FORGET Bono, Van Morrison, Ronan Keating and Daniel O’Donnell.
The title of King of the Irish singers must surely go to Val Doonican.
Between 1964 and 1986 his BBC1 show topped the Saturday night ratings.
And Val’s Christmas specials by the fireside are the stuff of TV legend.
His laid back style featured a variety of knitted garments, a rocking chair and the easiest of listening.
That included hits like Walk Tall, Scarlet Ribbons, The Special Years, Elusive Butterfly and, of course, Delaney’s Donkey.
Then Val vanished.
For some reason – and I hope he’ll forgive me – I thought Val was dead.
But he’s not.
Val turned 80 in February and, incredibly, is still touring.
Even if you’re far too young to remember him, I recommend you check out BBC4’s wonderful Val Doonican Night this Sunday.
Val Doonican Rocks at 9.15pm is an affectionate portrait of the Irish entertainer narrated by Pauline McLynn.
That’s followed at 10.15pm by Your Date With Val – a recording of his 1976 Christmas show, with guests Nana Mouskouri, James Galway, Tony Blackburn, Pete Murray, Terry Wogan, Janet Brown, Arthur Askey, Henry Cooper and Cliff Michelmore.
I reckon it might spark a long overdue cardigan revival.
Click on the link below for more about the master of easy listening, who is pictured above at Manchester’s Opera House in 1975.
Val Doonican website