Val Doonican: Irish singer and entertainer dies aged 88

Doonican died in his family home on Wednesday evening

Click to follow
The Independent Online

The Irish singer and entertainer Val Doonican has died aged 88.

Doonican passed away peacefully in his home on Wednesday evening, his family told The BBC.

He had five top 10 hits throughout the sixties and starred in his own BBC programme, The Val Doonican Show , between 1965 and 1986. The programme included performances from Doonican and other guest artists.

Doonican was born in Waterford, in Ireland, and went on to appear in the city's first ever television broadcast. He moved to England in 1951 and joined The Four Ramblers before embarking on a solo career.

Some of his most widely-known hits include the songs "Walk Tall", which reached number 3 in the UK charts, and his cover of "Elusive Butterfly", which hit number 5.

Doonican filmed 25 Christmas specials throughout his broadcasting career, but told The Express in 2013 he often found them hard to watch.

“They became something of a national institution, attracting audiences of up to 19 million," he said. "But I couldn’t bear to watch. It felt embarrassing seeing myself. We’d sit as a family enjoying ourselves but as soon as my show started, I’d nip off to another room.

Doonican said he was "never dizzy with stardom" and "didn't take it too seriously", but still received occasional fan mail. He enjoyed painting, golf, and spending time with his family in their Buckinghamshire home.

He is survived by his wife Lynn and their two daughters, Sarah and Fiona.