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2012 – we look back at the highlights

Jimmy Cricket played Baron Hardup in panto with Dancing on Ice star Ray Quinn as Prince Charming
Jimmy was Baron Hardup in panto with Dancing on Ice’s Ray Quinn Prince Charming

Jimmy has had another busy year and as usual he has travelled the length and breadth of the country to meet his touring commitments throughout 2012.

Some of the highlights of the past 12 months include:

– At the start of the year appearing as Baron Hardup in a pantomime version of Cinderella at the Civic Theatre in Darlington

– Headlining the summer show at the Hippodrome Theatre, Eastbourne, which ran for five months and was presented every Tuesday and Wednesday evening from the first week of May through to the end of September

– Featuring in a northern comedy tour alongside the inimitable Mick Miller

– Appearing at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, the Sheffield Comedy festival and the new Belly Laughs Belfast comedy festival

– Travelling to venues in Guernsey, Cromer, Torquay, Bridlington, Carlisle, Towyn and Glasgow – to name just a few of the different places visited

– Appearing in BBC 3’s Comedy Marathon which was recorded at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe Festival

– Participating in a recording of the new Sky TV comedy series called John Bishop’s Only Joking

Jimmy said: “I would like to thank all those who came to one of my shows this year or who have bought one of my merchandise items.

“Also thanks to anyone who has followed me on Twitter, decided to be a friend on Facebook or who has viewed one of my clips on YouTube.

“Thanks you all for your continuing support and I hope to see you in 2013!”

Thanks – and have a meal on me!

 

The technical crew used Jimmy's money to go to an Italian restaurant
The technical crew used Jimmy’s money to go to an Italian restaurant

Jimmy Cricket recently completed a five-month summer season in Eastbourne – and thanked the technical crew by treating them to an Italian meal.

On the last night of the show, Sentimental Journey, at the Royal Hippodrome Theatre, the famous Irish comedian gave each of the technical staff a tenner as a small token of his appreciation for all their help.

The four, Megan, James, Tim and Jo, went out and spent Jimmy’s financial contribution at an Italian restaurant.

And they sent Jimmy a message of appreciation and said they had all enjoyed working with Jimmy over the summer season.

It read:

Jimmy,

With a hearty thanks from the Royal Hippodrome Crew who enjoyed a splendid post season three-course meal thanks to your generosity.

It’s been a pleasure working with you.

Best regards,

Megan, James, Tim & Jo xx

The crew sent Jimmy photos of them having the meal and he immediately recognised the Italian restaurant as he used to frequent it often over the summer when he was in the resort.

Reward for outstanding courtesy

The article appeared in the 11 September edition of the Eastbourne Gazette

Comedian Jimmy Cricket, who prides himself on his clean humour, has helped to honour a man for outstanding courtesy and good customer service.

The Belfast-born, Rochdale-based funnyman was on hand to present Jack Pout from Eastbourne his award on behalf of the National Campaign for Courtesy.

Jack, aged 18, works at his parents’ business Seaside Furniture and was nominated by shopper Edward Thomas, who lives in Eastbourne and is a member of the campaign.

The presentation featuring Jimmy, who is a patron of the campaign, and Jack was reported by the Eastbourne Gazette and on the Eastbourne Herald online.

Also at the presentation were campaign chairman Peter Foot and Mr Thomas.

Other campaign patrons include:

DAVID HAMILTON
ROY HUDD OBE
DOUG McKENZIE
DIANA MORAN
PENNY PALMANO
ESTHER RANTZEN CBE
JOAN REGAN
THE CHIEF RABBI LORD SACKS OF ALDGATE
MARY ANN SIEGHART
JUNE WHITFIELD CBE

Jimmy has been performing in Eastbourne twice a week since 1 May in the family show Sentimental Journey at the Royal Hippodrome Theatre. It finishes next Wednesday (26 September).

It’s Showtime!

A train forms the backdrop for all the performers in Sentimental Journey
A train forms the backdrop for all the performers in Sentimental Journey at the Royal Hippodrome Theatre

A railway station is the nostalgic setting for a variety summer show starring comedian Jimmy Cricket.

The Belfast-born funnyman has since May been appearing in Sentimental Journey to mark the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee year at the Royal Hippodrome Theatre in Eastbourne, East Sussex.

Entertainers Mike Lee and Barry Moon
Entertainers Mike Lee and Barry Moon

The story goes that a train has broken down at the Royal Hippodrome station  so, while everyone waits for it to be repaired, the station master and “the man from head office” arrange some entertainment to keep people amused.

It transports the audience back to an era when a small company of talented individuals would sing, dance and tell jokes.

For a video slideshow of the performers from the show, visit Jimmy’s homepage here or go to the Wellie Boot channel on YouTube.

The host for the evening is the singer Mike Lee, who plays the train’s inspector, and at the start of the show he bumps into the train’s conductor – none other than the talented impressionist Barry Moon.

Barry Moon sings at the Hippodrome
Barry Moon sings at the Royal Hippodrome

Jimmy Cricket said: “Both Barry and Mike are also the show’s producers and they have done a great job at putting this show together.”

The Showtime Dancers in Sentimental Journey are Nick, Jo, Lauren and Janine.

Also appearing are world-renowned tribute acts Colin Gold and Tracy Lea.

Colin, who starred on ITV’s Stars in Their Eyes, has gone on to become one of the most experienced and acclaimed Billy Fury acts in the world. Halfway to Paradise was one of Fury’s best-known songs.

Tracy Lee and dancers Nick, Jo, Lauren and Janine
Tracy Lee & dancers Nick, Jo, Lauren & Janine

Connie Francis’ greatest hits included Who’s Sorry Now, Lipstick on Your Collar and Stupid Cupid. Tracy also appeared on Stars in Their Eyes, a British television talent show screened on Saturday nights from 21 July 1990 to 23 December 2006 in which contestants impersonated showbiz stars.

Jimmy, Colin and Tracy recently appeared live in Eastbourne on ITV’s breakfast show, Daybreak.

* Performances for Sentimental Journey are at 8.15 each Tuesday and Wednesday night throughout the summer. Tickets cost £12 and £17 – go here for more information.

Article recalls Olympic show

Eastbourne Herald article about Jimmy Cricket on ITV's Daybreak breakfast programme
The article in the Eastbourne Herald newspaper about Jimmy Cricket on ITV's Daybreak breakfast show

A newspaper has reported on Jimmy Cricket’s live appearance earlier this month on ITV.

The Irish comedian was interviewed by presenter Gethin Jones on the breakfast show, Daybreak, 10 days ago.

Alongside him were fellow entertainers in Sentimental Journey, the family extravaganza running at the Royal Hippodrome Theatre in Eastbourne, East Sussex, from 1 May to 26 September.

The programme was celebrating the journey of the Olympic Torch through the town of Eastbourne ahead of London 2012 which officially starts later today.

An article about the occasion, including Jimmy’s appearance, was published in the Eastbourne Herald.

VIDEO: Watch Jimmy with Gethin on Daybreak here.

* Performances for Sentimental Journey are at 8.15 each Tuesday and Wednesday night throughout the summer. Tickets cost £12 and £17 – go here for more information.

Catching up on old times

Old friends Jimmy Cricket and Jacqui Ridler meet up again

Jimmy Cricket met up with an old friend while appearing in his summer show on the south coast.

The famous comedian is currently starring in Sentimental Journey, the family extravaganza running at the Royal Hippodrome Theatre in Eastbourne, East Sussex, every Tuesday and Wednesday evening until 26 September.

Jimmy Cricket and Jacqui Ridler

And it was there he caught up with Jacqui Ridler (formerly Jacqui Munroe) whom Jimmy has known since the 1970s.

They first met when Jimmy worked the holiday park circuit in Torbay where Jacqui was a Bluecoat.

Jacqui herself is from Torquay and her mum ran a hotel in the resort for a long time. In fact, Jimmy stayed at the hotel in 1994 when he was appearing at the Festival Theatre in Paignton.

She now lives in Eastbourne with her husband and thought she should pop along and catch up with Jimmy.

When Cricket met tennis…

Comedy legend Jimmy CricketJimmy Cricket has been trying his hand at tennis – or an unlikely mixture of tennis and cricket! – ahead of an international sports tournament.

The Aegon International at Devonshire Park in Eastbourne starts on Monday (18 June) and for many top tennis players is an annual warm-up for Wimbledon which begins the following week.

Former world number one Andy Roddick is one of the names appearing at this year’s Aegon International after the 2003 US Open champion was knocked out of the current tournament at Queen’s Club in the second round.

Comedy legend Cricket, who is currently starring in the variety show Sentimental Journey at the Royal Hippodrome Theatre on Seaside Road every Tuesday and Wednesday until 26 September, could not resist a trip to Eastbourne Sports Park to see what happens when Cricket met tennis!

The Irish funnyman larked about for the cameras with his trademark wellies (on the wrong feet of course). His jovial banter lit up the huge all-weather tennis centre  situated at Cross Levels Way, Eastbourne.

Comedy legend Jimmy Cricket

Sentimental Journey is a traditional, family friendly variety show, which has been playing at the delightful ‘hidden gem’ of a theatre since May. Audiences and critics have been enjoying the show and delighting in Jimmy’s hilarious routines which feature an array of ridiculous props, stories and jokes.

And “there’s more” as the cast also includes music from Colin Gold as Billy Fury, Tracey Lea as Connie Francis with comedy from Mike Lee and Barry Moon, plus the Showtime Dancers.

Tickets are priced at £17 – to book call the box office on 01323 412000 or go online here.

Eastbourne Sports Park is a collaborative project between Eastbourne Borough Council, East Sussex County Council, Sussex Downs College, Park College and Sport England.

All photos for this story courtesy of Peter Gurr.

Comedy legend Jimmy Cricket

Up and running in Eastbourne

Article about Jimmy Cricket from the Eastbourne Herald

Here are two articles marking Jimmy Cricket’s arrival for his summer show in Eastbourne.

The Belfast-born comedian is appearing in a variety show, Sentimental Journey, to mark the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee year at the Royal Hippodrome Theatre in Eastbourne, East Sussex, from 1 May to 26 September.

Also appearing are fellow comedians Barry Moon and Mike Lee, world-renowned tribute acts Colin Gold and Tracy Lea – who perform as Billy Fury and Connie Francis respectively – and the Show Time Dancers.

The article above is from the Eastbourne Herald on 27 April and below from the Sussex Express (same date).

Article about Jimmy Cricket from the Sussex Express

Car’s a write-off – but show must go on!

Jimmy Cricket's car was damaged by a falling tree
Jimmy Cricket's car was written off after being badly damaged by a falling tree

Irish comedian Jimmy Cricket suffered more than just a bit of car trouble only 48 hours before he was due to begin his summer show in Eastbourne.

The vehicle which he and his wife May use for travelling to entertainment venues all over the UK was extensively damaged during bad weather near their home in Rochdale.

“We had a good opening night in Eastbourne, although two days before on the Sunday heavy winds brought a tree down on top of our car which was parked outside the house on the edge of Healey Dell Nature Reserve,” said Jimmy.

“It was a write-off and since then we’ve been driving around in hired cars. Thank God we weren’t in it.”

Jimmy Cricket is starring in a “royal” variety show in Eastbourne to mark the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee year.

Sentimental Journey is on at the Royal Hippodrome Theatre in Eastbourne, East Sussex, from 1 May to 26 September.

Irish comedian in the headlines…

Jimmy Cricket in Eastbourne

Jimmy Cricket’s appearance in a family entertainment extravaganza at the Royal Hippodrome Theatre in Eastbourne, East Sussex, this summer has hit the headlines.

The loveable Irish comedian features in two big stories about the show.

One is on the Eastbourne Herald website and here is an excerpt from the article:

Over the last few years Eastbourne has begun to finally shake free of its historic tag as a pensioner’s paradise but this summer one corner of the Sunshine Coast will be proudly plonking itself well and truly inside a time warp.

Having opened way back in 1883, the Royal Hippodrome Theatre has played host to stars of the stage as diverse as Peter Sellers, Ken Dodd, Vera Lynn and even escape artists extraordinaire Harry Houdini.

But despite surviving an unfair roasting from Sir Bruce Forsyth, who publicly laid into the venue’s facilities during an interview – he was starring at the Hippodrome when he was called up to compere at the London Palladium – the much-loved theatre has fallen on hard times.

Where once it staged regular shows, attracting sell-out crowds of more than 1,000 all year round, now the bill is limited to the summer months and played out in front of audiences which are often far more modest.

This summer though, the powers that be are hoping for a return to the halcyon days of yesteryear as the venue once again gears up for its summer variety show – the longest running of its type anywhere in the UK.

A Sentimental Journey kicks off on May 1 and runs all the way up until the end of September and boasts an array of acts ready to tread the boards in what promises to be a fun-filled and nostalgia twinged trip back to the 1950s and 60s – a time when variety ruled the world and places like the Hippodrome attracted the biggest stars in the businesses.

The line-up includes a Billy Fury tribute act who blossomed after an appearance on hit TV show Stars in Their Eyes and a team of show time dancers who will no doubt high kick their way through some of the popular numbers from yesteryear.

Comperes Barry Moon and Mike Lee will keep things ticking over with their mix of conversation and comedy while Tracey Lea appears as the much-loved Connie Francis.

Top of the bill and very much the main attraction though is a man perhaps best known for his letters from his mammy and an inability to tell his left from his right.

Jimmy Cricket in Eastbourne

Jimmy Cricket has been charming crowds since first stepping onto a Butlins stage as a 18-year-old red coat back in 1966. England may have been winning the World Cup, but over the sea in the small Irish town of Mosney a young comic was developing a winning formula which would carry him through the next four decades and see him leave an indelible print on the comedy consciousness of all who saw him.

Read the full story here

And Jimmy is also mentioned prominently in a feature on Whatsonstage.com, which says it is “Britain’s biggest and best theatre and performing arts website”.

The story is about Eastbourne’s Royal Hippodrome opening its doors again May with a five-month run of a new summer season show called Sentimental Journey – in which Jimmy will be starring.

Here is a section from the story:

The summer show, which is being produced to mark the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee year, is a family variety show appropriately called Sentimental Journey. This will take you on a journey back to the time of the coronation (1953) with Stars in Their Eyes contestants Colin Gold as Billy Fury and Tracy Lea, as Connie Francis. The show will also have its own Show Time Dancers and alternating compères Barry Moon and Mike Lee. Headlining is a man who has been described as “one of the greatest front of tabs comedians” and family favourite, Jimmy Cricket.

I had an opportunity to talk to Jimmy about the show and the theatre in which it plays.

“This is the Cinderella theatre in Eastbourne and the fact that it could have closed makes me weep. I’ve gone out on a limb sometimes, when I see other theatres closing, and I have had irate letters back from some councillors asking why I am butting in, but I can’t just stand by and watch them go under.

“I was here three or four years ago. I stood in for Syd Little for a few nights in the summer when he had other commitments, and when I had the greasepaint on and I got the smell of the theatre in my nostrils I knew I wanted to come back. It’s wonderful to be here for a real summer season, with a time-honoured and classic variety show.”

Read the full story here

Photos on this page supplied by Peter Gurr

Jimmy and the rest of the Eastbourne show entertainers
Jimmy and the rest of the Eastbourne show entertainers