Val Doonican: the lowdown

Published 07/07/2015 | 00:00

Ten things you may not know about Val Doonican, who died last week, aged 88.

The youngest in a family of eight children, he grew up in Waterford with very little, leaving school to at 14 to go to work, after his father died.

One of his first professional engagements was with a band at a summer season in Courtown Harbour in 1947 - playing the drums and at times guitar.

His big break came in 1963 on ITV's Sunday Night At The London Palladium. He later said the eight-minute slot changed his life.

His Palladium appearance resulted in the offer of his own TV show - it lasted two decades and at its peak had almost 20 million viewers.

His album 'Val Doonican Rocks, But Gently' knocked The Beatles' 'Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band' off the top of the UK charts.

He had five top ten hit singles in the UK.

During his long career, he recorded more than 50 albums.

He never did reach number one in the Irish charts, but peaked at No. 2 three times - with 'Walk Tall', 'The Special Years' and 'If The World Stopped Loving'.

He wed cabaret artist Lynnette Rae in 1962 - they celebrated 53 years of marriage this year.

In 2011, at the age of 84, he given The Freedom of the City by the Mayor of Waterford.

Wexford People

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