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The day I ended up in court facing a hefty fine… 150 150 mhamer

The day I ended up in court facing a hefty fine…

True story! Going back decades here is this months @leponline column, here I'm sharing my humble beginnings in the world of showbusiness, which doesn't get much funnier than this! 

Jimmy Cricket was once summoned to court for not doing something he didn’t even know he had to do!

In the 1970s, before he was famous, the Northern Irishman fell foul of the TV licensing authorities.

He revealed his story in his Lancashire Post column.

Jimmy posted on social media: “Hi folks! True story!

“Going back decades here is this month’s @leponline column.

“Here I’m sharing my humble beginnings in the world of showbusiness, which doesn’t get much funnier than this! #savevariety”

His column said: “I’m going back a bit now – 1973. I was in my mid-20s and trying to eke out a living as a comedian in the Northern clubs.

“My girlfriend and soon-to-be-my-wife May and her sister Margaret did a sing­ing act under the name, The Tweedie Sisters.

“We both landed a week’s booking at the Norbreck Ho­tel in Blackpool. However, it didn’t quite turn out that way.

“Oh, the girls had a great week finishing their act to tumultuous applause every evening.

“I, however, didn’t make it past the Sunday. To be honest I was a bit rough round the edges, and when I didn’t get too many laughs on the opening night, the hotel manager fired me.

Disbelieving glance

“So while the girls trav­elled back and forth to Black­pool every night, (Margaret’s boyfriend Graham had a car), I sat alone in the flat we all shared in Stockport trying to figure out a new act.

“It was on the Tuesday night that the doorbell rang. I’d barely opened the door when a guy pushed past me.

“I followed behind him in hot pursuit calling out, ‘Hi, what is this?’ until he stopped with a jolt in the middle of the living room and, pointing to the corner, shout­ed: ‘Have you got a licence for that television?’

“I explained that my fian­cee had ordered it from a lo­cal shop a few weeks before.

“Then I naively enquired: ‘Doesn’t the rental cover the cost of the licence?’ He threw me a disbelieving glance, wrote something in his book and marched straight out the door.

“A summons duly arrived a few weeks later for me to appear in court, where I paid a hefty fine, not for some­thing I did but for something I didn’t know I had to do.

“Don’t get me wrong folks. I’m a big fan of the BBC. What’s not to like about it?

“They do the best period cos­tume dramas. They give us uninterrupted coverage of top sporting events and the best movies, and their news coverage is the envy of the world.

“Just like the National Health Service it’s a quintessential British institution and I couldn’t imagine life without it.

“I just hope they have nicer people driving their detector vans these days than the guy I got in Stockport.”

Also read: The first time I met Bobby Ball

The Lancashire Post website

‘Wonderful news in these gloomy times!’ 150 150 mhamer

‘Wonderful news in these gloomy times!’

Jimmy Cricket will do a New Year's Eve show at the Lyndene Hotel in BlackpoolJimmy Cricket has welcomed the news that two Blackpool hotels which had closed are back in business.

Earlier this month, the famous funnyman had expressed his sadness that the Lyndene and sister hotel St Chads had shut their doors for the final time.

However, the Blackpool Gazette reports that the two hotels are ready to return to business, with their managers re-employed.

Jimmy has appeared regularly at the popular Lyndene over the past few years.

He said: “Wonderful news in these gloomy times for Blackpool and ⁦@LyndeneHotel and for all the staff at #TeamLyndene and St Chads Hotels!

“We were all hoping for a miracle! Great news!”

His performances at the Lyndene were limited during 2020 following the restrictions imposed because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Jimmy did his last show there in September before another lockdown again resulted in the closure of hospitality venues.

Owners the Fragrance Group announced the Lyndene and St Chad’s hotels will now be run by hotel management company RBH, which has taken over operations with immediate effect.

The hotels were shut suddenly with staff left unpaid on 3 February by operating firm Bespoke Hotels Group.

The Blackpool Gazette added that a number of staff made redundant will be offered employment soon.

It is hoped hotels will reopen this spring when lockdown restrictions are lifted.

The Lyndene and St Chads stand next to each other on the seafront.

Husband and wife team Paul and Claire Swift manage both.

Jimmy has had five seasons in total at the Lyndene, which starred as the Le Ponderosa in the second series of Peter Kay’s TV hit comedy Phoenix Nights.

Jimmy Cricket ‘so sad’ over closure of Blackpool hotels 150 150 mhamer

Jimmy Cricket ‘so sad’ over closure of Blackpool hotels

So sad to hear of another casualty of Covid, the closure of the wonderful Lyndene and St Chad’s Hotels in Blackpool. Our thoughts go out to Paul the Manager and Claire from #TowerTopEnts who worked so hard along with #TeamLyndene to keep going during these difficult unprecedented times! Me and Mrs C. want to thank you all for the many happy memories over the last five years! xxJimmy Cricket has expressed his sadness at the closure of two Blackpool hotels, including the Lyndene.

The famous Northern Ireland entertainer had appeared regularly at the Lyndene Hotel over the past few years.

His performances were limited during 2020 following the restrictions imposed because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Jimmy did his last show there in September before another lockdown again resulted in the closure of hospitality venues.

Last week he learned the Lyndene and sister hotel St Chads had shut their doors for the final time.

The LancsLive website reported: “Staff at two prominent Blackpool hotels have been let go without their final pay checks after the sites closed with no notice.

“Employees at the Lyndene and St Chads hotels on Blackpool Promenade were told yesterday (February 2) that they no longer had jobs.”

The article said both businesses had been dissolved.

Read the full story here

Lyndene and St Chads were prominent Blackpool hotels on the seafront, with 141 guest rooms in total.

Jimmy said: “So sad to hear of another casualty of Covid, the closure of the wonderful Lyndene and St Chad’s Hotels in Blackpool.

“Our thoughts go out to Paul the Manager and Claire from #TowerTopEnts who worked so hard along with #TeamLyndene to keep going during these difficult unprecedented times!

Jimmy Cricket will do a New Year's Eve show at the Lyndene Hotel in Blackpool

“Me and Mrs C. want to thank you all for the many happy memories over the last five years! xx.”

Jimmy had five seasons in total at the Lyndene.

Also read: Jimmy returns to his favourite Blackpool hotel

‘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.”

‘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’

‘TV’s Irish comedy legend’ back at Blackpool hotel 150 150 mhamer

‘TV’s Irish comedy legend’ back at Blackpool hotel

Wednesday 14th October at the Lyndene Hotel, entertainment with excellent vocalist Benjamin Moss and comedy from TV's Irish Comedy Legend Jimmy Cricket. Show starts at 6.00pm with Resident keyboard player Ray Bentley followed by Host & Compere Nick Jones.

Jimmy Cricket continues his shortened season this week at a popular Blackpool hotel, which bills him as “TV’s Irish comedy legend”.
The evergreen entertainer returns to the Lyndene on Wednesday for his second appearance of the month there.
The hotel posted on Facebook: “Wednesday 14th October at the Lyndene Hotel, entertainment with excellent vocalist Benjamin Moss and comedy from TV’s Irish Comedy Legend Jimmy Cricket.
“Show starts at 6.00pm with Resident keyboard player Ray Bentley followed by Host & Compere Nick Jones.”
Jimmy has been appearing at the Lyndene Hotel for several years.
The Belfast-born funnyman had been scheduled to do two shows a night on 23 dates during 2020.
However, his summer performances could not go ahead because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The government placed the United Kingdom into national lockdown in late March.

Unique venue

But the reopening of hotels and other entertainment venues meant Jimmy could return to the Lyndene several weeks ago.

Three compered acts usually perform twice per night, once each in different lounges at the Lyndene.

The Lyndene Hotel, perched on the seafront, is one of Blackpool’s unique venues as it welcomes tourists and visitors all year round.

It offers a series of seasonal packages around the Blackpool illuminations and Christmas.

Jimmy Cricket will do a New Year's Eve show at the Lyndene Hotel in Blackpool

Jimmy is in his fifth season at the Lyndene Hotel.

See this year’s dates below* and visit the hotel’s website here.

Also read: The Blackpool-illuminations and wonderful-in-laws!

* Note that any scheduled dates for the rest of 2020 are subject to change or cancellation depending on measures imposed during the pandemic.Returning to what has become my second home working alongside many talented singers and old friends like @MALFORDUK , my thanks goes to Claire @TowerTopEnts and @LyndeneHotel the Manager Paul, and all the Team members for their hospitality and support over the last four years

The Blackpool illuminations and wonderful in-laws! 150 150 mhamer

The Blackpool illuminations and wonderful in-laws!

Had a great social distancing, hand sanitising, mask wearing evening with our wonderful in-laws Ali and Jim Martin at Blackpool’s favourite @LyndeneHotel last night alongside the eye catching and traditional illuminations!
Jimmy Cricket enjoyed the Blackpool illuminations and meeting up with some relatives.
The popular Northern Irish comedian was at the Lyndene Hotel for his latest shows there.
He posted on social media: “Had a great social distancing, hand sanitising, mask wearing evening with our wonderful in-laws Ali and Jim Martin at Blackpool’s favourite @LyndeneHotel last night alongside the eye catching and traditional illuminations! Performing arts

Jimmy posted some photos, including of the world-famous Blackpool lights.

He has been appearing at the Lyndene Hotel for several years.

The all-round entertainer had been scheduled to do two shows a night on 23 dates during 2020.

However, the summer performances could not go ahead because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The government placed the United Kingdom into lockdown in late March.

Fifth season

But the reopening of hotels and other entertainment venues meant Jimmy could return to the Lyndene at last recently.

Two or three acts usually perform twice per night, once each in different lounges at the Lyndene.

The Lyndene Hotel, perched on the seafront, is one of Blackpool’s unique venues as it welcomes tourists and visitors all year round.

Jimmy Cricket will do a New Year's Eve show at the Lyndene Hotel in Blackpool

Its website says that it offers more than 141 fully equipped and tastefully decorated en suite bedrooms.

Jimmy is in his FIFTH season at the Lyndene Hotel.

See this year’s dates below* and visit the hotel’s website here.

* Note that any scheduled dates for the rest of 2020 are subject to change or cancellation depending on measures imposed during the pandemic.Returning to what has become my second home working alongside many talented singers and old friends like @MALFORDUK , my thanks goes to Claire @TowerTopEnts and @LyndeneHotel the Manager Paul, and all the Team members for their hospitality and support over the last four years