A band called Level Three are the latest recipients of Jimmy Cricket’s much-coveted Golden Wellie award.
The group formally received the accolade at one of Jimmy’s popular jam nights in Rochdale, which are hosted alternately by the famous comedian and his great showbiz friend Eric Devereaux.
Local, national and even on occasions international entertainers perform for nothing at the monthly event which takes place at St Vincent’s RC Parish Centre in Norden.
Among the entertainers at the jam evening for the latest event on 3 April were Level Three, featuring Eddie, Mike and Dave, who performed on the night and helped to raise money for charity in the process.
The Golden Wellington (known for short as Golden Wellie) is an award 72-year-old Jimmy created several years ago based on his trademark wellington boots.
Although it is a bit of fun, it has a serious side as Jimmy uses the publicity from the award to acknowledge a good deed or significant contribution to a community.
Jimmy Cricket has been remembering comedy friends Jim Bowen and Sir Ken Dodd, who died within a few days of each other.
Liverpool legend Sir Ken, creator of the Diddy Men, passed away last weekend aged 90, having recently been released from hospital after six weeks of treatment for a chest infection.
And broadcaster and comedian Jim, best known for hosting darts-based game show Bullseye in the 1980s and ’90s, died on Wednesday at the age of 80.
Belfast-born and Rochdale-based Jimmy posted a video on Twitter in which he pays a special tribute to Sir Ken (below).
And Rochdale Council also tweeted the photo at the top of this article, saying: “Farewell to a legend – here’s comedy star Sir Ken Dodd with his good friend and Rochdale resident @jimmy__cricket during a town hall dinner to celebrate Jimmy receiving a Papal knighthood in 2015. RIP and thanks for the laughs.”
The Universe, the weekly Catholic newspaper, featured a photograph of Sir Ken on its front page (below), saying: “Catholic comedian leads tribute to legendary funnyman.”
And the Rochdale Observer also reported on Jimmy paying tribute to Sir Ken. The story recalled the tale of the stolen concrete wellies – read more about that here.
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.
Jimmy tweeted: “So sad to hear of the passing of another legendary comic and game show host, my friend Jim Bowen, another star in heaven!”
Click here to watch Jimmy’s appearance on Bullseye.
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!”.
Jimmy Cricket returned to The Plaza variety theatre in Stockport at the weekend to do his fourth show there.
Other acts included Shep’s Banjo Duo and dancers from the Stockport-based Debut Arts academy.
The famous comedian, 72, had last performed there in January 2016 and was clearly delighted to be back.
Afterwards he tweeted: “Wonderful Sunday afternoon @StockportPlaza1 performing alongside Howard and Steve, Shep’s Banjo Duo, Debut Arts Academy, with Ted Doan Manager and actor who took the lead in the, “The 3 Tenner Sketch”, my thanks goes to Stage, Sound and Lighting, Lawerence, Ben and Pam.”
Jimmy Cricket said he was thrilled in appear in a pantomime in his adopted home town of Rochdale.
Famous Northern Irish entertainer Jimmy played Professor Fitzwarren in Dick Whittington in both Ellesmere Port and in Rochdale.
Ellesmere Port Civic Centre staged the show until 20 December and Rochdale’s Gracie Fields Theatre from 22-31 December.
The panto also featured The Chase’s Mark Labbett (known as The Beast), who played King Rat.
Jimmy tweeted: “What a thrill it was to play panto in my adopted home town of Rochdale, at the Gracie Fields Theatre. I ‘d like to thank all my friends and neighbours for supporting their local Theatre.”
The 72-year-old comedian also posted his thanks to everyone involved in the production of the panto, including his “wonderful” fellow cast members.
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.”