ON SIR Ken Dodd’s celebrated ‘Giggle-map’ of Britain, Bournemouth’s audiences always stood out as a ‘very diverse’, according to the legendary comedian, who has died at the age of 90.

“During Easter it seems to attract people from all over the country,” he told the Bournemouth Echo. “People from London come down and I always seem to bump into lots of Scots.”

He had been planning his annual Easter visit to the Pavilion Theatre for later this month but it was cancelled due to the chest infection which he was fighting at the time of his death.

Sir Ken, who introduced the British people to the joys of the tickling stick and the Diddy Men, as well as jam-butty mines, lived and died in his childhood home in the Merseyside village of Knotty Ash.

But he had an association with Bournemouth that went back to the 1950s when he first performed at the ‘aircraft hangar’ Winter Gardens and ‘lovely singer’ Alma Cogan topped the bill.

“My name was just a little bit bigger than the printer’s at the bottom of the bill,” he recalled. “I looked upon it as my first trip abroad because I’d played Blackpool for four or five seasons; I’d started in 1954 and Bournemouth was my first summer season, the very first one I came out of my northern lair.

“I was really scared because Bournemouth was a posh place in the south.”

He needn’t have worried as the ‘posh place’ welcomed him back ‘every year since’. “I must have played it 50 or 60 times,” he said.

The length of his shows were legendary – often going on until well past midnight - but no one minded, least of all BH Live, which paid him this tribute.

“We are all very saddened about the passing of Sir Ken Dodd. He was a consummate all-round entertainer who always gave a master class in showmanship. He delighted audiences at Bournemouth Pavilion for many years and will be missed by all. Our thoughts and condolences are with his family and all who loved him.”

As well as delighting audiences, Sir Ken was legendary in interview, sharing his erudite views on philosophy and history, endlessly cracking jokes and, on one occasion, trying to set up a Bournemouth Echo reporter on a date!

He got away with jokes such as: "I haven't spoken to my mother-in-law for 18 months, I don't like to interrupt her," because they were delivered with obvious joy and affection.

His publicist Robert Holmes said: “To my mind, he was one of the last music hall greats. “He passed away in the home that he was born in over 90 years ago. He’s never lived anywhere else. It’s absolutely amazing."

Tributes to the comedian, who appeared in the Guinness Book of Records after telling more than 1,500 jokes in three hours and six minutes, continue to pour in.

Carol Vorderman said: “I loved him from when I was a kid. I won 1st prize in Prestatyn Carnival 1965 dressed as a Diddy Man #Proud, outfit made from an old bike tyre and a sheet. Doddy always made me cry laughing (he came on my This is Your Life show #IFeltHonoured). RIP Doddy ..you were loved”

Comedian Gary Delaney made reference to Sir Ken's long stand-up shows as he paid tribute on Twitter.

He wrote: "RIP Sir Ken Dodd. One of the all time greats. The funeral will be held on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and most of Saturday."

Meanwhile, in Knotty Ash, tickling sticks have been placed, along with flowers, in his memory.