By jove! It’s Ken Dodd!

The Museum of Liverpool is set to open a new photographic exhibition this November, celebrating the life of a comedy legend.

By Jove! It’s Ken Dodd! Photographs by Stephen Shakeshaft will open on 8 November 2013 until 21 April 2014, capturing the man behind the performer through the lens of an award-winning Liverpool photographer who has been snapping the ‘Squire of Knotty Ash’ for over 50 years.

Beginning his career at the Liverpool Daily Post & Echo in 1962, one of Stephen Shakeshaft’s earliest assignments was to photograph ‘Doddy’. A friendship blossomed between the pair, and a bond of mutual respect and trust has allowed Stephen to become an intimate observer of Ken Dodd’s career.

Displaying photographs that are candid, poignant, affectionate and amusing – many taken from the wings during performances – this exhibition will feature just some of the shots Stephen’s taken over the years of Liverpool’s best-loved entertainer doing what he does best.

Ken Dodd 2 (c) Stephen Shakeshaft - Liverpool Echo and PostCurator Paul Gallagher said: “As Picture Editor of the Liverpool Daily Post & Echo, Stephen has been taking photographs of local icons throughout his career, but having seen the honesty and warmth captured in his shots of Ken, it’s quite clear they have developed a particularly special relationship, that has enabled Stephen to portray a rarely-seen side of Ken Dodd.

“His personal archive of images showing Ken as both the entertainer and the man is absolutely fantastic. As a curator, it’s been a gift to have so many images to work with. The only difficult part has been choosing which photographs could make it into the exhibition, as sadly we don’t have space to display the hundreds that Stephen has of Ken.”

The exhibition will feature around 50 images of Ken Dodd taken by Stephen Shakeshaft over five decades, in a variety of locations and situations. Whether it be relaxing in the dressing room with a pint, clowning around with some young fans or hanging out with his best mate Dickie Mint, Stephen has been there for a great many moments in Ken Dodd’s career, and this exhibition features some of the highlights.

Stephen said: “Ken Dodd is an icon for many in terms of comedic talent and Liverpool pride. I have been lucky enough to photograph the man himself on stage, back stage and at the many events he has attended over the years where he has put smiles on people’s faces with his unwavering Scouse wit and charm.

“This exhibition is not just about how people see Ken Dodd as a comedian but what he is like when he’s preparing for a show and what he’s like on stage from a more intimate perspective in the wings.

“I look forward to seeing the reactions of visitors to the exhibition at the Museum of Liverpool, and hope it will spread a bit of the ‘happiness’ that Ken so effortlessly prescribes to all who watch him and have been lucky enough to meet him, including myself.”

Liverpool Waterfront