Tag Archives: lancashire evening post

A look back to when Mrs Cricket was also surprised on TV’s This Is Your Life!

Jimmy Cricket's May column in the Lancashire Evening Post

Jimmy Cricket has been recalling the day he was presented with the famous ‘big red book’ on This Is Your Life – and how his wife May also got a massive surprise!

In his latest column for the Lancashire Evening Post, Jimmy explained how in the late 1980s he had been asked by his publishers to go to London for the launch of his Letters From My Mammy book.

Jimmy was informed the event was going to take place on a building site the following day, when in reality he was going to be met by This Is Your Life presenter Eamonn Andrews.

In the popular and long-running show, the host would spring unexpectedly on a special guest, before going to a studio to take them through their life with the assistance of the ‘big red book’ and the help of friends and family.

The surprise element was a very important part of the show; if the guest heard about the plans beforehand, it would immediately be abandoned.

After arriving in London, Jimmy bumped into his sister-in-law Evelyn much to his amazement (and hers!), as she had moved to Australia several years earlier.

Evelyn had been asked to come back to appear on the show and clearly hadn’t expected to meet Jimmy in the street, but she managed to come up with a story that she had returned to Britain as a special surprise for her sister May, Jimmy’s wife.

Hence, as things turned out, Jimmy was able to turn the tables on May during the show by telling her that Evelyn was in fact there (May had been told her sister could not make it).

The show was broadcast on Wednesday 4 November, the eve of Eamonn Andrews’ death.

This Is Your Life was originally broadcast live, and alternated between on the BBC and  on ITV over the years.

Watch Jimmy’s show below:

Jim Bowen: Jimmy Cricket pays newspaper tribute

Jimmy Cricket paid tribute to Jim Bowen in the Lancashire Evening Post

Jimmy Cricket remembered the late Jim Bowen in his most recent monthly newspaper column in the Lancashire Post.

Broadcaster and comedian Jim, best known for hosting darts-based game show Bullseye in the 1980s and ’90s, died on 14 March at the age of 80.

And Jimmy told some nostalgic anecdotes about his good friend’s life and career in the 26 March edition of the Preston-based paper.

It included the time when presenter Eamonn Andrews arrived on a train to present Jim with the famous Big Red Book on This is Your Life.

Former deputy headmaster Jim, who lived in North Lancashire, began his career as a stand-up comedian on the club circuit in the 1960s. He became a household name when he began presenting Bullseye in 1981. The Sunday tea time show ran for 14 years.

And Jimmy recalled how he threw some darts for charity on Bullseye, while Jim did a sketch with him on his own television show And There’s More.

Click here to watch Jimmy’s appearance on Bullseye.

The Chase’s ‘Beast’ Mark Labbett is a gentle giant

Jimmy Cricket's February column in the Lancashire Evening Post was about Mark 'The Beast' Labbett from ITV's The Chase

Jimmy Cricket’s latest column in the Lancashire Evening Post was about Mark ‘The Beast’ Labbett from TV’s The Chase.

Famous Northern Irish entertainer Jimmy performed with Mark in pantomime in Ellesmere Port and Rochdale during the last festive season.

Mark  is a ‘Chaser’ on the ITV teatime game show The Chase, which is hosted by Bradley Walsh.

He began the role in 2009 and he has since appeared on the American version as their sole Chaser in 2013 as well as being one of six Chasers in the Australian series. He has also appeared in several other television quiz shows and is a regular in quizzing competitions.

His TV nickname ‘The Beast’ is a reference to both his stature (he’s 6ft 6in tall) and his surname – Labbett sounds like the French ‘la bête’, meaning ‘the beast’.

In his February LEP column, Jimmy told how during the time the panto was in Rochdale, Mark hosted a weekly quiz in The Flying Horse Hotel in the town and then in Ellesmere Port, ended up calling out a few games of bingo at a nearby Mecca hall!

On both occasions, Mark declined a fee and instead arranged for himself and the cast to have a meal courtesy of the two venues.

Added Jimmy: “All thanks to big Mark, our gentle giant with the big heart!”.

 

A pleasant surprise ahead of Christmas pantomime

 

Jimmy Cricket's December column in the Preston-based Lancashire Post

Jimmy Cricket has revealed his joyful amazement when he discovered the identity of one of his fellow pantomime performers.

The well-known Northern Irish entertainer is currently playing Professor Fitzwarren in Dick Whittington, which is running at the Gracie Fields Theatre until New Year’s Eve in Rochdale where he lives.

The panto also features The Chase’s Mark Labbett (also known as The Beast), who plays King Rat.

Jimmy, 72, says in his December column in the Preston-based Lancashire Post that over the years he has played a lot of shows at a small theatre called the Westcliffe in Clacton-on-Sea in Essex.

“Every now and then, when I would come round to the front of house after the show to say goodnight, there would be a lady called Chrissie Grew with her two sons,” he recalls.

“As the years went by, Chrissie would keep in touch telling me about one of her boys – Danny – who developed a ‘magic act’.

“She would tell me about him taking his first tentative steps into the world of show business. Then her emails would get more exciting as more and more bookings would come in.

“Fast forward to a few months ago and I sign up to play panto in my adopted town of Rochdale this Christmas.

“I arrive to do the publicity launch and guess who’s playing Dick Whittington? You’re absolutely right! Danny! Yes, all those times his mum, Chrissie, took him to see stage shows planted seeds of a flower that has now blossomed.”

Dick Whittington panto details

Liz Dawn: Corrie star had ‘courage and a big heart’

Jimmy Cricket paid tribute in his Lancashire Evening Post column to Liz Dawn, who played Vera Duckworth in Coronation Street

Jimmy Cricket has paid a warm tribute to the late Liz Dawn in his  monthly newspaper column.

In the Lancashire Evening Post, Jimmy said Liz, who played Vera Duckworth in Coronation Street for more than 30 years, was “a great actress with a big heart who had the common touch”.

The soap legend died aged 77 in September following a long battle with emphysema, a disease of the lungs that primarily causes shortness of breath.

“It was when she landed the role of a factory worker in Coronation Street that Liz came to everyone’s attention,” recalled famous Northern Irish comedian Jimmy, 72.

“Her natural acting ability won the hearts of viewers and her on-screen relationship with Bill Tarmey as the bickering husband and wife Jack and Vera Duckworth captivated the nation.

“She raised incredible amounts of money for such worthy causes as the Manchester Children’s Hospital, the Genesis Appeal, and the Liz Dawn Cancer Appeal, and was awarded the MBE in the 2000 Queen’s Birthday Honours for her extraordinary fund-raising achievements.”

Jimmy said he first met Leeds-born Liz while working on the QE2, adding she was a  “huge hit”, with large audiences attending her ‘An Audience With Show’ where she talked about her life.

“At the height of her success on Corrie, she did a ‘Christmas Special’ from her home, and I played a postman who delivered her Christmas cards,” reminisced Jimmy.

Liz Dawn (who played Vera Duckworth in Coronation Street) talks to Frankie's friend Liz Creagh after the service. Liz was at both the ordination and the First Mass and Frankie was really thrilled she came to both events

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“However, it was my son who formed a strong friendship with Liz and her husband, Don.

“When our Frank was training for the priesthood, he politely enquired if Liz could put in an appearance at a fund-raising concert which would help to send some young people to Lourdes.

“Without hesitation, Liz not only turned up to that event but became a regular guest artiste at these shows.

“Our Frank, who was a stand-up comedian before he took up his vocation, would introduce Liz and together they would do a hilarious question-and answer-session.

“They both struck up such a rapport that when when Frank was ordained a priest [in 2013], Liz not only turned up at his ordination in Salford Cathedral but at his very first Mass in St Vincent’s Catholic Church in Rochdale [picture above].

“It took great courage and bravery, for by that time emphysema had taken its toll, but there she was… still laughing and joking with her fans after the service and always with her beloved Don pushing her wheelchair.”

Jimmy added: “I was so proud to be at her Requiem Mass at Salford Cathedral where Father Frankie was a concelebrant.

“Liz, you went from rags to riches and gave so much enjoyment and happiness along the way.”

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

Omagh pub, John Wayne & Dublin’s Abbey Theatre

Jimmy Cricket has been recalling when he and his wife May came across a distinctive Northern Irish pub which is themed on a legendary film.

The famous entertainer made the recollection in a recent monthly column in the Preston-based Lancashire Evening Post.

He and Mrs Cricket noticed the pub, which has a thatched roof, while he was working at the nearby Strule Arts Centre theatre in Omagh.

The Sean Ogs pub is themed like the one in John Ford’s 1952 classic film The Quiet Man starring legendary actor John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara, who was an Irish-born American actress and singer.

A black and white photograph on the wall of the pub shows the cast of the 1952 movie, as Jimmy, 71, discovered it was the setting for much of the action. The film, a comedy drama, won an Oscar for the best cinematography that year.

All the support actors were from the famous Abbey Theatre in Dublin.  It is also known as the National Theatre of Ireland and first opened its doors to the public on 27 December 1904.

Julius Caesar, UK prime ministers and Omnibus

Jimmy Cricket's column in the Lancashire Evening Post

Jimmy Cricket talked about Julius Caesar, British prime ministers and an award-winning play written by one of his daughters in a recent newspaper column.

Writing in the Preston-based Lancashire Evening Post (LEP), the famous entertainer, 71, mentions Omnibus, which was staged for the first time in Liverpool in June.

Omnibus, written by comedian Katie Mulgrew, was the winner two years ago of the first ever Liverpool Hope University play-writing prize. It is about a group of friends following a soap opera.

And she was given the opportunity to see her debut play on stage when it was performed at the Unity Theatre Liverpool in association with the Royal Court (which was closed for development work) to rave reviews!

Will the real Jimmy Cricket please do stand-up?!

Jimmy Cricket's latest column in the Lancashire Evening PostJimmy Cricket has been telling the true story of what happened at BJ’s Bingo Club in the Kitts Green district of Birmingham recently.

The famous entertainer had arrived at the club ahead of his performance there when a woman approached him and said: “You’re not the real Jimmy Cricket?”.

Jimmy, 71, relates the tale in his latest column in the Preston-based Lancashire Evening Post newspaper.

And he also talks about a mysterious ‘Mr X’.

Click on the image above to read an expanded view of the full article.

Tune in to ‘Gilly’s Comedy Gala for Comic Relief’

Jimmy Cricket's Lancashire Post columnAn optician who is about to realise her dream of performing stand-up comedy at the Blackpool Opera House is the subject of Jimmy Cricket’s latest newspaper column.

Famous entertainer Jimmy talks in the Lancashire Evening Post about Sarah Morgan – an optometrist by profession – whom he first met last October on a BBC Radio Lancashire show hosted by John Gillmore.

“When Sarah asked my advice around getting on in the entertainment business, I asked her what would be her dream gig,” explains Jimmy, 71.

“She replied: ‘Jimmy, to play the Blackpool Opera House.’

“Then today something wonderful happened. I received an email from Gilly’s [John Gillmore] producer Gary, which broadly read: ‘Great news, Jimmy. Sarah is to appear at – wait for it – the Blackpool Opera House.’

“‘We’ve organised a show there on Friday 24 March. It’s called ‘Gilly’s Comedy Gala for Comic Relief’ and Sarah is headlining it. It’ll be broadcast on BBC Radio Lancashire from 2.15pm till 4pm. We’d love you to come and introduce her!'”

“Try to stop me,” says Jimmy.

“You know, folks, it’s special to realise your dream, but to help somebody else to realise theirs is just as special.

“Try to tune in if you can.”