Anybody who’s anybody in Northern Ireland’s showbiz industry will come together to pay a heartfelt tribute to comedy legend Frank Carson.
>Frank Carson's best jokes - click 'More Pictures' above <
The Grand Opera House, a favoured haunt of the Belfast funnyman, will host a special night of entertainment in memory of the man who put smiles on the faces of people around the world for decades.
On the first anniversary of the 85-year-old’s death, comic contemporaries including Jimmy Cricket and Roy Walker will join forces with a new wave of entertainers for the one-off gig on February 28.
Jimmy Tarbuck, Brian Kennedy, Dana, May McFettridge, Belfast-born actor and stage director James Ellis, Rose-Marie, Barry McGuigan and Pat Jennings will all feature in the star-studded line-up.
Joining them on the sentimental trip down memory lane will be television mentalist David Meade, Flash Harry, actor Adrian Dunbar and comedian Adrian Walsh, with Gloria Hunniford one of the comperes.
Comics Patrick Kielty and Lenny Henry and Hobbit star James Nesbitt have also been named as guest performers, although their attendance has yet to be confirmed.
The Priests will lead emotional tributes to the star, whose catchphrases — “It’s a cracker” and “It’s the way I tell ‘em” — are among the most memorable in British comedy history.
Carson’s son and daughter, Tony and Majella, put the show together as an alternative to a memorial service for their father.
“We wanted a fitting tribute to our dad within the year of his passing but we didn’t want a sombre, solemn memorial. This night is a celebration and it’ll be great craic,” said Tony.
“A lot of the acts who have signed up either knew our dad personally or performed with him, so it’s going to be a really special walk down memory lane.
“It will be the perfect mixture of tributes and performances in his memory.”
Hundreds lined the streets of Belfast on March 3 for his funeral, where he was described by Bishop Edward Daly as the “prime minister of fun”.
The performers have waived their fees on February 28, with ticket sales being donated to CLIC Sargent, the UK cancer charity, and the Integrated Education Fund (IEF), which Frank championed passionately.
His top five gags
- There was an Irish space programme to go to the sun. They went at night so they didn't get burnt.
- An Englishman, an Irishman and a Scotsman walk into a bar. The barman looks at them and says: “Is this some kind of joke?”
- I said to the waitress: “There's a fly swimming in my soup.” She said: “You've too much soup, he should only be able to paddle.”
- There were two Irishmen eating sandwiches in a pub and the landlord said: “You can't eat your own food in here.” So they swapped sandwiches.
- A man says to the doctor: “What's the good news?” The doctor says: “You've got 24 hours to live.” He says: “What's the bad news?” The doctor says: “We should have told you yesterday.”