In 1984 casting agent Phil McKay booked comedian Ken Dodd for a gig at Stanwix Park Holiday Centre in Silloth.

Phil, who was entertainment manager at the time, was trying to attract big name stars to the holiday village.

He was speaking following news of the comedian's death earlier this week.

He told The Cumberland News: "I wanted to bring in some big names in my role as entertainments manager. I said to boss Eric Stanwix that we needed to put on cabaret shows and get the likes of Ken Dodd and The Drifters."

On the night Ken Dodd - famous for his tickling stick - was due, a packed house had gathered in Silloth.

Phil, who now runs Lakeside Casting Agency in Carlisle, said: "He was booked for 7.30pm for an 8pm start but at 9.30pm he still hadn't turned up. I was pacing the floor thinking he wasn't going to come. I was flapping.

"Then a big car pulled into the car park and he got out. He was really apologetic and he said he'd got lost.

"He went straight backstage, had a wash and a bit of make up on and then he went on stage and when he got on that stage he didn't leave - for three hours. He'd only been booked for an hour.

"I introduced as the funniest man from Notty Ash.

"I think we paid about £1,000 for him to come."

Thirty three years later, Phil met Ken again at the Sands Centre in Carlisle.

He said: "I got him to sign a range of things and I told him the story of when he appeared in Silloth and I think he remembered."

Speaking of his death earlier this week, Phil said: "He was genuine, funny and unique. He had all the qualities you need for a variety show. I was very pleased to have met him."

In 2002, Phil helped cast actors to play roles in a TV documentary called Ken Dodd in the Dock.

The programme, about Ken's tax affairs, was filmed at the old court in Carlisle.

Phil said: "I had to try and find look-a-like actors for this one.

"Clive Champney, who used to work at Border TV, played the role of High Court judge."

Ken was photographed with Carlisle artist Gordon Young on the Comedy Carpet in Blackpool in 2011.

Gordon, who designed the Cursing Stone in the city, also went on to design the Comedy Carpet featuring the names of many stars who graced the theatres in Blackpool.