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essex

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 🎭.”

 

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

The Tractor Shed to host comedy/tribute act show 150 150 mhamer

The Tractor Shed to host comedy/tribute act show

Jimmy Cricket is one of the acts in Rock With LaughterA venue which has been a successful home to a local amateur theatre group is to stage an iconic television entertainer and one of the area’s finest tribute bands – all on the same evening!

The Tractor Shed in Latchingdon, Essex, is a small auditorium which has proudly hosted the Latchingdon Arts and Drama Society (LADS) for a number of years.

However, for one night only – on Saturday 25 June – this small rural venue will be the scene of a visit from the much-loved Irish comedian Jimmy Cricket, of 1980s television fame, and local Essex band Rich Clifford and the Young Once.

The show, headlined Rock with Laughter, has been made possible because Jimmy is in nearby East Anglia the night before and was intending to pass through the Essex region the next day.

As he has never been to the Maldon area before, it seemed the perfect fit when Julian May – who fronts up the band – contacted him and asked whether he wanted to participate in a show at The Tractor Shed.

Julian said: “The show has come together perfectly, as the idea of having an event with both music and laughter is, I think, really appealing.

“When I was looking at a local venue to host the show, I thought The Tractor Shed might work. So both the band and Jimmy’s office explored the idea further and we all think this will be a special night for the venue and for those who are able to join us for the show.”

Jimmy said: “It is great to be teaming up with Julian and the rest of the lads from Rich Clifford and the Young Once to create this presentation of popular classic tunes and popular classic jokes from yours truly!

“On a serious note, when I was told about the venue I thought it sounds really interesting. I pride myself on being a performer who visits as many locations as possible and is not deterred from trying out new performance spaces.

“So come along and Rock with Laughter Essex-style with me and a great 60s musical outfit!”

* Rock with Laughter featuring Jimmy Cricket and Rich Clifford and the Young Once is on at The Tractor Shed in Latchingdon on Saturday 25 June. Performance time is 8pm.

Tickets are on sale at the Maldon District Tourist Information Centre, Wenlock Way, High Street, Maldon. CM9 5AD. Tel: 01621 – 856503 : TIC@maldon.gov.uk

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.

Events that helped make Jimmy famous 150 150 mhamer

Events that helped make Jimmy famous

jimmy_cricket_lookinPhotos and postings published on social media websites have revealed some of the events that made Jimmy Cricket a household name.

The Northern Irish entertainer’s supporters and friends have created a kind of nostalgia corner with their entries on Facebook and Twitter.

Right is a picture of the front cover of the Look in annual dating back to 1988. Look in was a popular weekly magazine aimed at the teenage markets during the 1980s.

Jimmy features primarily because he had a popular television series on ITV at the time and the magazine decided to run a comic strip which featured Jimmy’s character getting into different scrapes!jimmy_cricket_nostalgia

A big thanks to Amy Elizabeth Phillips for posting this on her website at www.varietyemporium.co.uk where it features on its dedicated Facebook page.

Back in 1987, Jimmy headlined a show at the Grand Theatre in Blackpool which was a trailblazer at the time as it started a trend of extending theatre-based entertainment attractions into the autumnal illuminations season (poster left, is also from the Variety Emporium website).

Supporting Jimmy on the show was none other than Brian Conley,  the English comedian, television presenter, singer and actor who at the peak of his television career was believed to be the highest-paid male television personality in the UK.

Alongside both Jimmy and Brian was a double act called Trevillion & Nine – the female half of which was Sadie Nice who is now a successful broadcaster on BBC Essex.

The other member of the double act, Paul Trevillion, went on to use his artistic talents to the full, producing cartoons for a range of sporting occasions and sporting publications.

Jimmy opens theatre charity shop 150 150 mhamer

Jimmy opens theatre charity shop

Jimmy cuts the ribbons to open the new theatre charity shop

Jimmy cuts the ribbons to open the new theatre charity shop

Jimmy Cricket has had the honour of officially opening a theatre’s new charity shop.

The Irish funnyman is a patron of the West Cliff Theatre in Clacton-on-Sea, Essex, along with fellow comedian Roy Hudd.

Jimmy has a soft spot for the venue, having done a couple of summer seasons there in the last five years, and so put on a show there recently as a fundraiser.

The newspaper article about Jimmy Cricket

The newspaper article about Jimmy Cricket

The theatre has lately had its council grant withdrawn, but benefited by approximately £1,000 from Jimmy’s show.

Jimmy said: “This was not the end of the story though.

“West Cliff Theatre decided to open a second-hand charity shop as part of its fundraising drive, along the lines of the usual ones associated with British Heart Foundation, Scope et al – there are a fair few of these in Rochdale.

“So I marked my latest visit to the town with a double strike: not just the show, but I was invited to officially open the theatre’s new charity shop. I duly performed the honours during the lunch hour and then performed at the theatre in the evening!

“Hopefully, my contribution to the two events will have helped in some small way to keeping the theatre going.”

Jimmy added: “I would like to pay tribute to the outgoing theatre manager, Mike Bareham, for all his hard work over the years. His commitment and dedication to the theatre have been magnificent.

Jimmy with Jennifer who posted the newspaper article on Facebook

Jimmy with Jennifer who posted the newspaper article on Facebook

“The new theatre manager is Andy Jeffrey who I have known for quite some time.

Jimmy with fans Erika and Anna in Clacton-on-Sea

Jimmy with fans Erika and Anna in Clacton-on-Sea

“This is because Andy worked at the Weston-super-Mare Playhouse when I did their pantomime a few years ago. Andy is about to take over the reins very shortly and this is an exciting new chapter for the theatre.

“He is steeped in theatrical know-how and already has some fresh ideas and new thinking as the theatre enters a phase where it will have to be more self-reliant in the future.”

Meeting a magician 150 150 mhamer

Meeting a magician

Danny Lee Grew with Jimmy and, left, Norman Jacobs, chairman of the charity which runs West Cliff Theatre

Danny Lee Grew with Jimmy and, left, Norman Jacobs, chairman of the charity which runs West Cliff Theatre

Jimmy Cricket was treated to a magic trick by a fellow entertainer at an Essex theatre.

Danny Lee Grew, a London-based magician, performed a piece of magic involving a sponge to the delight of famous Irish comedian Jimmy and Norman Jacobs, chairman of the charity which runs the West Cliff Theatre in Clacton-on-Sea.

Danny was one of the first performers to entertain at the new Olympic Stadium in Stratford, East London. He entertained a 5,000-strong crowd with his close-up magic and also performed for many celebrities throughout the day.

He is the resident magician for Marvin’s Magic at Hamleys toy store and Harrods of Knightsbridge, and was a Bluecoat entertainer at Pontin’s Holiday Park in Prestatyn, North Wales.

Celebrities other than Jimmy who have seen Danny’s magic include musician Peter Andre, pop band Madness, Duncan Bannatyne of the BBC’s Dragons’ Den and players from West Ham United Football Club.

Visit Danny’s website here

Video of the trick can be seen on the homepage of this website.