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Golden memories: The Osmonds 150 150 mhamer

Golden memories: The Osmonds

Jimmy Cricket has known and worked with many great fellow entertainers across nearly five decades in showbusiness - including the Osmonds

Jimmy Cricket has known and worked with many great fellow entertainers across nearly five decades in showbusiness.

In a special series of monthly articles, Jimmy is taking a trip down Memory Lane to recall some of the special people with whom he has shared the stage.

Our second feature in the series is about The Osmonds, an American family music group with a long and varied history as star performers.

They started their musical careers as children and achieved further success as teen-music idols, going on to produce a hit television show and also perform as solo and group artists.

The group first comprised brothers Alan, Wayne, Merrill and Jay Osmond. They were later joined by younger siblings Donny – the most famous of all of them – and Jimmy. Their only sister Marie, who rarely sang with her brothers at that time, launched a successful solo career in 1973.

Jimmy, 74, supported the world-famous Osmonds on their pre-Christmas tour around the UK towards the end of 2015.

‘Dream gig’

He was a special guest for the Andy Williams Christmas Spectacular which ran for 15 shows, several of them sellouts.

Jimmy appeared on what was a wonderfully creative and slick show, which featured Jimmy, Jay and Merrill Osmond.

It included a video screen transmitting footage of the late American popular singer Andy Williams and images of Christmas, a set of green Christmas trees around the stage and even snow fell during the finale!

Here, Jimmy remembers the Osmonds in his own special way:

“Touring with the Osmonds was what you would call in this business a dream gig.

“It happened four years ago and the show consisted of Jimmy, Merrill and Jay.

“We did a 15-day tour up and down the country and played to sellout crowds.

“As well as the boys, we had a live band, dancers a  Russian quick-change act and a young English vocalist.

‘Stayed loyal’

“The show was actually a tribute to the great singer Andy Williams, whose Christmas TV specials enthralled American viewers for many years.

“Andy was also the one to give the Osmonds their first break in television when they were just babies.

“Indeed, I did the warm-up for the show and introduced those very appearances to the audiences on a large screen on stage.

“I was always amazed how many of the Osmond fans stayed loyal over the years and came to so many of their shows during that tour.

“It was a pleasure to work with this special showbiz family.”

Also read: Merrill Osmond told me: ‘You’re one of our family’

Click on either of the arrow-shaped play buttons above to watch a slideshow of pictures from the 2015 tour. All the photos were taken during the last tour date at the Winding Wheel concert venue in Chesterfield.

Golden Memories: Norman Barrett MBE

If you have any special memories of the Osmonds or would like Jimmy to feature somebody in our series, you can do this in several ways:

Find out where Jimmy is performing and his other forthcoming shows by viewing all his tour dates on this website.

 

David Carter RIP: Tributes paid to ‘talented and humble gent’ 150 150 mhamer

David Carter RIP: Tributes paid to ‘talented and humble gent’

Shocked and saddened to hear off the passing of David Carter, a wonderful musician, terrific arranger, and brilliant Musical Director! Most of all, the warmest and kindest human being I have ever had the great pleasure to work with! My prayers and thoughts are with his family

Jimmy Cricket has paid tribute to friend and fellow entertainer David Carter who died recently.

David, a musician and musical director, was an extremely popular and valued person in the showbusiness industry.

His work with Jimmy included arranging the music for his CD Light & Shade, which was released in February 2015.

Jimmy said at the time about David’s “God-given talent” enabling him “to breathe life into my tunes and words”.

David was trained in arranging at the Royal College of Music and London Weekend Television.

He played for the late Sir Ken Dodd across the UK and was the Musical Director for the late Danny La Rue.

In addition, he worked for many pantomimes and musicals, as well as for The National Lottery programme and BBC London.

However, it was for his arrangements on major cruise ships that he was chiefly known.

Jimmy said: “Shocked and saddened to hear of the passing of David Carter, a wonderful musician, terrific arranger, and brilliant Musical Director!

“Most of all, the warmest and kindest human being I have ever had the great pleasure to work with!

“My prayers and thoughts are with his family.”

‘Lovely, warm person’

Singer Charlie James (@MsCharlieJames) said on Twitter: “So sad to hear.

“David was such a lovely, lovely fellow and I loved working with him, he was a wonderful accompanist.

“He seemed so well when I last saw him only a couple of weeks ago.

“Bless his soul RIP dear David.”

People also left tributes to David on Jimmy’s Facebook page.

One person commented: ” He was a very talented and humble gent.”

Another described him as a “wonderful kind talented man“; a different post said: “David was a lovely warm person, a great musician and arranger.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

‘Unique’ theatre in Leeds to stage play 150 150 mhamer

‘Unique’ theatre in Leeds to stage play

we will be taking our Comedy Play, "No More Fiffing and Faffing", to the beautiful and unique @CityVarieties in Leeds

A Leeds theatre described by Jimmy Cricket as “beautiful and unique” will host his comedy play next month.
The City Varieties Music Hall stages No More Fiffing and Faffing on Saturday 7 March (see details above).
Well-known entertainer Jimmy, 74, tweeted: “Hi Folks! Just to let you know we will be taking our Comedy Play, “No More Fiffing and Faffing”, to the beautiful and unique @CityVarieties for a Saturday afternoon matinee show at 2.30pm on the 7th March 2020.
“You will be welcomed with open arms!”
The theatre’s website says: “Built in 1865, this much-loved venue, hidden in the heart of Leeds city centre, has survived virtually unchanged across three centuries while most other Victorian Music Halls have passed into history.
‘Hugely popular’
“Many of the world’s greatest entertainers have trodden the boards here.
“For 30 years, the Varieties was also the home of BBC TV’s record-breaking The Good Old Days which began broadcasting in 1953 and was screened around the world.

“Over the last 20 years, City Varieties has established an unrivalled reputation for presenting the very best in live music, variety and comedy, as well as hugely popular annual pantomimes which have entertained Leeds’ families for generations.”
The Mansfield Palace Theatre will next stage the play on Thursday 20 February (see below left).

Middlesbrough Theatre was the latest venue to host the play, on 23 January.

The Mansfield Palace Theatre will next stage the play on Thursday 20 February

The production had a highly successful debut in September 2018 at the Blackburn Empire Theatre.

As a result, Jimmy has taken No More Fiffing and Faffing on a tour around the north of England.

Other venues so far have included The Met in Bury and the Chorley Little Theatre in Lancashire.

Veteran comedian Jimmy wrote the play and also stars in it.

The other performers are Jonathan Young (The Bachelors) and actor Colin Meredith, who has appeared in Coronation Street.

Find out where Jimmy is performing and his other forthcoming shows by viewing all his tour dates on this website.

The tall Texan who saved the day in Rochdale 150 150 mhamer

The tall Texan who saved the day in Rochdale

My Feb @leponline column folks, here I tell how at the very last minute, the Texan @AndrewJBoyer with his great voice, saved the Remembrance Day Concert at the Rochdale Town Hall for me and my fellow performers, which was in aid of the Lord Mayor, Billy Sherrin's Charities!

Jimmy Cricket has recalled the story about a Texan who came to the rescue in an English town.

Let’s hear it for the wee man is a musical which Jimmy created a few years ago.
It is about Northern Ireland’s only recipient of the Victoria Cross, submariner James Magennis.
The musical was performed in front of 300 people in aid of the Mayor of Rochdale’s charity appeal on Remembrance Day last year.
However, as Jimmy recounts in his latest Lancashire Post column, a week before the event, the singer playing the title role pulled out.
So Jimmy and wife May frantically began looking for a replacement and even put a plea out on social media channel Facebook.
And just a few days before the concert at Rochdale Town Hall, a Texan called Andrew J Boyer called them.
Andrew J Boyer will play war hero Jim Magennis in Jimmy Cricket's musical at Rochdale Town Hall on Remembrance SundayAndrew (pictured left) is a 24-year-old piano-vocalist from Dallas who had just moved to Salford.
He has been a performer for almost a decade, and sings and plays the piano from time to time on cruise ships.

The musical tells the courageous story of Magennis who joined the Royal Navy aged 15.

He won the UK’s highest military honour for his bravery onboard a midget sub that attacked the Japanese cruiser Takao on 31 July 1945.

His job was to attach six mines to the enemy vessel in the risky covert operation in Singapore Harbour.

Jimmy and @RochdaleMayor Coun Billy Sheerin having a good old yarn about the James Magennis play

Jimmy with Bill Sherrin, the Mayor of Rochdale

However, he ran into difficulties and faced grave danger.

But he persisted with the mission before returning to the sub exhausted.

King George VI recognised his heroics by awarding him the Victoria Cross, the highest award for gallantry.

Magennis continued his service until 1949 when he returned home with his wife Edna Skidmore and their four sons.

In 1952, he lost his job and was forced to sell his VC medal.

However, an anonymous benefactor later returned it to him on the condition he did not sell it again.

Blue plaque

Magennis spent the rest of his life in Yorkshire working as an electrician before dying of cancer in 1986 aged 66.

His heroics were commemorated in 2018 with a special blue plaque in his honour.

Belfast-born Jimmy, who has lived in Rochdale for many years, wrote both the words and the music for the play.

It also featured actor Charles Lawson, actress and singer Sue Devaney and comedian Jimmy himself.

Find out where Jimmy is performing and his other forthcoming shows by viewing all his tour dates on this website.
Special Easter celebration cruise features TV legends 150 150 mhamer

Special Easter celebration cruise features TV legends

Jimmy Cricket will be providing some of the laughter on a special Easter celebration cruiseJimmy Cricket will provide some of the laughter on a special Easter celebration cruise.

The popular Northern Irish comedian joins other well-known entertainers, including Sue Hodge, on the 11-night trip.

Sue is an English actress best known for her role as the waitress Mimi Labonq in the BBC sitcom ‘Allo ‘Allo!.

Another comedy legend entertaining the holiday-goers is Frank J Williams.

He is an English actor best known for playing Timothy Farthing, the vicar in the BBC comedy Dad’s Army.

Frank and Ian Lavender are the series’ last-surviving major cast members. Frank reprised the role of Farthing in the 2016 film adaptation of the series.

‘Perfect combination’

The cruise features star-studded entertainment and interviews, alongside special Easter-themed church services.

Promotion for the break says: “It’s the perfect combination for relaxation for the body,  stimulation of the mind and refreshment for the spirit.

“There is always a waiting list for this special theme.”

The cruise starts from Poole in Dorset on Monday 6 April.

Stops include Belfast (Jimmy’s birth place), the West Highlands of Scotland and Dublin.

Visit here for further information

Find out where Jimmy is performing and his other forthcoming shows by viewing all his tour dates on this website.

Nicholas Parsons: A great career and will be sadly missed 150 150 mhamer

Nicholas Parsons: A great career and will be sadly missed

How BBC News reported Nicholas Parsons' death on Twitter

How BBC News reported Nicholas Parsons’ death on Twitter

Jimmy Cricket has been recalling the children’s TV show in which he appeared with Nicholas Parsons.

Broadcaster Parsons died earlier this week at the age of 96 after a short illness.

Here is how BBC News reported his death.

Tributes were paid to him from across the entertainment world, including from the likes of Stephen Fry and Graham Norton.

Comedian Jimmy worked with Parsons on The Joke Machine, a children’s sketch series which aired as part of CITV in the UK.

The first series featured the Krankies while the third and last featured Jimmy.

Each short episode was packed with jokes. The programme lasted from 1985 to 1989, according to the IMDb website.

Jimmy tweeted: “Nicholas (Parsons) and I did a kids’ TV show.

Sale of the Century

“We were waiting at traffic lights. I dressed in Chinese gear with a rickshaw and Nick in a posh car.

“The joke was that when the lights turned, the car stalled and I shot ahead.

“He’s had a great career and will be sadly missed.”

The episode involving Parsons is believed to have been broadcast on 26 May 1989.

Parsons had hosted Radio 4’s Just A Minute since its inception in 1967.

He presented his last programme on 23 September last year.

He also appeared on the Benny Hill Show for several years and fronted ITV’s Sale of the Century.

His other TV appearances included Have I Got News For You.

What a lovely reception on Teesside! 150 150 mhamer

What a lovely reception on Teesside!

What a lovely reception for the comedy play from the Teeside welcome last night! My thanks to Manager David Lindsey @Mbrotheatre and the technical crew, Andy and Peter who were on sound and lighting, for all their help and support!

Jimmy Cricket appreciated the “lovely reception” on Teesside for his comedy play.

Middlesbrough Theatre was the latest destination (Thursday 23 January) for No More Fiffing and Faffing.

Famous entertainer Jimmy, 74, tweeted afterwards: “What a lovely reception for the comedy play from the Teesside welcome last night!

“My thanks to Manager David Lindsey @Mbrotheatre and the technical crew, Andy and Peter who were on sound and lighting, for all their help and support!🎭

The Mansfield Palace Theatre will next stage the play on Thursday 20 February

The play had a highly successful debut in September 2018 at the Blackburn Empire Theatre.

As a result, Jimmy has taken No More Fiffing and Faffing on a tour around the north of England.

Other venues so far include The Met in Bury and the Chorley Little Theatre in Lancashire.

Veteran comedian Jimmy wrote the play and also stars in it.

The other performers are Jonathan Young (The Bachelors) and actor Colin Meredith, who has appeared in Coronation Street.

The Mansfield Palace Theatre will next stage the play on Thursday 20 February (above right).

Jimmy tweeted the photo below, saying: “My thanks to Journalist and Production Editor @TimMorriss4 or the online article about the Comedy Play coming to the @MansfieldPalace next month.”

Find out where Jimmy is performing and his other forthcoming shows by viewing all his tour dates on this website.

My thanks to Journalist and Production editor @TimMorriss4 for the online article about the Comedy Play coming to the @Mansfield Palace next month!