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Teaching a fellow showbiz star to juggle 150 150 mhamer

Teaching a fellow showbiz star to juggle

Jimmy Cricket has been teaching Ray Quinn how to juggle

Jimmy Cricket has been teaching Ray Quinn how to juggle

Veteran Irish comedian Jimmy Cricket has been giving juggling lessons to actor, dancer and singer Ray Quinn.

The pair appeared in the pantomime Cinderella at the Darlington Civic Theatre which finished on Sunday 15 January.

Jimmy, who played Baron Hardup, said he enjoyed working with all the cast during the six-week showing of the panto.

“We got Cinderella to the ball!” laughed Jimmy this week.

“I have found a great friend in Ray Quinn and you can see me teaching him to juggle on YouTube.”

The juggling video can also be found on the homepage here on Jimmy’s website and on Ray’s own official site.

Jimmy added: “There must have been about 65 panto shows in all as there were often two a day. It was very intensive but thoroughly enjoyable.”

Ray Quinn, who was Prince Charming in the Darlington panto, is engaged to theatre star Emma Stephens who played Cinderella.

They first met when they starred together in Grease in London’s West End several years ago.

Former Brookside actor Ray shot to fame when he finished runner-up to Leona Lewis in the 2007 series of The X Factor and two years later he won ITV’s Dancing on Ice with professional ice skater Maria Filippov.

“Ray’s a good-looking guy. He’s got a terrific voice and dances very well too. I think he could very easily become the next Michael Bublé [Canadian singer and actor]. Ray, Emma and the rest of the cast were great working colleagues,” said Jimmy.

View a musical slideshow of Jimmy and his fellow panto stars on his YouTube channel.

Jimmy and his wife May have just moved house though they still live in Rochdale.

He explained: “We have downsized but only gone around the corner to a lovely cottage overlooking Healey Dell Nature Reserve.”

“The move means we have been offline for a while and have fallen a bit behind with our email and Facebook, but I can assure everybody that they will receive replies to their queries and orders in the next few weeks.”

Curtain set to fall on Jimmy’s panto season 150 150 mhamer

Curtain set to fall on Jimmy’s panto season

Jimmy Cricket and Ray Quinn - and dog

Jimmy Cricket and Ray Quinn - and dog

Jimmy Cricket’s marathon pantomime season is coming to an end (oh yes it is! sorry – ed).

The famous Irish comedian has been appearing in Cinderella at the Civic Theatre in Darlington since 3 December. Its last show is on Sunday (15 Jan).

Other celebrities alongside Jimmy, who plays Baron Hardup, include Dancing on Ice star Ray Quinn (Prince Charming) and and former Emmerdale actress Deena Payne (Fairy Godmother).

The pantomime has been praised in media circles with the British Theatre Guide saying:
“Michael Vivian’s script provides a faithful re-telling of the classic fairy tale; it is beautifully designed and costumed; there is a nice balance of pop hits and original songs, and the choreography is tight and slick.”

Other good reviews of the show can be found at The Stage website and Whatsonstage.

And view a musical slideshow featuring many of the show’s cast on the homepage of this website or on Jimmy’s YouTube channel here

Celebrities support toy giveaway 150 150 mhamer

Celebrities support toy giveaway

A special photo call was staged to mark the toy giveaway. Photo by Ian McClelland

A special photo call was staged to mark the toy giveaway. Photo by Ian McClelland

The festive pantomine in which Jimmy Cricket is currently starring has been well-received by the critics.

Cinderella is on at the Civic Theatre in Darlington until Sunday January 15.

The cast features Jimmy, who plays Baron Hardup alongside Dancing on Ice star Ray Quinn and former Emmerdale actress Deena Payne.

Recent good reviews of the show can be found at The Stage website and Whatsonstage.

Jimmy and other panto stars agreed to take part in a special photo call to mark a toy giveaway for underprivileged children.

The event was sponsored by a local Darlington car dealership called Jennings Ford and also involved the Salvation Army.

Despite a busy schedule, Jimmy, Ray – who plays Prince Charming – and Deena (Fairy Godmother) took time out from the busy rehearsals to offer their support to the appeal.

Jimmy poses with a child in the theatre foyer after one of the panto performances

Jimmy poses for a picture with a child in the theatre foyer after one of the panto performances

Last year about 7,000 children and 2,000 families across the North East of England were supported with presents and a further 1,000 individuals received food over the Christmas period.

For the past 13 consecutive years, Jennings Motor Group has supported the appeal by using its branch network across the region as drop-off points for staff and members of the public.

Ray Riaz, general manager at Jennings Ford’s Yarm Road dealership in Stockton, said: “We were delighted that the cast of this year’s pantomime could help out with the appeal. The Salvation Army does an absolutely amazing job helping those in the local community, not just at Christmas time but all year round.”

Anyone wanting to buy tickets for the panto should ring 01325 486 555 or visit the website at Darlington Civic Theatre and Arts Centre.

Jimmy gives his autograph in the theatre foyer after one of the panto performances

Jimmy gives his autograph in the theatre foyer after one of the panto performances

‘Nice to be friends on Facebook’ 150 150 mhamer

‘Nice to be friends on Facebook’

Jimmy and Gary Winstanley at Whelley Labour Club in Wigan

Jimmy and Gary Winstanley at Whelley Labour Club in Wigan

Jimmy Cricket has been emailed this picture by Gary Winstanley.

It was taken at Whelley Labour club in Wigan where the famous Irish entertainer performed a few years ago.

Gary says: “Not sure of the exact date now, but I think it was 2008. It was a great night and a pleasure to meet you.

“Nice to be friends on Facebook. Keep up the good work.”

Francis House says thanks 150 150 mhamer

Francis House says thanks

Pictured, from left: David Ireland from Francis House, comedian Jimmy Cricket, David Martin,executive director of the Coliseum theatre, and the show’s producer, Jim Nicholas

Pictured, from left: David Ireland from Francis House, comedian Jimmy Cricket, David Martin,executive director of the Coliseum theatre, and the show’s producer, Jim Nicholas

The organisers of a charity event at the Coliseum in Oldham earlier this year returned to say thank-you to the theatre for hosting the show which was a huge success.

Jimmy Cricket helped to raise more than £6,000 for a Manchester-based charity at the two-night extravaganza in October.

The famous Irish comedian appeared in the “Stars Come Out”, along with husband and wife comedy duo The Krankies and sixties Merseybeat band The Swinging Blue Jeans, of “You’re no Good” and the “Hippy Hippy Shake” fame. The show also featured the Dobcross Youth Band.

An extra night was added after the originally-planned one-day performance was sold out.

The money from the shows went to Francis House Children’s Hospice, which is based at Didsbury in Manchester. The Hospice cares for children and young adults with life-threatening conditions and provides a home from home where families can receive professional care, support and friendship.

The charity’s director, David Ireland, also participated in the recent thank-you visit, along with Jimmy Cricket who said: “The show was a resounding success and raised buckets-full of cash for the charity.

“This was the fourth edition of the show and it continues to be really well-supported. The money raised will enable the Francis House Children’s Hospice to be able to continue the important work they do of caring for the region’s very sick children.”

“I hope the show can return for number five in the spring of 2013!”

Meet the Wooden Hut Club 150 150 mhamer

Meet the Wooden Hut Club

Members of the Wooden Hut Club

Members of the Wooden Hut Club

November saw the latest gathering of the informal showbiz fraternity group that Jimmy Cricket attends, which is lovingly called the “Wooden Hut Club”.

Conveniently for Jimmy, the location where this get-together takes place is in Rochdale. It was felt Rochdale was well placed on the M62 between Manchester/Cheshire and Yorkshire for his showbiz pals to get to. After the first ‘do’ was successfully held at the Royal Toby Hotel restaurant on Manchester Road in Castleton, the club have met there ever since.

This gathering has been meeting on and off for last four years and, as you can see from the photo, there was a large number who attended the last lunch showing it is well supported. This is probably because it is a rare chance for showbiz professionals to come together and catch up with the industry news – and of course reminisce about old times.

Some of the individuals in the photo with Jimmy are: Buzz Hawkins from ‘The Bradshaws’, ‘The Comedians’ producer Johnnie Hamp, impressionist Johnny More, BBC radio producer Steve Garner, comedy script writer Phil Collinge, the wife of former BBC radio comedy producer Mike Craig, Treflyn Jones from Target television and entertainer Eric Devereaux.

Jimmy’s friend Patti Gold celebrates 60th birthday 150 150 mhamer

Jimmy’s friend Patti Gold celebrates 60th birthday

Jimmy, his wife May (right) and good friend Patti

Jimmy, his wife May (right) and good friend Patti

Jimmy Cricket recently attended the 60th birthday of a good friend of his, the former singer Patti Gold.

The bash was hosted at Patti’s local golf club in Wakefield called Higher Lane Golf Club.

Patti and Jimmy go back a long way and although Patti has now left the business, her husband is still heavily involved and is an excellent musical director called Stuart Gold, who used to be the main musical director at the legendary Batley Variety Club and has worked with some of the most famous singers and entertainers in the country.

Patti actually featured in Jimmy’s first television series on ITV of “And There’s More” way back in the mid 1980s as one of the supporting cast members. Alongside Patti was impressionist Rory Bremner. This was Rory’s first break on television before he launched himself on a bigger platform.

Jimmy said: “I really enjoyed myself at Patti’s party and am thrilled I have been able to keep in touch with her for all these years.

“Although Patti left the business a number of years ago to work in IT, interestingly enough she has recently taken a job working in a dance and drama school, so she is re-introducing herself slowly back into the world of arts and entertainment!”