My memories of ‘nice and unassuming’ Des O’Connor

Des O'Connor in 2001 with his Special Achievement Award at the National Television Awards at the Roy

Des O'Connor in 2001 with his Special Achievement Award at the National Television Awards at the Royal Albert Hall, London. Picture: Myung Jung Kim/PA Wire - Credit: Archant

Des O’Connor, the ‘King of TV’ who died this week, made a lasting impression on the people he met and worked with during his numerous visits to Torbay.

One was Martyn Jenkins, technical and stage manager at the Princess Theatre in Torquay, who was saddened by the showbiz legend’s death at the age of 88.

Martyn said: “I have over the years worked with Des O’Connor on a number of occasions and always found him to be such a nice unassuming man.

“I can remember back in 2015 seeing that the two comedy legends of Des O’Connor and Jimmy Tarbuck were going to play their first and only show on stage together at the London Palladium and saying to my wife we must go and see this once-in-a-lifetime show.

“So how delighted was I that two years later we were able to welcome them in person back to the Princess Theatre in September 2017. He was joined on stage by not only Jimmy Tarbuck but also his wife Jodie.

“By this time at the age of 85 he was a little frail he was still able to command the audience despite Jimmy Tarbuck referring to Des as his Father.”

Des died after suffering a fall at his home in Buckinghamshire.

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London-born Des presented his own prime-time TV shows for more than 45 years but also had success as a singer.

His friendship with comedy duo Morecambe and Wise saw him mocked for his singing ability in sketches despite a successful career which included four Top 10 hits and more than 30 albums.

He appeared on stages around the world and performed hundreds of shows at the London Palladium.

TV personalities Ant and Dec were among an array of stars from the world of show business to pay tribute to Des.

The Geordie TV double act described him as “a consummate professional and a lovely man”.

Des was also was known for hosting his own chat show, as well as Take Your Pick and Countdown.