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‘I enjoyed that Cocker!’ The first time I met Bobby Ball 150 150 mhamer

‘I enjoyed that Cocker!’ The first time I met Bobby Ball

Jimmy Cricket's Lancashire Post column about the late Bobby Ball

Jimmy Cricket remembers the late, great Bobby Ball in his newspaper column for November.

Bobby, one half of the famous comedy double act Cannon and Ball, died at Blackpool Victoria Hospital in October aged 76.

The Oldham-born actor and comedian had tested positive for Covid-19.

Bobby had also starred in several popular sitcoms.

They included Not Going Out, Last of the Summer Wine and Benidorm.

In his latest column in the Lancashire Post, Jimmy recalls his first meeting with Bobby and Tommy.

He says: “I first met Bobby Ball at the Candlelight Club in Oldham.

“I had just come off stage and my friend, the singer Jonathan Young, told me that he and his partner Tommy were standing at the bar.

“And they seemed to be enjoying my act.

“Although at that time they had not broken into television, they were a very popular act in the clubs around the country.

‘Brothers in showbusiness’

“I was keen to meet up with them, so I changed quickly and headed for the bar.

“Tommy at the time was engrossed in a conversation with someone, but Bobby Ball shook my hand warmly.

“He said to me: ‘I enjoyed that Cocker, they were a tough crowd, but you got them in the end.

“‘I loved the visual stuff that you did.'”

Jimmy also recalled: “When I found out later Bobby was a neighbour of mine in Rochdale, I rang to tell him that I had written a sketch for him and Tommy in which they played two First Aid Men.

“He invited me to his home where I met his lovely wife Yvonne.

“During our conversation he told me something that really resonated with me.

“He said to me: ‘Jimmy as you develop your on-stage character you’ll die less and less.’

”It was an incredibly insightful thing to say and I treasured the fact that he’d passed his keen knowledge of comedy on to a fellow pro.”

Jimmy finishes his column by saying: “A few months ago before it was offered funding, I tweeted about the Grand Theatre in Blackpool’s future being in doubt.

“Bobby retweeted the message.

“We were brothers in showbusiness trying to save a beautiful theatre for future generations.

“He will be sadly missed by all his friends in the entertainment industry as well as his many fans.”

Gladstone Theatre – thank-you Jimmy for your support! 150 150 mhamer

Gladstone Theatre – thank-you Jimmy for your support!

SAVE OUR THEATRE - SAVE THE GLADSTONE

The Gladstone Theatre has thanked Jimmy Cricket for his support during its fund-raising campaign.

Based at Port Sunlight on The Wirral, the Gladstone is hoping to raise £50,000 to save it from “imminent closure”.

It has so far received about £15,000 from donations.

The theatre tweeted: “One huge thank you to the wonderful
@jimmy__cricket for his support during our #SaveTheGladstone Campaign! Red heart

“Jimmy always brings the fun & laughter to our stage and we can’t wait to welcome him back!

“Give the video below a watch crowdfunder.co.uk/save-the-glads #SaveOurTheatres.”

The theatre has told the public: “We need you now more than ever.

“The COVID-19 crisis has significantly impacted the Gladstone Theatre with our full programme of shows being cancelled or postponed.

“We are a non-profit charitable organisation who receive no regular public funding and we rely on our ticket sales and generous donations from the public to maintain our theatre.”

It added: “We play a vital role in the cultural and economic environment of the local area and with our main income source having disappeared upon our closure in March, with no certainty on when we can reopen, we are asking for your help.

“We need to raise funds to ‘save our theatre’ from imminent closure and allow us to reopen our doors!”

Your donations will help us:
  • Survive the next six months
  • Continue to deliver the high quality shows you know and love with a warm friendly atmosphere to The Wirral and wider communities
  • Enable us to continue our crucial day-to-day work
  • Adapt our building to become “Covid-secure” with measures including the likes of:
    • Thermal imaging cameras
    • E-ticketing equipment to avoid contact
    • Anti-viral door handles & sanitation stations
    • Social distancing signage & Perspex Partitioning
    • Covid-19 risk assessments

“As a theatre we engage with our community and provide a platform for people to develop and express their creativity enhancing local creative skills both on and off stage.

“Any support we receive really does mean the world to us and our campaign to survive this crisis.”

History of the Gladstone Theatre

Known as Wirral’s hidden gem, the Gladstone Theatre was founded in 1888 by William Hesketh Lever, the founder of Lever Brothers, now known as Unilever, to house his soap factory workers.

It was subsequently used as an assembly and recreation hall for entertainment, political meetings, films, dance and lectures, something it still hosts to this day.

The Port Sunlight venue hosted Jimmy’s popular comedy play No more Fiffing and Faffing in October 2019.

Also read: Gladstone Theatre: A wonderful afternoon and great evening

One huge thank you to the wonderful @jimmy__cricket for his support during our #SaveTheGladstone Campaign!Red heart Jimmy always brings the fun & laughter to our stage and we can't wait to welcome him back! Give the video below a watch https://crowdfunder.co.uk/save-the-gladstone #SaveOurTheatres

Des O’Connor RIP: I was thrilled to be on his TV chat show 150 150 mhamer

Des O’Connor RIP: I was thrilled to be on his TV chat show

From the moment I saw Des O’Connor playing Buttons in Panto @gohbelfast over 60 years ago, I new he was destined for stardom! I was thrilled to have appeared alongside him on his TV Chat Show in the 80’s! R.I.P. Des #Legend

Des O’Connor’s death at the age of 88 got Jimmy Cricket recalling his fond memories of the famous entertainer.

The London-born comedian hosted his own prime-time TV shows for more than 45 years.

He was also a successful singer.

The popular and long-running Countdown was among the shows he presented.

He was very good friends with Morecambe and Wise.

In addition to performing all over the world, he appeared in hundreds of shows at the London Palladium.

He hosted The Des O’Connor Show, which ran on ITV from 1963 to 1971.

‘Destined for stardom’

In 1977 he began hosting Des O’Connor Tonight, which started on BBC Two before moving to ITV, on which channel it finished in 2002.

He was made a CBE for his services to entertainment and broadcasting in the 2008 birthday honours.

Jimmy reminisced: “From the moment I saw Des O’Connor playing Buttons in Panto @gohbelfast over 60 years ago, I knew he was destined for stardom!

“I was thrilled to have appeared alongside him on his TV Chat Show in the 80s!

“R.I.P. Des #Legend.”

Obituary on the BBC website: From Butlin’s to chat show king

Also read: Bruce Forsyth: Our living room friends for decades

 

 

Happy 65th birthday to Mrs C! 150 150 mhamer

Happy 65th birthday to Mrs C!

Mrs C, aka May Mulgrew, has celebrated her 65th birthday!

Mrs Cricket – aka May Mulgrew – turned 65 on Saturday.

May is a singer in her own right and performs at many of Jimmy’s shows.

Her stage name is May Marion.

Jimmy tweeted: “A big shout out to my good lady May who is 65 today. As the song goes -“You’re the wind beneath my wings.”

He also posted: “A big thank you to everyone who has wished Mrs C. “Happy Birthday”, here is us celebrating last Wednesday before Lockdown!”  Bottle with popping cork  Clinking glasses

The latest national lockdown in England began on Thursday and is due to last until 2 December.

Also read: Jimmy’s friend Patti Gold celebrates 60th birthday

Bobby Ball: An original, funny man – we all loved him 150 150 mhamer

Bobby Ball: An original, funny man – we all loved him

Shocked and saddened to hear about my friend Bobby Ball, an original funny man, he made us laugh and cry, we all loved him. With his partner Tommy, Cannon and Ball were one of the finest Comedy Double Acts to grace our stages! Our thoughts & prayers are with Yvonne and his family!

Jimmy Cricket said he was “shocked and saddened” to hear fellow comedian and friend Bobby Ball had died.

Bobby, one half of the famous comedy double act Cannon and Ball, passed away at Blackpool Victoria Hospital on Wednesday aged 76.

The actor and comedian had tested positive for Covid-19.

His long-time friend and colleague Tommy Cannon led the tributes to Bobby, saying: “Rock on, my good friend, I can’t believe this, I’m devastated.”

Bobby also starred in several popular sitcoms.

They included Not Going Out, Last of the Summer Wine and Benidorm.

Jimmy said Bobby – pictured right on the photo above – was “an original funny man”.

He added: “He made us laugh and cry, we all loved him.

“With his partner Tommy, Cannon and Ball were one of the finest Comedy Double Acts to grace our stages!

“Our thoughts & prayers are with Yvonne and his family.”

Bobby was born in Oldham on 28 January 1944.

He met Tommy while working in a factory as a welder.

Cannon and Ball – their real names are Thomas Derbyshire and Robert Harper – began their entertainment careers as comedians on the cabaret circuit in the north of England.

Bobby was famous for twanging his braces on stage and saying: “Rock on, Tommy!”

The other famous entertainers on the photo above – including Jimmy of course – are the Krankies, Frank Carson and Paul Daniels.

Also read: Jimmy inspired to write show after seeing success of fellow comedian Bobby Ball’s first steps into writing for the stage

 

Featuring in podcast and being spoilt on my birthday! 150 150 mhamer

Featuring in podcast and being spoilt on my birthday!

The Conclusion of Season One is here with my “Eyes & Teeth” facing the Legendary @jimmy__cricket  Free to download, enjoy and review at your leisure I hope these bring you joy and fun into your ears https://buzzsprout.com/1358848

Jimmy Cricket featured with his friend and fellow entertainer Steve Hewlett in the final episode of the first season of the Eyes & Teeth podcast.
Steve, who is a ventriloquist and was a finalist in the seventh series of Britain’s Got Talent, produces the podcast.
He posted the past photos above and said: “The Conclusion of Season One is here with my “Eyes & Teeth” facing the Legendary @jimmy__cricket.”
Steve added: “My New Podcast Eyes and Teeth, free to download, enjoy and review at your leisure.
“I hope these bring you joy and fun into your ears buzzsprout.com/1358848.”

He had previously said he was proud to launch his own podcast in 2020.

“Every incredible guest has a story & shares much laughter & happiness! The first has me talking to myself,” he commented.

A big thank you to everyone @LoungeComedy as they celebrated my birthday with me tonight, my thanks to that great fellow comic @mikemcclean5 and to Paul and Bev who own this wonderful comedy venue, I was throughly spoilt with a fabulous cake and cards and presents!Performing arts#SaveTheArts

Jimmy recently celebrated his 75th birthday by appearing at The Comedy Lounge in Hull.

He said afterwards: “A big thank you to everyone @LoungeComedy as they celebrated my birthday with me tonight.

“My thanks to that great fellow comic @mikemcclean5 and to Paul and Bev who own this wonderful comedy venue.

“I was throughly spoilt with a fabulous cake and cards and presents! #SaveTheArts.”

The photos above were taken at the event.

Jimmy also received lots of happy birthday messages via social media.

“Can I say a big, ‘Thank You’, to all those who took the time today to send me, Birthday Greetings,” he added.

“Sending Love and Best Wishes from me and Mrs C. xx”

Can I say a big, “Thank You”, to all those who took the time today to send me, “Birthday Greetings”, sending Love and Best Wishes from me and Mrs C. xx

Also read: Mammy’s letters are handy reading for the garden!

‘Wonderful news’ about Blackpool’s Grand Theatre! 150 150 mhamer

‘Wonderful news’ about Blackpool’s Grand Theatre!

Wonderful news to start the week! Grand Theatre Successful COVID-19 Recovery Grant - Blackpool Grand Theatre

Jimmy Cricket has welcomed the news that the Blackpool Grand Theatre is to get a government recovery grant.

It was suggested in August the theatre could close because of the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

Management had warned the venue might have to shut unless the UK government intervened.

Like other provincial theatres, which depend largely on box office receipts to keep going, it has not received any income since the lockdown began.

Popular comedian Jimmy said at the time that the closure of the iconic theatre would be a “tragedy”.

But the theatre, which first opened in 1894, has succeeded in its application for £483,666 to the government’s COVID-19 Recovery Grant Scheme.

Jimmy described it on social media as “wonderful news”.

‘Absolute lifeline’

The grant aims to support the theatre while it is unable to open with consistently financially viable productions.

The theatre’s website said it would pay to keep a small staff team in place to look after the building and its business until 31 March 2021. 

It will also underwrite the cost of unavoidable job losses and preparations to reopen with covid-secure provisions in place.

Additionally, it would help to rebuild the theatre’s reserves and enable it to return to full operation when possible.

Tony Stone, chairman of the charity which operates the Grand, said: “We are beyond grateful to be awarded this grant by the Government.

“It is an absolute lifeline. Since March we have been unable to earn any income as shows have cancelled or postponed.

“This additional grant makes the difference between permanent closure and the potential to return when it is safe and viable to do so.”

‘Fantastic grant’

John Grady, chairman of the Friends of the Grand, said: “In normal times we stuff envelopes, tear tickets and sell coffee to thousands of loyal customers.

“Since March we have been unable to support our favourite theatre as it has been unable to open.

“We realise that we still don’t know when this will be possible.

“But this fantastic grant will, at least, mean that we can prepare to return when circumstances allow.”

Ruth Eastwood, the theatre’s chief executive, welcomed the news “with very mixed feelings”.

‘Tremendous support’

She said the entire team were at risk of redundancy and in consultation about reduced terms and conditions of employment.

“With no work and no place of work available to our 57-strong team and the Furlough scheme ending, we have no choice but to reduce the headcount at the theatre,” she explained.

“This is to ensure we can slow down the speed with which cash is flowing out of our reserves.

“I’d like to thank my dedicated and hard-working team, plus board members and volunteers, for their tremendous support and forbearance at this difficult time.”

Also read: Losing the Grand Theatre in Blackpool would be a ‘tragedy’