Remembering the time Ken Dodd revealed The Beatles were “martians”

The Liverpudlian comedian has died at the age of 90

Sad news: the beloved Liverpudlian comedian Sir Ken Dodd has died at the age of 90, leaving behind a legacy of laughs that lasted seven decades. Dodd, knighted last year, was named Greatest Merseysider of All Time in 2003, an accolade that moved him to say:  “It was voted for by my fellow citizens in a city that has always been, and always will be, my home. I am filled with happiness. I shall raise several glasses of tickle tonic to the greatest place in the world.”

He was still touring last year, his set combining comedy, magic and even music. Dodd was a successful musician in the 1960s, scoring the best-selling single of 1965 (‘Tears’), which became one of the UK’s top-selling tracks of the entire decade. The top five best-selling singles of the 1960s were released, of course, by The Beatles.

Dodd became associated with his fellow hometown heroes that era, which is why Sir Paul McCartney has now paid tribute to the comedian on Twitter.

Here, then, is one of those encounters, available to watch on YouTube a whole 55 years after it was first broadcast.

An interviewer acts as a kind of compere to draw laughs from a chat between The Fab Four and Sir Ken Dodd – and it’s still bloody funny. Dodd claims that The Beatles are “martians”, joking: “A professor of archaeology at Knotty Ash University [Dodd was born in the Knotty Ash area of Liverpool; there isn’t a Knotty Ash University and never has been] said, ‘I’ve discovered some tablets that say The Beatles are definitely Martians.” Forget Paul being replaced in 1966; this is the OG Beatles conspiracy theory.

Elsewhere, Ken proposes names for a Beatles/Dodd supergroup – “Kenny and the Cockroaches”, “Doddy and the Diddymen”, “Ringo and the Layabouts” – before John Lennon scores almost as a big a laugh when the suggests Dodd change his name to “Sod”. Well, you probably had to be there.

Dodd, on electric form throughout the encounter, proves his quick wit and absurdist sense of humour when he claims: “Actually, me Granddad, he was sitting up all last in his bed going, ‘Twist and shout! Twist and shout! ‘ His hot water bottle had broken.” Ba-dum tsh! Perhaps his best gag in this appearance, though, comes towards the end: “You can tell a joke in Manchester and they don’t get it in London.” *Supreme comic pause* “They can’t hear it.”