Andy Eastwood's Ukulele Heroes


Ken Goodwin


 Ken Goodwin in Blackpool

Ken Goodwin headshot

 Ken at work

Ken Goodwin was born in Manchester on 7 April 1933. He began his entertainment career by teaching himself the uke and impersonating his hero George Formby. From an early age he appeared in school concerts and then progressed to social events, clubs and then worked as a support act for star names of the 60s variety scene.

He included just a few jokes at first, but when a hand injury prevented him from playing, it became necessary to concentrate solely on comedy for a while, and his style - which like Formby's was innocent, 'daft' and family-friendly - provided a breath of fresh air amid the hard-hitting, gritty northern club comics. It was his warm personality and gormless character rather than his corny material that captivated the audience - Ken laughed at the silliness of what he was saying, and his own reaction was as funny as the gags themselves.

Appearances on Opportunity Knocks and The Good Old Days brought Ken to the attention of the public, but Ken's biggest break was when producer Johnnie Hamp included him in original line-up of the now legendary TV show The Comedians in 1971. Ken's sensational success on the show made him a household name, adored by millions. The Comedians led Ken to engagements at the London Palladium, two Royal Command performances, and a TV special of his own.

Ken re-introduced the uke as his hands recovered, and it remained a part of his act throughout the rest of his highly successful career, which included tours of Australia, cabaret on the QE2, work in Hong Kong and the Falkland Islands, television, variety, summer seasons and pantomime, broadcasts with the BBC Radio Orchestra and five record albums.

He passed away at the age of 78 on 18 February 2012 in North Wales, having suffered Alzheimers disease for some time.

- Andy Eastwood, April 2012

Read Ken's obituary from The Guardian here: