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From the archives: Jimmy the Butlin’s camp comic! 150 150 mhamer

From the archives: Jimmy the Butlin’s camp comic!

Jimmy Cricket

Here’s a treat for you from Jimmy’s past – a photo of him as a Butlin’s Redcoat in the late 60s.

Jimmy says: “It was 1967 and I was a Redcoat at Butlin’s in Clacton-on-Sea, Essex.

“The entertainment manager was a man called Bill Martin.

“He’d been a comedian in twice-nightly variety, which meant he toured in theatres up and down the country in the late 40s and early 50s.

“He had a wealth of experience and he took me under his wing.

“He made me the camp comic, which meant I was relieved of official duties and could dress up in silly clothes and gatecrash The Knobbly Knees contest and The Glamorous Grandmother Competition.

“In the enclosed photo, I’ve managed to talk a fellow Redcoat into climbing into a gorilla costume and I walked him round the camp with a lead having photographs taken.

“Happy Days!”

* * Thanks to Neil Whitfield for sending this photo to Jimmy.

Butlins photo from 1968 evokes fond memories 150 150 mhamer

Butlins photo from 1968 evokes fond memories

Butlins Redcoat Jimmy Cricket with Jill Bright and her sister Joy in 1968

A photograph almost half-a-century old has brought back some great memories for famous entertainer Jimmy Cricket.

The Northern Irish comedian was recently sent the picture featuring him as a Butlins Redcoat in 1968.

At that time, Jimmy was at the Butlins resort in the Essex coastal resort of Clacton-on-Sea.

It was sent by a lady from Plymouth called Jill Bright and she and her sister Joy are with Jimmy in the photo above.

Jill explained her family had fond memories from that summer of an Irish Redcoat in Clacton, but it was not until she found negatives of photographs belonging to her mum that she saw a reference to his first name.

When she got the negatives processed, she realised this Irish Redcoat was none other than well-known funnyman Jimmy.

In a further twist, Jill also works in the theatre industry as she is the stage doorkeeper at Plymouth’s Theatre Royal.

Jimmy, 71, said: “I was thrilled to receive the photo as it brought back such wonderful memories for me and I would like to thank Jill for allowing me to see it again.”

Another Redcoats reunion for Jimmy 150 150 mhamer

Another Redcoats reunion for Jimmy

Jimmy with some other former Butlins Redcoats

Jimmy Cricket had his latest Butlins Redcoat reunion when he was appearing at a Pontins holiday village earlier this summer.

Jimmy Cricket with Paul Ogden, another former Butlins Redcoat

The well-known comedian worked as a Redcoat at the Butlins sites in Clacton-on-Sea, Essex, and Mosney near Dublin in Ireland during the late 1960s before becoming a household name on television.

He has met up with some of his old colleagues during the decades since then and this was actually the second time he had encountered this particular group of fellow former Redcoats – he also bumped into them the last time he was at Sand Bay Holiday Park in Weston-super-Mare, Somerset, a couple of years ago!

The photos are courtesy of Paul Ogden, with whom Jimmy can be seen right.

Above, Jimmy has actually managed to borrow a red coat from one of the group and is pictured alongside them all sharing some comedy banter.

Redcoat is the name given to front-line staff at Butlins holiday camps in the UK. A Redcoat has duties ranging from adult entertainer or children’s entertainer to stewarding. Read more about them here.

Jimmy impersonator won Butlin’s award 150 150 mhamer

Jimmy impersonator won Butlin’s award

Philip Lewis is on the right of the talent show line-up

Philip Lewis is on the right of the talent show line-up

Pictures of a young Jimmy Cricket impersonator from the 1980s have been sent to the well-known Northern Irish entertainer.

They were posted to Jimmy at his home in Rochdale just before Christmas and were taken back in 1987 during a Butlin’s holiday talent show hosted at the Grand Hotel in Scarborough.

Philip won an award for his Jimmy Cricket impersonation

Philip won an award for his impersonation

The focus of the photos are a young man named Philip Lewis who, as a 10-year-old, entered the competition complete with hat and wellies!

It was at a time when Jimmy had several television series on ITV and Philip was dressed up in attire for which Jimmy had become famous.

And Philip did such a great job of impersonating Jimmy that he won an award for it!

Jimmy said: “It was a nice surprise when I opened the letter containing these pictures and a bit of nostalgia crept in as well.”

Butlin’s reunion from the 1960s 150 150 mhamer

Butlin’s reunion from the 1960s

Frankie Whittle and Ernie Shrimp and his wife all went to watch Jimmy’s showJimmy Cricket caught up with some old friends during his summer season in Norfolk.

The well-known comedian was headlining the Great British Seaside Special at the Princess Theatre when he visited by some of his former Redcoat colleagues from the Butlin’s holiday site in Clacton-on-Sea.

Frankie Whittle and Ernie Shrimp and his wife all went to watch Jimmy’s show in Hunstanton and chat about the old times afterwards (picture above).

Jimmy said: “Frankie, Ernie and I were all at Butlin’s together in the late 1960s, so this was a wonderful reunion and a really nice way to catch up with these long-time friends.”

‘Your radio show is global, so it is’ 150 150 mhamer

‘Your radio show is global, so it is’

Jimmy and SimonJimmy Cricket had a humorous exchange on the social media website Twitter with a showbiz colleague following a chat with his window cleaner.

Rochdale-based and Belfast-born funnyman Jimmy was talking to Simon Leach, whose business is called G Butterworth windows and who is interested in comedy.

Simon told Jimmy he often listens on his travels to different radio broadcasts and one comedian he listens to is William Caulfield whose radio show, It’s William Caulfield, So It Is, is broadcast on BBC Radio Ulster.

Jimmy said: “I am friends with William and have worked with him on a couple of occasions over the course of the past year, so I thought I would send a picture of me and Simon over to William via Twitter to prove his radio show has an international audience!”

The brief Twitter discussion went as follows:

‏@jimmy__cricket@wecaulfield Just bumped into Simon who lives in Lancashire and who listens to your radio show over here as a podcast

William replied: @jimmy__cricket I’m going to (go) world wide yet!

Flying visit to appear on radio show 150 150 mhamer

Flying visit to appear on radio show

William Caulfield and Jimmy Cricket share a joke

Fellow Northern Irish comics William Caulfield & Jimmy Cricket share a joke at the radio show recording

Jimmy Cricket made a flying visit to Northern Ireland to appear on a show hosted by a fellow Northern Irish entertainer.

The Rochdale-based funnyman featured on the BBC Radio Ulster programme, It’s William Caulfield, So It Is, hosted by the eponymous impressionist and comedian.

Jimmy journeyed over on the day of the recording and flew back to Manchester the next day.

He said: “It was literally a flying visit to appear on the show. I wanted to accept the invite and had a great time with William.”

The programme was broadcast on Saturday 25 April, with the entire series available as a podcast on the BBC website. Each episode is recorded in front of a live studio audience at Blackstaff House.