1 9 6 9 – 1 9 7 2 (UK)
28 x 10 minute episodes
After several years of using the Diddymen in his variety stage shows, Ken Dodd brought the little chaps from Knotty Ash to BBC1 for their own series in puppet form, debuting at 5.55 pm on Sunday 5 January 1969. Needless to say, Doddy himself was circumknockerated about it!
The Diddymen were Dicky Mint, a character based on Doddy himself – hence he always carried a Tickling Stick; Hon. Nigel Ponsonby Smallpiece, the very well-spoken Diddyman with a top hat, monocle and morning suit; aggressive Irish Diddyman Mick the Marmaliser (no racial stereotyping here); Harry Cot from Somerset who was regarded as a country yokel (perhaps because he always wore a farmer’s smock and carried a pitchfork); Hamish McDiddy the kilt-wearing Scotsman; and Little Evan, the Welsh Diddyman, who joined the series towards the end of 1969.
Doddy’s Diddy pals worked in the Snuff Quarries, Jam Butty Mines, Broken Biscuit Repair Works and Moggie Ranch, all in Knotty Ash.
Ken Dodd and The Diddymen was produced by Stan Parkinson for BBC Manchester. Ken Dodd provided the voices for each of the characters who were all brought to life by Roger Stevenson’s puppets.
The Sunday teatime series proved popular with kiddies and adults alike.
The Diddymen continued to feature in Ken’s stage routine for many years with sporadic TV appearances, but as children or dwarf actors rather than puppets.