For 34 years, Tommy Cooper ’s daughter Vicky has been unable to speak publicly about her father’s sudden death on stage.
But the 64-year-old has finally found the courage to give her first TV interview about the much-loved comedian.
And in the chat, she hit back at an ITV drama four years ago that portrayed her dad as an alcoholic wife-beater – insisting he was never violent.
Vicky, who grew up in Chiswick, West London, with Tommy, mum Gwen and brother Thomas, tells how the TV star would test his gags out on the family.
She says: “Dad had a list of jokes so he would sit at the dining table. And he used to get me to go through the jokes and mark them, red, amber or green.
“He loved laughing. That’s all he wanted to do, make people laugh. He got such joy when people laughed.”
The 2014 drama Not Like That, Like This, starring David Threlfall and Amanda Redman, focused on Tommy’s affair with assistant Mary Fieldhouse.
In tomorrow’s Tommy Cooper in His Own Words on C5, Vicky acknowledges the fling, but insists the programme showed her dad in a bad light.
She adds: “Having watched it, I feel as if I’ve been assaulted myself.
“It’s as if the father I loved is no longer my property. He’s been taken away and replaced by a Tommy Cooper I don’t recognise.”
Writer Simon Nye insisted Vicky had approved the scripts, but she claims to have only seen a version which bore little resemblance to the finished product.
Vicky says: “He was a wonderful family man, he really was.”
The programme charts Tommy’s life from the Welsh mining town of Caerphilly to Britain’s highest-paid comedian.
He collapsed from a heart attack and died at 63 during a live show in 1984.
Vicky adds: “I have never done a TV interview before because I couldn’t talk about my father, because of the grief.
“It all of a sudden came to me, I owe it to his public, for them to know about the real man. And to show my love and respect for him.”
Tommy’s best one-liners
* Two fish in a tank, one says to the other – you drive, I’ll man the guns.
* Police arrested two kids, one was drinking battery acid, the other was eating fireworks. They charged one and let the other off.
* I slept like a log last night. I woke up in the fireplace.
* My wife and I were married in a toilet – it was a marriage of convenience.
* I went to buy some camouflage trousers but I couldn’t find any.
* Two aerials meet on a roof, fall in love and get married. The ceremony was rubbish but the reception was brilliant.
* A man said to the doctor: “I’ve broken my arm in several places.” The doctor said: “Well, don’t go there any more.”
Tommy Cooper in His Own Words, C5, tomorrow, 9.15pm