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Don Maclean: Good things like my old pal are timeless 150 150 mhamer

Don Maclean: Good things like my old pal are timeless

Don Maclean made his latest appearnace at the West Cliff Theatre in August

Jimmy Cricket has paid tribute to his fellow funnyman and great friend Don Maclean who is still going strong at the age of 75.

Don is an English actor and comedian who appeared on the BBC television series Crackerjack with the likes of Michael Aspel in the 1970s.

He has appeared regularly at the West Cliff Theatre in Clacton-on-Sea over the years and headlined the summer show there last month.

Jimmy, 73, said: “While a Butlin Redcoat in Clacton in 1967, I went to the West Cliff Theatre to see the summer show. The star comedian was Don Maclean.

“In 2019 the Westcliff is still going strong and guess who the star comedian of their summer show is?.. Don Maclean. Good things are timeless.”

The Clacton and Frinton gazette said on 9 August: “Clacton’s West Cliff Theatre Summer Show has got off to a flying start in its 125th anniversary year.

Golden age of variety

“The theatre’s summer variety is the longest running continuous show in the country and this year the West Cliff pulled out all the stops to celebrate the anniversary, including pulling in variety star Don Maclean to headline.

“The comic, who shot to fame in the BBC’s Crackerjack in the 1970s, was clearly at home on the West Cliff stage, where he first topped the bill in 1967.

“His quick wit and humour are reminiscent of a golden age of variety, but his routines are still laugh out loud funny for all ages.

“Don has been a regular visitor to the West Cliff and he also went down a storm in the fabulous one-off 125 Show celebration earlier this year.”

Don had travelled up for the service from his home in Solihull when Jimmy was invested as a Knight of the Pontifical Order of St Gregory the Great several years ago.

The service took place at St Patrick’s Roman Catholic Church in Rochdale in 2016. Don is himself a papal knight.

Story from the archives: Jimmy Cricket is appointed a papal knight

Catching up with old friends in Clacton-on-Sea show 150 150 mhamer

Catching up with old friends in Clacton-on-Sea show

Jimmy Cricket teamed up again with some old pals at an Essex seaside resort this weekend.

The Northern Irish comedian performed at the West Cliff Theatre in Clacton-on-Sea, on Saturday (6 July).

Among those he was seeing again included his former Pantomime co-star, Danny Lee Grew – both were in Dick Whittington at the Gracie Fields Theatre in Rochdale during the 2017-18 pantomime season.

Famous entertainer Jimmy, 73, had known Danny’s mum through performing several times over the years at the West Cliff Theatre.

He posted on social media: “Had a great evening @wctclacton with magician @dannygrew and the Debbie Millar School of Dance while catching up with old friends, my thanks goes to stage manager Dee, Keith on lights, Dave on sound, Vicky on spotlight, Josh, alongside all the great volunteers and @normanjac ????.”


Reunion with panto co-star in Clacton-on-Sea 150 150 mhamer

Reunion with panto co-star in Clacton-on-Sea

This July, I will be reunited with legend @jimmy__cricket since we performed in pantomime together a couple of years ago @wctclacton

Jimmy Cricket will be teaming up again this summer with one of his former Pantomime co-stars.

The famous Northern Irish entertainer performed alongside Danny Lee Grew in Dick Whittington at the Gracie Fields Theatre in Rochdale during the 2017-18 pantomime season.

The panto also featured The Chase’s Mark Labbett (also known as The Beast).

Tickets for the show in July can be found here.



A pleasant surprise ahead of Christmas pantomime 150 150 mhamer

A pleasant surprise ahead of Christmas pantomime


Jimmy Cricket's December column in the Preston-based Lancashire Post

Jimmy Cricket has revealed his joyful amazement when he discovered the identity of one of his fellow pantomime performers.

The well-known Northern Irish entertainer is currently playing Professor Fitzwarren in Dick Whittington, which is running at the Gracie Fields Theatre until New Year’s Eve in Rochdale where he lives.

The panto also features The Chase’s Mark Labbett (also known as The Beast), who plays King Rat.

Jimmy, 72, says in his December column in the Preston-based Lancashire Post that over the years he has played a lot of shows at a small theatre called the West Cliff in Clacton-on-Sea in Essex.

“Every now and then, when I would come round to the front of house after the show to say goodnight, there would be a lady called Chrissie Grew with her two sons,” he recalls.

“As the years went by, Chrissie would keep in touch telling me about one of her boys – Danny – who developed a ‘magic act’.

“She would tell me about him taking his first tentative steps into the world of show business. Then her emails would get more exciting as more and more bookings would come in.

“Fast forward to a few months ago and I sign up to play panto in my adopted town of Rochdale this Christmas.

“I arrive to do the publicity launch and guess who’s playing Dick Whittington? You’re absolutely right! Danny! Yes, all those times his mum, Chrissie, took him to see stage shows planted seeds of a flower that has now blossomed.”

Dick Whittington panto details

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.

Fans give Jimmy egg as a present! 150 150 mhamer

Fans give Jimmy egg as a present!

Jimmy Cricket with the volunteers of the West Cliff Theatre’s Friends group

Jimmy Cricket got more than he bargained for when he appeared at one of his favourite venues over Easter.

Jimmy Cricket with Norman Jacobs at the West Cliff Theatre

The well-known entertainer did a show at the West Cliff Theatre – where he is also a patron – in Clacton-in-Sea on Easter Sunday.

He has appeared at the theatre many times over the years and on this occasion brought his ‘Audience with’ show, which gives his fans a chance to ask him questions during the interactive part of the performance.

The host of this question-and-answer session was none other than Norman Jacobs – chair of the trust which runs the theatre and a joint winner of Jimmy’s Golden Wellington award for April.

Norman Jacobs, Jimmy Cricket and West Cliff Theatre manager Paul GeorgeJimmy said: “I was really thrilled with the questions that were flung at  me and thanks to Norman for expertly handling this part of the show on my behalf!”

And a seasonal bonus for Jimmy was when two fans presented him with an Easter egg!

 Images with this story are:

Top – Jimmy with the volunteers of the theatre’s Friends groups.

Above right – Jimmy and Norman in action on stage.

Above – Norman, Jimmy and theatre manager Paul George.

Below – A  couple of Jimmy’s fans who came along to present him with an Easter egg.

A  couple of Jimmy Cricket’s fans came along to present him with an Easter egg