Val Doonican dies, aged 88

Irish entertainer Val Doonican passed away peacefully last night, aged 88.

He was a regular fixture on television screens with The Val Doonican show which ran from 1965 to 1986 which featured his own performances and guest artists.

Michael Valentine ‘Val’ Doonican was born the youngest of eight children on February 3, 1927 in Waterford.

He started performing in his hometown, was featured on Irish radio and appeared in Waterford's first-ever television broadcast.

In 1951, he moved to England to join the Irish Quartet The Four Ramblers, who toured and performed on BBC Radio.

The group also supported the late Anthony Newley on tour, who persuaded Doonican to launch his solo career.

In 1963 he was booked to appear on ‘Sunday Night at the Palladium’, which led to him being offered his own show on BBC TV which ran for over 20 years.

His Aran jumpers became his trademark along with the rocking chair from which he often performed. His show launched numerous artists’ careers including that of comedian Dave Allen.

The Palladium performance also marked the start of his recording career.

Doonican had five successive Top 10 albums in the UK Album Chart in the ‘60s.

Between 1964 and 1973 he was rarely out of the UK Singles Chart. His hits included ‘Walk Tall’, ‘The Special Years’, ‘Elusive Butterfly’, ‘What Would I Be’, ‘If The Whole World Stopped Loving’, and ‘Morning’; He also sang the theme song of the film ‘Ring of Bright Water’.

In 1970 he was the subject of ‘This is Your Life’ on BBC1.

Doonican stopped performing in 2009 after over 60 years in showbusiness.

He was a keen golfer and a talented watercolour painter. In June 2011, he was recognised by the Mayor of Waterford and was bestowed ‘The Freedom of the City’ of his home town.

He is survived by his wife Lynn, daughters Sarah and Fiona and grandchildren Bethany and Scott.

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