Having said all that, I probably don’t need to explain Tommy's appeal, as A Night out with Tommy Cooper – Just Like That! is essentially a tribute show most likely to attract existing fans. In fact, when an elderly man in the foyer asked me if I was looking forward to seeing “the master”, I did wonder whether he seriously believed Tommy was still alive!
To work well, tribute shows have to be top notch. Fans often know the original material inside out and they set the bar high. Anything less would be to let their hero down – and that would never do. Clive Mantle did not let Tommy down. From the second he walked onto the stage, he was Tommy Cooper. Physically, he is very similar to him anyway, but on top of that he had perfected the voice and the mannerisms and even learnt some magic. The first half was a recreation of Tommy’s stage show; the second half began in a more poignant manner, with Tommy sat in the dressing room, drinking, smoking and struggling to get back on the stage. Get back he did - and his fans loved him for it, just as last night they loved Clive Mantle.