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autobiography

Raising a toast to ‘the godfather of theatrical agents’ 150 150 mhamer

Raising a toast to ‘the godfather of theatrical agents’

Former theatrical agent Johnny Martin was there when his acts needed him the most, says famous comedian Jimmy Cricket.

Former theatrical agent Johnny Martin was there when his acts needed him the most, says famous comedian Jimmy Cricket.

Jimmy and two fellow famous entertainers met up a few months ago to celebrate Johnny’s career.

In his latest newspaper column, which appears in both the Lancashire Evening Post and the Blackpool Gazette, Jimmy recalls the meeting.

He says: “On a sunny Sunday afternoon in late October last year, three entertainers – Syd Little (of Little and Large fame), Phil Cool (comedian, impressionist and musician) and Jimmy Cricket (that’s me folks), gathered at the Bukhara Indian Restaurant near Preston, to celebrate the career of former theatrical agent Johnny Martin.

“This was quite an unusual event in the entertainment world.

“Normally, agents stay in the background while their artistes get all the plaudits… in other words they get the commission while their turns get the glory.

Excited tones

“So, what made Johnny – who now resides in Chorley – so special? Well, he was there when his acts needed them most.

“Let’s let Syd tell his story first: “My partner Eddie Large had to retire because of heart problems, so one minute I was one half of one of the most successful comedy double acts in Britian and the next I was on my own.

“Johnny believed I could  go solo and got me a booking entertaining passengers on the QE2.

“He also encouraged me to write a book about my time as part of Little and Large… he helped me promote it well as getting me live work around the country… and he was there for me when I needed somebody to help build my confidence.

“You could say he’s the godfather of theatrical agents.

Short-lived

“My personal anecdote about Johnny was the time he fixed pantomime for me in my hometown.

“I remember the telephone conversation vividly when he told me in excited tones that he’d booked me to do Jack and The Beanstalk at the Grand Opera House in Belfast at the end of that year.

“Unfortunately, my euphoria was short-lived, for a few weeks later he rang again and this time in more sombre tones he told me that a bomb had gone off next door to the theatre and the pantomime may now not go ahead.

“He said he’d keep me posted.

“I can’t tell you how deflated I was readers, when I put the phone down after that conversation.

“However, like all good pantomimes this story does have a happy ending, because within a few weeks, Johnny rang to say that with the help of a few very talented architects and engineers the theatre could be saved, repaired and brought back to its former glory.

Emotional moment

“It wouldn’t be completely ready for that Christmas, so we would have to change in portable cabins, but that was a minor inconvenience.

“The important thing was Jack and The Beanstalk opened and played to record attendances that year.

“And it had a lot to do with the people of Belfast voting with their feet and showing they wouldn’t be beaten by violence.

“Closer to home now for Phil‘s heart-warming story of how when he had developed his unique style of impressions that entailed bringing his characters to life with his descriptive facial expressions.

“It was Johnny who kept bringing producers and promoters into see his live act that eventually led to him having his own television series.

Yes, it was an emotional moment in that restaurant for Johnny and his lovely wife Chris, as we all raised a toast to the man who helped our career when we needed it most.

“In fact, we all enjoyed our lunchtime get-together so much, that we even thought of forming our own showbiz fraternity to meet in the future.

“Syd suggested calling ourselves ‘The Chorley Chaplin’s’, but Johnny himself had the last word.

“He said: ‘Instead of ‘The Four Musketeers’, how about ‘The Four Must Have a Beers!'”.

Buy Jimmy’s autobiography!Jimmy Cricket with his autobiography

Don’t forget that Jimmy’s official autobiography is on sale.

Memoirs Of An Irish Comedian tells the heart-warming story of Jimmy’s illustrious life and 50-year career.

The paperback costs £11.99 and can be bought at online retailer Amazon here. It is also available via eBook and audio.

Signed copies (£15.99 including postage and packing) can be purchased on this website here.

It is also available at Jimmy’s live gigs for £10 where Jimmy will also sign it.

One pound from the sale of every book goes to Mary’s Meals.

The charity supports feeding projects in some of the world’s poorest communities.

Also read: Jimmy Cricket’s signed autobiographies now available by post!

‘Unmissable afternoon of top-class variety theatre’ in Coventry 150 150 mhamer

‘Unmissable afternoon of top-class variety theatre’ in Coventry

'Unmissable afternoon of top-class variety theatre' in Coventry with JImmy Cricket the headline act

Jimmy Cricket is headlining a “heart-warming afternoon of comedy, songs, music and fun” in the West Midlands next month.

The famous funnyman appears on the Belgrade Theatre Main Stage in Coventry on Thursday 29 February (1.30pm start).

Musical host Andy Eastwood, a good friend of Jimmy’s, is the ‘merry musical host’ for what is billed by promoters as Jimmy Cricket’s Big Show.

Jimmy is described on the poster advertising the show as a “legend of laughter”.

The venue’s website says: “Jimmy’s amazing career in comedy includes his own TV and radio series, Royal Command Performances and even a Papal Knighthood, awarded for his services to charity.

“He is delighted to be headlining this special show at the Midlands’ home of variety, the Belgrade Theatre.

‘Flawless tribute’

“Joining Jimmy will be our regular Midday Variety host Andy Eastwood, with his dazzling array of instruments and, from Scotland, another virtuoso musician, the remarkable, multi-talented Gordon Cree.

“The stunning mezzo-soprano voice of Cheryl Forbes will bring us favourite songs from stage and screen and completing the all-star line-up is the sensational Kearra Bethany, with her flawless tribute to the legendary Barbra Streisand.

“Why not take advantage of our group rates and bring a party to enjoy this unmissable afternoon of top-class variety theatre?”

Book here for the performance

Also read from this website: Coventry show will be ‘wonderful afternoon of feel-good entertainment’

Buy Jimmy’s autobiography!Jimmy Cricket with his autobiography

Don’t forget that Jimmy’s official autobiography is on sale.

Memoirs Of An Irish Comedian tells the heart-warming story of Jimmy’s illustrious life and 50-year career.

The paperback costs £11.99 and can be bought at online retailer Amazon here. It is also available via eBook and audio.

Signed copies (£15.99 including postage and packing) can be purchased on this website here.

It is also available at Jimmy’s live gigs for £10 where Jimmy will also sign it.

One pound from the sale of every book goes to Mary’s Meals.

The charity supports feeding projects in some of the world’s poorest communities.

Also read: Jimmy Cricket’s signed autobiographies now available by post!

 

Which promenade hotel in Blackpool is a ‘great survivor’? 150 150 mhamer

Which promenade hotel in Blackpool is a ‘great survivor’?

Lyndene Hotel in Blackpool

It’s a promenade hotel in Blackpool which has survived a pandemic, temporary closure and two changes of ownership during recent years.

The Lyndene, situated at the heart of the famous Lancashire seaside resort, has undoubtedly had more than its fair share of uncertainty in the past.

And yet the popular venue continues to flourish, with its nightly entertainment a major part of its success.

Loveable comedian Jimmy Cricket has been a reglar performer at the hotel – and he is already looking forward to doing his NINTH season there.

Jimmy says: “I’m excited about going back to the Lyndene hotel in Blackpool in 2024.

“The Lyndene hotel is a great survivor.

“It went through the pandemic when many hotels closed their doors, never to reopen, and two changes of ownership.

“I suppose the one constant has been the manager Paul and his wife Claire, who have weathered all the storms, keeping in touch with the customers and welcoming them back when things got back to normal.”

Dispensing cornets and 99s

The Northern Irish funnyman recalls: “I remember nine years ago when the original owner Barry Young first booked me.

“Barry was a down-to-earth Brummie who, when he arrived in Blackpool, bought a small bed and breakfast guest house.

“And while his wife Carol looked after it, he drove an ice cream van around Blackpool dispensing cornets and 99s to all the families.

“The guest house became so popular with holiday makers that Barry and Carol  bought the Lyndene on the seafront and transformed it into a 140-bedroom hotel.

“The location is a vital attribute, because the Lyndene is within close proximity to the Blackpool attractions, especially the Pleasure Beach.”

He continues: “The first night I played the Lyndene hotel was a real eye opener.

“As well as me, there were another three acts plus a compere.

“There are two performing venues – the Somerset Lounge and the Cabaret bar – and all the acts rotate between the two rooms.

“In between, there are a couple of games of bingo and even before the shows there’s an organist in each room playing preshow music… is that value or what?

“From a personal point of view, I find the intimate atmosphere at the Lyndene ideal for comedy.

“It’s up close and personal. It also means that after each show I can do a meet and greet, shake hands and have selfies with the audience.

You can’t miss it

“I can also sell my autobiography, Memoirs of an Irish Comedian, for a bargain basement price of £10.” (See below for more details of the book and the charity that benefits from the sales.)

Jimmy adds: “If you drive down the Golden Mile in Blackpool on a cold January night, the lights will be out on all the hotels except one.

“You can’t miss it – it’s the big blue one with all lights fully on and a big sign that says LYNDENE HOTEL.”

The hotel’s website says: “Located on Blackpool’s glorious seafront, the Lyndene Hotel is the No 1 choice for hotels with entertainment in Britain’s favourite holiday destination.

“With sweeping views across the Irish Sea with incomparable sunsets and people-watching, the Lyndene Hotel has all the amenities to make your stay perfect.

“Our entertainment keeps our guests returning to us again and again.

“Widely known as Blackpool’s No 1 entertainment hotel, we offer THREE superb cabaret acts each evening, every evening, all year around.”

Jimmy’s first appearance back at the Lyndene is on Wednesday 6 March.

His other three shows there this year are:

  • Wednesday 5 June
  • Wednesday 4 September
  • Wednesday 4 December.
Jimmy Cricket ‘so sad’ over closure of Blackpool hotels

Buy Jimmy’s autobiography!Jimmy Cricket with his autobiography

As Jimmy mentions above, his official autobiography is on sale.

Memoirs Of An Irish Comedian tells the heart-warming story of Jimmy’s illustrious life and 50-year career.

The paperback costs £11.99 and can be bought at online retailer Amazon here. It is also available via eBook and audio.

Signed copies (£15.99 including postage and packing) can be purchased on this website here.

It is also available at Jimmy’s live gigs for £10 where Jimmy will also sign it.

One pound from the sale of every book goes to Mary’s Meals.

The charity supports feeding projects in some of the world’s poorest communities.

Also read: Jimmy Cricket’s signed autobiographies now available by post!

My thanks for 2023 – and here’s what happening in 2024! 150 150 mhamer

My thanks for 2023 – and here’s what happening in 2024!

Strictly Come Dancing is the theme of Jimmy Cricket's 2023 Christmas card.

Jimmy’s Christmas card for this year

Hi folks, it’s me, Jimmy, come closer!

As we approach the end of 2023, I’d like to say a big ‘thank you’ to everyone who came out to see me at one of my live shows this year, and who bought my new autobiography which came out on the first of April.

I’d like to take this opportunity to tell you about some of the exciting things that will be happening in 2024…

There’s nowhere quite like Blackpool and next March I’ll be playing my ninth season at the lovely Lyndene Hotel on the promenade.

The four dates there next year are as follows:

  • Wednesday 6 March
  • Wednesday 5 June
  • Wednesday 4 September
  • Wednesday 4 December.

Also in March I’ll be going back to the Cabaret Lounge in Hull for my fifth appearance for owners Paul and Bev – on Sunday 17 March (St Patrick’s Day of course!).

And to round off a great month, I’ll be doing a three-day theatre tour of Northern Ireland with my fellow Irish comedians Roy Walker, Adrian Walsh and Gene Fitzpatrick.

The dates for that are:

In July I’ll be doing two shows for my favourite television channel – Talking Pictures – at the Savoy Theatre in Monmouth, Wales. For anyone who can’t get to the actual shows, they will be televised.

I’ll keep you in touch with these shows and any others on this website via the Tour Dates section.

In the meantime, my wife May and myself wish you and your families a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Yours Truly

Jimmy

Buy Jimmy’s autobiography!

If you’re looking to buy someone a lovely Christmas present, then don’t forget that Jimmy’s official autobiography is on sale!The Jimmy Cricket Story is the famous comedian's official autobiography

Memoirs Of An Irish Comedian tells the heart-warming story of his illustrious life and 50-year career.

The paperback costs £11.99 and is available at online retailer Amazon here.

Signed copies (priced £15.99 including postage and packing) can be purchased on this website here.

One pound from the sale of every book goes to Mary’s Meals.

The charity supports feeding projects in some of the world’s poorest communities.

Also read: Jimmy Cricket’s signed autobiographies now available by post!

Jimmy Cricket's Christmas card 2020

The day I saved a Christmas TV show by playing an unexpected role 150 150 mhamer

The day I saved a Christmas TV show by playing an unexpected role

Jimmy Cricket tells in his latest newspaper column how he once saved the day on a Christmas TV show - by stepping in as the Fairy Godmother at short notice.

Jimmy Cricket once saved the day on a Christmas TV show – by stepping in as the Fairy Godmother at short notice!

In his last newspaper column of 2023, the famous funnyman recalls how he ended up “complete in fairy frock, full make-up, blonde wig, not to mention my wellies”.

Here is the full article, which appeared in both the Blackpool Gazette and the Lancashire Evening Post newspapers:

The London Weekend Television studio was filled with Christmas decorations capturing the yuletide spirit. All around were fairy lights, tinsel and holly…

Cornucopia of celebrities

However, this show was different – it was being made in the middle of August and it was sizzling outside.

It was the early 80s and I was a guest on the Krankies Christmas show. I did a stand-up spot as a postman and, naturally, I had my own letter from my mammy.

It had lines like “I’m not sending out any Christmas cards this year, son, because of the price of postage… and I’ve sent letters to all my friends telling them that”.

Also on the TV show was a mini-pantomime with a cornucopia of celebrities playing different roles. One of them was Bernie Winters.

Big sad eyes

Older readers will remember that Bernie and his brother Mike were a well-known comedy double act that were very popular on television in the 60s and 70s.

They were called, naturally enough, Mike and Bernie Winters. When the double act disbanded, Bernie got himself another partner – Snorbitz the dog.

Snorbitz was a large St Bernard dog with a lugubrious face and big sad eyes who endeared himself to the audience every time he came on stage with Bernie.

Indeed, I remember being in the line-up after a Royal Variety show once, standing beside Bernie and when Princess Diane came along the queue to shake hands with us; she was disappointed not to see Snorbitz by Bernie’s side.

Back to the Krankies Christmas show.

Hard to believe

Another well-known TV personality was playing the Fairy Godmother in that mini-pantomime, namely impressionist and singer Faith Brown.

Unfortunately, Faith collapsed just a couple of hours before the programme was recorded and was told by a medical examiner that she had to rest and take no more part in the show.

Looking back now, what happened next readers is something I find hard to believe even as I write it, but it’s absolutely true…

Come closer… Ian (Krankie) and Bernie both took me to the side and almost in unison asked me would I step up and play the part of the Fairy Godmother.

Of course, it was a preposterous suggestion and my immediate inclination was to politely decline.

But then I thought about all the actors rehearsing all their lines in the week, leading up to show and how depleted they’d feel.

Whisked into make-up

So, I threw caution to the wind and, in my best “The show must go on” voice, I agreed.

Time was now of the essence.

Jimmy Cricket as the Fairy Godmother in the Krankies Christmas special.

I was whisked into make-up, then wardrobe and that night I stepped out in front of the studio audience waving my wand, complete in fairy frock, full make-up, blonde wig, not to mention my wellies.

I looked like a cross between Harpo Marx and Dolly Parton… but surely you wouldn’t have had time to rehearse your lines, I hear you silently say to yourself.

Well, that hurdle was surmounted by the production team holding cue cards with the words of the couplets written on them.

I rattled them off as if I was looking straight to camera.

Well, we got through and the fairy saved the day.

I got a healthy response from the audience and as I glanced across at Snorbitz I could have sworn he clapped his paws together!

Oh, and like all good pantomimes it has a happy ending because Faith Brown recovered and went on to play (superbly) the lead role of Norma Desmond in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s touring version of Sunset Boulevard.

Happy Christmas readers.

Don’t forget that Jimmy’s official autobiography is on sale!

Memoirs Of An Irish Comedian tells the heart-warming story of Jimmy’s illustrious life and 50-year career.

The paperback costs £11.99 and can be bought at online retailer Amazon here. It is also available via eBook and audio.

Signed copies (£15.99 including postage and packing) can be purchased on this website here.

One pound from the sale of every book goes to Mary’s Meals.

The charity supports feeding projects in some of the world’s poorest communities.

 

As latest Lyndene season ends, next one is only months away! 150 150 mhamer

As latest Lyndene season ends, next one is only months away!

Hi folks, my last @LyndeneHotel (and it’s Christmas themed) gig of 2023 but looking forward to what will be my 9th year starting March 2024. My thanks to compère/multi instrumentalist Tom Collins for all his help this year! 🎭#threeactsanight

Jimmy Cricket completed his latest season at the Lyndene Hotel in Blackpool this week – and immediately looked forward to the next one!

The Northern Irish funnyman has performed at the popular venue in the famous North West seaside resort for EIGHT years.

And he promised he will return early in 2023.

Wednesday (6 December) was Jimmy’s sixth and final appearance of the year at the Lyndene.

He posted the photos above on social media, saying: “My last @LyndeneHotel (and Christmas-themed) gig of 2023.

“But looking forward to what will be my ninth year starting March 2024.

“My thanks to compère/multi instrumentalist Tom Collins for all his help this year! #threeactsanight.”

Jimmy and other entertainers do two shows on the night, one in each of the hotel lounges.

The hotel’s website says: “Located on Blackpool’s glorious seafront, the Lyndene Hotel is the No 1 choice for hotels with entertainment in Britain’s favourite holiday destination.

“With sweeping views across the Irish Sea with incomparable sunsets and people-watching, the Lyndene Hotel has all the amenities to make your stay perfect.

“Our entertainment keeps our guests returning to us again and again.

“Widely known as Blackpool’s No 1 entertainment hotel, we offer THREE superb cabaret acts each evening, every evening, all year around.”

Lyndene Hotel in Blackpool

See all Jimmy’s booked events here.

Buy Jimmy’s autobiography!

Don’t forget that Jimmy’s official autobiography is on sale!

Memoirs Of An Irish Comedian tells the heart-warming story of Jimmy’s illustrious life and 50-year career.

The paperback costs £11.99 and can be bought at online retailer Amazon here. It is also available via eBook and audio.

Signed copies (£15.99 including postage and packing) can be purchased on this website here.

One pound from the sale of every book goes to Mary’s Meals.

The charity supports feeding projects in some of the world’s poorest communities.

Also read: Jimmy Cricket’s signed autobiographies now available by post!

 

Eighth season at Blackpool’s Lyndene comes to a close 150 150 mhamer

Eighth season at Blackpool’s Lyndene comes to a close

Jimmy Cricket signs off his eighth season at the Lyndene Hotel in Blackpool on Wednesday 6 December.Jimmy Cricket signs off his eighth season at the Lyndene Hotel in Blackpool tomorrow (Wednesday 6 December).

The Northern Irish funnyman is back at the popular venue in the famous North West seaside resort.

It will be his sixth and final appearance of 2023 at the Lyndene.

Jimmy will again do two shows on the night, one in each of the hotel lounges.

Rochdale-based Jimmy has dubbed the Lyndene as his “second home”!

The hotel’s website says: “Located on Blackpool’s glorious seafront, the Lyndene Hotel is the No 1 choice for hotels with entertainment in Britain’s favourite holiday destination.

“Situated amongst family attractions, glittering show venues, great shopping and Blackpool’s jewel, the Blackpool Tower, our hotel is in the prime position for your holiday base.

“With sweeping views across the Irish Sea with incomparable sunsets and people-watching, the Lyndene Hotel has all the amenities to make your stay perfect.

“Our entertainment keeps our guests returning to us again and again.

Lyndene Hotel in Blackpool“Widely known as Blackpool’s No 1 entertainment hotel, we offer THREE superb cabaret acts each evening, every evening, all year around.

“Unlike many Blackpool hotels, the Lyndene offers FREE onsite parking, subject to availability.”

Trivia: The hotel appeared as Le Ponderosa in the second series of Peter Kay’s TV hit comedy Phoenix Nights.

See all Jimmy’s booked shows here.

Buy Jimmy’s autobiography!

Don’t forget that Jimmy’s official autobiography is on sale!

Memoirs Of An Irish Comedian tells the heart-warming story of Jimmy’s illustrious life and 50-year career.

The paperback costs £11.99 and is available at online retailer Amazon here.

Signed copies (priced £15.99 including postage and packing) can be purchased on this website here.

One pound from the sale of every book goes to Mary’s Meals.

The charity supports feeding projects in some of the world’s poorest communities.

Also read: Jimmy Cricket’s signed autobiographies now available by post!

View photos from Jimmy’s first Lyndene Hotel shows of 2023