At the age of 85, you would think playing an open air gig in the Macclesfield countryside would be the last thing on Ken Dodd’s mind.

But having been taking his legendary live shows around the country since 1954, age is but a number for the iconic funnyman.

As he prepares for a headline show at Gawsworth Hall’s open air garden theatre, his enthusiasm appears boundless.

Ken, who is self-financing latest tour the ‘Ken Dodd Happiness Show’, said: “We’re really looking forward to Gawsworth.

“It’s such a beautiful place.

“I always tell anyone who asks – my favourite theatre is the one I’m playing tomorrow night.

“Gawsworth is a particularly fine place to play.

“We have played there six or seven times now over the years and it’s really a unique experience.

“A lot of people come for a picnic, then watch the show.

“The Richards family always treat us so well as well and show us round the house.

“I am very much a Merseysider but Cheshire, and Macclesfield in particular, has been very good to me over the years.

“They are always a great audience.

“They have the sharpness of the north, but with the warmness of the countryside.

“Plus we’re bringing several people with us including Sybie Jones, who’s a local girl from Styal in Wilmslow.”

He added:?“They say retirement is when a man stops doing what he doesn’t want to do and starts doing what you do want to do.

“And I think I am doing what I want to do.

“I am still ‘stage struck’ – I just love showbusiness.”

Ken has been touring his variety act, which has a traditional music hall style,  since 1954 and admits that he is a far cry from most modern-day comics.

He said: “Audiences have changed and a lot of the comedians on TV now aren’t comics, they are TV personalities.

“You cannot beat the feeling of a live show, and we are really looking forward to coming to Gawsworth.

“It should be fantastic night and we will do our best to get their chuckle muscles working.”

Another person said to be looking forward to the show is Ken’s Ventriloquist puppet Dicky Mint.

Ken said: “Some people think he’s a puppet, but I think he’s real – he gets fan mail.

“He wants to swap his jam butties for some treacle as he’s heard there is a treacle mine in Macclesfield.”

  • Ken Dodd plays Gawsworth Hall on Wednesday, July 17. Tickets cost £20. For more information, visit