Tag Archives: stage

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 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.

My movie debut – as a dream maker

Jimmy Cricket's column in the Lancashire Evening Post

Jimmy Cricket says he is looking forward to his role as a talent show judge on his  forthcoming silver screen debut.

But the famous veteran entertainer insists he will not be like Simon Cowell in The X Factor, telling readers of the Preston-based Lancashire Evening Post in his monthly column he will be a “dream maker, not a dream breaker”.

Womble, one of the biggest independent movies to be made in North Wales, is being shot over the summer and will be set for release in 2016.

It 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.

Jimmy says in the Lancashire Evening Post: “Hopefully, the film will be shown in 2016 at the Cannes Film Festival.”

Daughter Katie wins coveted playwriting prize

The Stage newspaper reported on Katie Mulgrew's success

Famous entertainer Jimmy Cricket has expressed his immense pride after daughter Katie won a prestigious playwriting competition.

The Rochdale Observer reported on Katie Mulgrew's success

Katie Mulgrew, 30, was the winner of the first ever Liverpool Hope University playwriting prize, with her work entitled Omnibus, which follows a group of friends following a soap opera.

Not only did she earn herself £10,000 in the process, but she now has the opportunity to see the play produced by the Royal Court Theatre in Liverpool, one of the partners for the competition along with the Liverpool Echo newspaper.

She was the only female comic among the 10 finalists.

Katie told The Stage newspaper: “I entered the Liverpool Hope Playwriting Prize because some of my heroes are on the judging panel, and I would adore the opportunity to work with such a beautiful theatre, positively soaked in history and talent.”

Her play was shortlisted at the start of the year as part of a group of 10 plays that went to a judging panel consisting of:

–         Comedienne Kathy Burke

–         Screenwriter Frank Cottrell Boyce

–          Playwright, director and visiting professor at Liverpool Hope University John Godber

–          Playwriter & arts journalist  Paul Allen

–          Chief executive of the Royal Court Theatre Kevin Fearon

–          Principal Lecturer in Drama and Theatre Studies at Liverpool Hope University‌ Dr John Bennett

–          Liverpool Echo arts editor Catherine Jones

Jimmy said: “I am really thrilled for Katie and am incredibly proud of this tremendous achievement.”

The Rochdale Observer reported on Katie Mulgrew's success

‘Man in wellies & battered hat saves the day’

Jimmy Cricket's latest column in the Lancashire Evening Post

Jimmy Cricket has been reminiscing about the era of the comedy song and how he hopes he has helped keep it alive.

In his latest column for the Preston-based Lancashire Evening Post, the famous entertainer recalls “the many comedy and novelty songs that used to permeate the airwaves in the 50s and 60s”.

He adds: “Commercial radio stations all have playlists now. This means they only play songs that appeal to younger audiences , which companies who advertise with them deem to be possible customers. That’s how the commercial radio stations make their money.

Jimmy Cricket's Light & Shade

“However, you can still hear comedy and novelty songs on BBC radio stations, especially on their request shows.

“However, fear not dear readers.

“Just when you thought the comedy song was a footnote in the history of popular music, along comes the man in the wellies and the battered hat to save the day!

“Yes, my new CD called Light & Shade contains gems like ‘my budgie’s been tweeting for years’ and ‘I got blotto when I thought I’d won the lotto’.”

Light & Shade was officially released on 1 February and is available for £6 at www.jimmycricketshop.co.uk and at Jimmy’s live shows.

In the inside sleeve, Jimmy talks about the history behind the CD, which features a mixture of serious and comedy songs.

Nostalgic flashback: Christmas panto 2010

Jimmy Cricket was reminded of a Christmas pantomime past through a series of photographs sent to him recently.

The pictures were from the 2010-11 festive season when the famous entertainer appeared at the Doncaster Civic Theatre in a panto version of Aladdin.

This Christmas show was produced by David Lee of Pantoni Productions and it was he who sent Jimmy the images in the slideshow above.

Funnyman Jimmy said: “It was a nice reminder of the show and its cast, whom I enjoyed working with.”

Since Aladdin there has been a change of scenery for the arts in Doncaster because this pantomime was one of the last before the civic theatre was demolished.

It was replaced by a brand new modern arts centre called Cast and so now only memories remain of what was the town’s main auditorium for a number of years.

* Click on either of the arrow buttons above to view the slideshow.

‘Great chance to support live entertainment’

Jimmy Cricket will appear alongside  Andy Eastwood at the De La Warr Pavilion in Bexhill-on-Sea, East Sussex, on Sunday 19 AprilJimmy Cricket is set to team up again with friend and multi-talented entertainer Andy Eastwood, who can do a “great George Formby tribute act”.

The famous comedian will appear alongside  Andy at the De La Warr Pavilion in Bexhill-on-Sea, East Sussex, on Sunday 19 April.

The show is being presented by the local Bexhill Festival of Music Society, which is led by  Tony Mansi.

Jimmy has worked with Andy on numerous occasions in the past and continues to be in awe of his musical talents.

“Not only can Andy do a great George Formby tribute, but he is no mean musician with the ability to play several instruments at an incredibly high standard, including the violin and ukulele – plus many more,” said Jimmy.

“Tony has put together a great early evening’s entertainment programme, with the show due to start off at the very family friendly time of 5pm.

“This will be a great post-Easter opportunity to support live entertainment if you live on the south coast around the East Sussex shoreline.”

Wigan-born George Formby was an actor, singer-songwriter and comedian, who became known to a worldwide audience through his films of the 1930s and 1940s.

On stage, screen and record he sang light, comical songs, usually playing the ukulele or banjolele, and became the UK’s highest-paid entertainer.

Jimmy’s visit to Popstars Academy – in pictures

Watch a special photo slideshow of Jimmy Cricket’s visit to Middleton Popstars Academy in North Manchester.

The well-known comedian met youngsters involved in performance and dance activities as well as music and event production.

And he returns to see the Popstars team on 11 July to appear at their Bojangles Theatre, where he will act as the show’s host as they present some of their best routines.

For tickets to see the event, please ring the Popstars on 0161 653 7747.

To play the slideshow, click on either of the arrow buttons above (note that there is no sound). You can view it in fullscreen by clicking on the diamond shape on the bottom right-hand side of the feature. 

Teaming up with talented young entertainers

Jimmy Cricket appeared at Middleton Popstars Academy
Jimmy Cricket’s meeting earlier this month with a group of talented young people was covered in the local press.

The 19 February edition of the Middleton Guardian reported on famous entertainer Jimmy’s visit to the Middleton Popstars Academy in North Manchester.

Jimmy Cricket appeared at Middleton Popstars Academy

He met youngsters who were involved in not just performance and dance activities, but also in music and event production.

His visit went so well that he will return to the Popstars base on the evening of 11 July to appear at their Bojangles Theatre.

It should be a great night’s entertainment with Jimmy set to act as the show’s host for the Popstars, who will be presenting some of their best routines.

For tickets to the event, please ring the Popstars on 0161 653 7747.

The 90-seater Bojangles Theatre on Morton Street in Middleton town centre officially opened in February last year and cost £75,000 to build.

The name was chosen to honour former student Jack McLean, who wowed audiences with his rendition of Mr Bojangles before his death three years ago.