"Whenever anybody is thinking about British comedy and British culture, the first name that will come up will be Ken Dodd".
The veteran comedy master passed away in his home on March 11.
Instantly recognizable for his unruly mop of hair and snaggletoothed grin, Dodd came up through the hardscrabble ranks of Britain's variety circuit, where performers kept demanding crowds entertained with songs, a bit of dance and a slew of jokes.
Mr Merrilees, who retired as theatre manager in 2010, added: "As was the case where-ever he played, he stayed on so long that he was almost the last person left in the theatre. His happiness show was a regular part of Eastbourne Theatres Summer Season and his epic lengthy shows were renowned the world over, which kept audiences glued to their seats to the early hours of the morning for every visit". He even earned a place in the Guinness Book of Records for the world's longest ever joke-telling session: 1,500 jokes in three-and-a-half hours, undertaken at a Liverpool theatre in the 1960s.
"To my mind, he was one of the last music hall greats", his publicist Robert Holmes said in a statement to media. Tears and Love is like a Violin.
"Beloved by many people in Britain and a great champion of his home city and comedy".
The Bishop of Liverpool Paul Bayes said: "He brought joy and delight to millions, and although so many of us are in grief and sorrow here, I'm sure that there will now be a fresh gale of laughter in heaven". Today it's tears of sadness as well.
In 1989, Dodd "faced the possibility of disgrace", says the BBC, when he stood trial at Liverpool Crown Court on eight charges of tax fraud "spanning a period of 15 years and involving £825,000".
"His popularity never really waned".
Dodd was knighted in 2017 in recognition of his lengthy career and years of charity work. His last ever performance was at The Auditorium in the Liverpool Echo Arena in December.
The flags at the Town Hall, St George's Hall, Cunard Building and Central Library will fly at half-mast as a mark of respect.
Here are five other things you may not know about the late, great funnyman.
Fans had left flowers and tickling sticks in tribute outside his home, where his wife spoke to reporters.
Liz asked Sir Ken to take on the role of chairman of Alder Hey Children's Hospital's 75th birthday appeal, to raise £1.75m to build a hydrotherapy pool for badly burned children, provide parent accommodation and help fund the bereavement counselling centre.
Twitter is also mourning the comedian/ actor's death.