Eric used to take the mickey out of him about his singing and everything and that was fabulous you know, fabulous".

Cannon said he will remember O'Connor like a "best pal".

He said: "I will always remember him as, if you like a... like a best pal.

"You know whenever you went and did his show that's Des, that's how he was. He was a lovely man and all I can say is rest in peace mate because both Bobby and I loved you."

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