Tag Archives: bbc

LEP column: Here’s to the king of comedy writers

Jimmy Cricket's Lancashire Evening Post columnJimmy Cricket remembers legendary comedy writer and close friend, the late Eddie Braben, in one of his recent newspaper columns.

Edwin ‘Eddie’ Charles Braben was best known for providing material for Eric Morecambe and Ernie Wise. He also worked for David FrostRonnie Corbett and Ken Dodd.

He was credited with changing the profile of Morecambe and Wise, helping to turn them into one of the most popular and enduring comedy acts in the history of British entertainment.

Belfast-born entertainer Jimmy, who has lived in Rochdale for many years, recalls in the Lancashire Post how Eddie started out as a market trader, selling fruit and veg from a stall in Liverpool’s St John precinct. In his spare time, he made up jokes.

Jimmy says how nervous he was when he first met Eddie, adding: “That was the start of a beautiful friendship that spanned two TV series, five radio series and even a book of letters from my Mammy.”

Northern Irish comedian Jimmy developed a lasting friendship with Eddie who sadly died aged 82 in May 2013. Below is a newspaper article in which Jimmy paid tribute to his old pal at the time.

Jimmy Cricket pays tribute to Eddie Braben in the Rochdale Observer

Jimmy Cricket’s nostalgic return to west Belfast

Jimmy Cricket and Owen O'NeillA recent nostalgic trip down Memory Lane for Jimmy Cricket was the subject of a BBC radio programme.

The famous Northern Irish entertainer returned to west Belfast, where he was born nearly 71 years ago, to tell fellow comedian and BBC Radio Ulster presenter Owen O’Neill all about his childhood.

In his radio series, Owen spends the day with a well-known local face as they show him around a place that they hold in affection, uncovering stories about their home territory.

And last month Rochdale-based Jimmy took Owen to his childhood home off the Andersonstown Road, which included playing the saxophone on the street corner where he used to perform with his mates.

They also went to the former family-run bar where much-loved funnyman Jimmy cut his teeth telling jokes to the customers.

BBC Radio Ulster posted the following tweet about Jimmy’s return home.

BBC Radio Ulster (@bbcradioulster)
In a new series Owen O’Neill spends the day with @jimmy__cricket on home turf in West Belfast. Saturday at 10:30am bbc.in/2uLCFd9 pic.twitter.com/0qWvmSJOM1

BBC Radio Ulster show on Jimmy’s Belfast roots

rish comedian Owen O’NeillJimmy Cricket has been invited to guest in a new radio series for BBC Radio Ulster called The Town I Love So Well .

The series will comprise half-hour radio programmes presented by Irish comedian Owen O’Neill (left), who is a popular Northern Ireland-based writer, actor and comedian.

Each episode of the series will feature a well-known celebrity from Northern Ireland being interviewed by Owen in and around their home town and surrounding areas.

In Jimmy’s case the programme will look back at his childhood and formative years growing up in West Belfast. This episode will feature locations which have significant memories for Jimmy and they will provide an interesting backdrop and talking point for his discussions with Owen.

Famous comedian Jimmy, 71, will be recording his programme on 23 May and the show will be broadcast on BBC Radio Ulster one Saturday morning at 10.30 am – date to be confirmed.

BBC Radio Ulster

Steve Royle & Fr Frankie Mulgrew in Bolton show

Jimmy Cricket will be appearing at Thornleigh College in Bolton with Steve Royle and Fr Frankie MulgrewJimmy Cricket is appearing in a special event at Thornleigh Salesian College in Bolton in aid of CAFOD – the Catholic Agency For Overseas Development.

In what will be a unique evening of comedy entertainment, Jimmy will be joined on stage by special guest comedian Steve Royle, who regularly hosts a Saturday morning show on BBC Radio Lancashire and featured in Peter Kay’s Phoenix Nights live show.

The evening will be hosted by comedian-turned-Catholic priest, Fr Frankie Mulgrew – Jimmy’s younger son – and there will be the odd surprise on show from pupils who attend the college.

This event is in aid of CAFOD who stand beside people living in poverty – whatever their religion or culture.

Through CAFOD’s local church partners around the world, they help people directly in their own communities and campaign for global justice.

Tickets for this night of fun and frivolity on Thursday 11 May are priced at £8 and £5 and are available from the reception at Thornleigh College (01204) 301 351.

Lending a hand to BBC Children in Need appeal

Jimmy Cricket with BBC presenter Graham Liver and his special Pudsey Bear bedJimmy Cricket has given his support to this year’s Children in Need, the BBC’s annual charity marathon.

The much-loved comedian, 71, was invited to see BBC Radio Lancashire’s main fundraising activity for this year’s appeal during a visit to their Blackburn studios recently.

He was there to be interviewed as part of his tour across the BBC local radio network to promote his new charity Christmas CD.

In between interviews Jimmy was invited to pop out to meet Graham Liver who is tasked with dragging a four-poster bed all the way from West Yorkshire to the Lancashire coastline.

Graham, a television newsreader on BBC North West Tonight and Breakfast presenter on BBC Radio Lancashire, will set off from Pudsey – located midway between Leeds and Bradford in West Yorkshire – and walk more than 100 miles to Bare in Morecambe, Lancashire. Pudsey Bear is BBC Children in Need’s mascot.

He will drag his specially designed bed along highways and country lanes, meeting listeners in many of the towns and villages covered by BBC Radio Lancashire.

Graham set off on Saturday (12 November) and aims to complete the challenge in time to help out Pudsey Bear and friends on Children in Need appeal night, which is Friday 18 November.

Jimmy said: “I wish Graham all the very best and hope he raises buckets-full of cash for this annual fundraising drive.”

* Jimmy’s new charity Christmas CD, Santa bring my wellies back to me, is available to buy from this website through a PayPal facility or in person directly from the Francis House Children’s Hospice.

Noise Arts Festival in Essex sounded just great!

The secrets behind the BBC’s The Good Old Days

Jimmy Cricket's column in the Preston-based Lancashire Evening Post about The Good Old Days on the BBC

Jimmy Cricket has been revealing some of the secrets behind the success of the TV comedy programme, The Good Old Days.

The all-round entertainer, now 70, appeared in the variety show, which ran for 30 years.

It was one of the BBC’s most watched light entertainment programmes of the 1970s and 1980s, and sought to re-create the heydays of music hall entertainment which had charmed audiences at the turn of the 19th century.

The BBC re-creation of the music hall held true to its historic format, as performers appeared in period costume and a chairman entertained those present with hearty introductions. Even audience members were instructed to attend in Victorian attire (see picture below).

This BBC series was filmed on location at one of the best-maintained music hall venues in the country – the City Varieties Music Hall in Leeds.

Jimmy, one of the UK’s best-loved comedians, told readers of his latest Lancashire Evening Post monthly column that the success of the programme was down to one man – Leeds-born Barney Colehan.

The audience dressed in period costume for the Good Old Days programme at the City Varieties Music Hall in Leeds

“Barney had a unique gift for capturing the atmosphere of a live show and getting that across to the viewers in their living rooms.

“But there’s more… as someone who appeared on the show, I can lift the lid on some of the devices Barney used to make his show so popular.

“Firstly, he used the intimate and beautiful City Varieties Theatre in Leeds to transmit the shows from.

“He then put a live orchestra in the pit – with the right blend of instruments to capture the feel of the music hall.

“He brought in the avuncular and immensely likeable Leonard Sacks to act as chairman – from the start to the end of each show, Leonard struck up an irresistible rapport with the audience.

“And that, dear readers, was Barney’s trump card: the audience. But they weren’t just any old audience. Everyone sitting in the front seats were from amateur operatic societies up and down the country.”

Jimmy added: “Barney’s legacy is that the show he put his heart and soul into is now watched avidly on BBC Four every Friday night.

“It is enjoyed both by older viewers who remember it first time round and new viewers who are loving it for the first time.”

Although the BBC finished producing the Good Old Days TV show during the 1980s, the City Varieties Theatre is still open and continues to flourish. It even went through an extensive restoration phase a few years ago and to this day presents a varied diet of music, comedy and drama, including its very own version of The Good Old Days.

 * Jimmy will be appearing in a live recreation of The Good Old Days at the City Varieties in Leeds on 23 and 24 September. For more details, click here

Sir Terry Wogan: ‘Like losing a family friend’

Jimmy Cricket on Sir Terry Wogan in the Lancashire Evening PostJimmy Cricket has been fondly remembering the life of Sir Terry Wogan, who died last month aged 77.

Sir Terry, the genial Irishman who became one of the best-loved broadcasters in the UK, passed away on 31 January after a short battle with cancer.

In his latest column for the Lancashire Evening Post, Northern Irish entertainer Jimmy recalls the two occasions on which he met the famous presenter.

The first was after he had appeared on a TV talent show called Night Of A Thousand Stars which Sir Terry compered.

Jimmy reflects: “After my spot, I ran breathlessly round to find how I did from the doyen of all communicators.

“In his unmistakeable tones, he gave me a resounding ‘that was great, Jimmy!’ For a fledgling entertainer, it was just what I wanted to hear.”

Jimmy, 70, continues: “A few years later, I appeared on his famous chat show. At the time, Dallas and Dynasty were the big things on television, with larger-than-life characters like JR Ewing in Dallas and Blake Carrington in Dynasty.

“Terry used to get a lot of mileage on his radio programme by gently sending up these American blockbusters. I worked up a routine about a British version of Dynasty and I played a character called, wait for it, Harrington Farrington from Warrington!

“I’m not actually sure how funny this pastiche was, but Terry – gracious as ever – led the audience with bucket-loads of laughter and applause. Afterwards in the hospitality suite, he was unstinting in his praise.”

He adds: “The emotion that poured out of people when they heard of his death a couple of weeks, ago revealed he was more than a broadcaster. Listeners felt they’d lost a family friend.”

Jimmy Cricket to appear on BBC Northern Ireland’s Nolan Live

Stephen Nolan - Jimmy Cricket is appearing on his BBC radio show

Jimmy Cricket is going to appear on BBC Northern Ireland’s popular current affairs television show Nolan Live on Wednesday, June 3.

It is presented by Stephen Nolan (above) – a name that might be familiar to readers as he is often heard on BBC Radio 5 live presenting the station’s evening programme at the weekend.

Stephen Nolan's programme is called Nolan Live

Stephen’s TV show in Northern Ireland is a mix between topical debate and chat – he holds a panel discussion during one part of the programme, with the other section devoted to talking to a special guest. The first programme in this current series featured Peter Stringfellow,  the British businessman and nightclub owner.

Nolan Live has built a significant share of the viewing audience over several series and is now one of the most popular shows that BBC Northern Ireland produces for its home audience.

Famous entertainer Jimmy said: “Not only will I be having a chat with Stephen about what I am up to currently, but I have also been asked to perform some comedy stand-up and this is an opportunity I’m relishing.”

Johnny Vegas to also feature in film

Johnny Vegas is appearing in the Womble film

Famous actor and comedian Johnny Vegas is to appear in the Womble movie, which is being filmed on location in North Wales and also features entertainer Jimmy Cricket. 

St Helens-born Johnny is well known for his appearances in the hit ITV comedy drama Benidorm and also for popping up in adverts for tea brand PG Tips with a stuffed puppet monkey!

His addition to the cast is another major coup for the people behind Womble the movie, as it also includes top comedian Jimmy, 69, who will play himself as a talent contest judge.

The film is about a man called Aloysis Rupert Womble (played by actor and comedian Tom Spencer), who is in his 30s and living with Asperger’s Syndrome in a typical seaside resort town.

Children and adults affected by Asperger’s Syndrome have difficulty with social interactions and exhibit a restricted range of interests and/or repetitive behaviours.

Aloysis’s dream is to become a stand-up comedian. The film is a week-long snapshot of his life as he goes through the trials of living with a cognitive disorder, while dealing with the injustices forced upon him by society and parts of his community.

Over the seven-day period he prepares for the biggest night of his life – a talent show in his local pub.

The film will feature songs from the Beautiful South’s former lead singer Briana Corrigan and American Pie star Thomas Nicholas, as well as a string of original songs written by songwriters especially for the movie.