Comedy legend Sir Ken Dodd’s wife pleaded with him to slow down in the years before his death.
But Lady Dodd found she was fighting a losing battle as workaholic Ken had entertainment running through his veins.
She said: “I started saying a few years ago – shorter time, longer life. I said: ‘You’re killing yourself. You must take it a bit more easy.’”
Anne, who married the 90-year-old master of mirth two days before his death in March, faces her first Christmas without her beloved husband.
In a documentary celebrating his life, she talks about how the nutty comedian, who tickled audiences’ funny bones for 70 years, was actually an “old fashioned romantic” at home.
Doddy’s wild hair, bewildered looks and protruding teeth made him instantly recognisable. But Anne said: “I always thought he was good looking. His big teeth didn’t bother me.”
She said Doddy, famed for his tickling stick and the Diddy Men, “brought laughter and happiness”.
At one point he performed a record-breaking 42-week sell-out season at the London Palladium and knocked The Beatles from No1 in the charts with Tears, which became the UK’s third best-selling record of the 60s.
His marathon stand-up performances became legendary. And as he marked his 60th anniversary in showbiz he said: “I celebrate laughter because it is the greatest gift human beings can possibly have. God willing, I shall entertain until I drop.”
He was still touring in his ninth decade with his shows sometimes lasting into the early hours. He would tell his audience: “Some of you are optimists. You’ve booked your taxis for half-past 12 but they say the breakfast here is good.”
His final show was in Liverpool a year ago. And after six weeks in hospital early last year following a severe chest infection, he was sent home.
Anne said: “I put a stairlift in, I put rails everywhere, a wonderful adjustable bed. Filled the house with things to make his life comfortable while he was getting better.”
Just over a week later, after being engaged for 40 years, Doddy and Anne were married in the comedian’s childhood home in Knotty Ash, Liverpool. He died there just two days later. She said: “We’d always said we’d get married at some time.
"Apparently he was talking to our vicar and asked if there was a way it could be done privately, very quietly.
“Julia Jesson the vicar came over and friends Peter and Colette and two registrars. Licenses were done, whatever paperwork was filled.
“Somehow it happened. He said his vows and I was saying my vows. It was a normal wedding ceremony. And we had a blessing afterwards, which was all very beautiful. It happened. Obviously I’m very glad it did, and I think he was.”
Anne said his death was very peaceful and it was as if he had just gone to sleep.
She and Doddy had met in 1961, when he was engaged to nurse Anita Boutin. They got together after Anita died from a brain tumour in 1977.
Anne was a dancer on his song Love Is Like A Violin and made an impression when she slid off a mock violin and hit the floor with a thump.
She said despite his showmanship, Doddy liked a more low-key existence at home. She said: “There was Ken Dodd the performer, and Ken Dodd the private man. He wasn’t a typical showbizzy person. We had a normal life at home, a typical day would be like anybody’s.
“He would be a late riser, he’d eat breakfast late. He liked my pea soup. He didn’t like garlic in anything. He didn’t cook at all. He’d brew tea all day.”
His pals said his sole purpose was to make people happy. Comedian Jimmy Tarbuck said: “He was a Scouse hero. I loved him as a comic. He was blessed.”
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