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Losing the Grand Theatre in Blackpool would be a ‘tragedy’ 150 150 mhamer

Losing the Grand Theatre in Blackpool would be a ‘tragedy’

Jimmy Cricket says the closure of the iconic Grand Theatre in Blackpool would be a "tragedy" for future generationsJimmy Cricket says the closure of the iconic Grand Theatre in Blackpool would be a “tragedy” for future generations.

The theatre, which was almost demolished in 1972, could be closed because of the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

Management warned it would shut unless the government intervened.

Most of the 57 staff were furloughed during the lockdown.

They could be left redundant when the job-saving scheme ends on 31 October.

A charitable trust has run the theatre since 1972, when local campaigners saved it from the bulldozers.

Among them were entertainers such as Sir Ken Dodd and BBC broadcaster Alistair Cooke.

It reopened in March 1981 with a performance of The Merchant of Venice starring Timothy West and Prunella Scales.

Like other provincial theatres which depend largely on box office receipts to keep going, the venue has had no income since the lockdown began.

All tickets were refunded for cancelled shows and plays.

We must all get together

The theatre, which first opened in 1894, had applied for a £500,000 government grant to keep it going until it might be able to put shows on in January.

However, if social distancing measures were still in place then, it would not make the shows viable and also the money would have run out.

Jimmy said: “We must all get together to save the Grand in Blackpool folks.

“To deprive future generations of this wonderful theatre would be a tragedy.”

His post on Twitter attracted hundreds of likes and retweets as well as some comments.

Also read: Grand Theatre in Blackpool hosts charity concert

External link: Blackpool’s Grand Theatre facing closure amid coronavirus pandemic

The late, great Paul Melba was one of the finest 150 150 mhamer

The late, great Paul Melba was one of the finest

Sad to hear of the passing of one of showbiz finest comedians and impressionist the great Paul Melba, known for his classy mimicking of the great stars from the Golden Age of Hollywood, alongside his acclaimed James Mason voice, amongst others! R.I.P.

Jimmy Cricket described Paul Melba, who has died aged 84, as one of the finest comedians and impressionists in showbusiness.

Paul Melba, whose real name was Francis ‘Frank’ Staunton, passed away on 11 August from heart failure.

The dad-of-three grew up in Huyton on Merseyside and went on to enjoy a  successful career on stage and television.

It included him performing at the Royal Variety Performance and he became friends with some famous celebrities.

He was known for voice impressions of stars such as James Mason, John Wayne, Eric Morecambe, Ken Dodd and Billy Connolly.

Paul also did memorable singing impressions of the likes of Frank Sinatra and Sammy Davis Jnr among many others.

Northern Irish entertainer Jimmy said on social media: “Sad to hear of the passing of one of showbiz’s finest comedians and impressionists the great Paul Melba.

‘Great entertainer and gentlemen

“Known for his classy mimicking of the great stars from the Golden Age of Hollywood, alongside his acclaimed James Mason voice, amongst others! R.I.P.”

Jimmy’s post prompted tributes from others.

They included:

:: Met him once lovely talented man Jimmy will be greatly missed!

:: A great entertainer and gentlemen, RIP

:: Thank you, he will be sorely missed #PaulMelba x
Jimmy found out there was a fund-raising appeal in the wake of Paul’s death.
He said: “We’re living in difficult times folks, but if you can help financially, by donating a little for this worthy cause! Paul’s Melba’s Funeral Expenses.”

Paul’s daughter, Kate Richards, 50, organised the fundraiser, saying: “I am so sad to say that my Father passed away peacefully at his home in Spain on the 10th of August.

“Unfortunately his financial circumstances were not great and he left no will.

‘Dad would have been so overwhelmed’

“I am sorry to say that we are struggling to find the money to cremate my Father and need to raise the funds to do this due to our own personal financial circumstances.

“Anything you can donate would help towards easing the financial responsibility which has been placed solely with me.

“Many thanks for anything you can spare.

The target was £3,000 and Kate posted again several days later.

She said: “Thank you so much for all of your help, Dad would have been so overwhelmed.

“We have reached the goal with further donations from The Royal Variety Charity & The Water Rats charity.”

Also read: Lord Alton’s ‘wonderful tribute’ to John Hume

Blackpool Big Night Out: Relive it on BBC’s iPlayer 150 150 mhamer

Blackpool Big Night Out: Relive it on BBC’s iPlayer

Blackpool Big Night Out in on BBC's iPlayer

Jimmy Cricket and a host of other top entertainers have featured in a special programme about Blackpool – and you can catch it on iPlayer.

The 74-year-old Northern Irish comedian has performed at the popular Lancashire seaside resort many times over the years.

In the BBC documentary, he talks fondly about his feelings for the coastal town.

Blackpool is described as the beating heart of British entertainment.

The Lancashire coastal town launched the careers of Morecambe and Wise, attracted stars as big as Frank Sinatra and is still the spiritual home of the likes of the late Sir Ken Dodd, Cannon and Ball and many more.

Jimmy Cricket is among those interviewed on Blackpool Big Night Out

Jimmy tweeted: “Hi folks, here is a link to the BBC’s nostalgic look at this great seaside resort.”

He says on the programme about Blackpool: “I remember arriving and seeing the trams.

“There were people advertised on the trams, like Cilla Black and Val Doonican.

“And you think, you’ve arrived when you’ve got your name on a tram – this is incredible.

Blackpool Big Night Out on BBC's iPlayer“I remember once doing the south pier and actually saw my name on a tram.

“I thought ‘I must get on here!'”

The programme went out on BBC Two on Monday 27 April 2020 at 9.45pm.

You have just 11 days left (until 27 May) to watch on the BBC iPlayer.

Watch it here

Jimmy features about three quarters of the way through the hour-long programme.

Also read: From the archives – Norman Wisdom and Ernie Wise

Jimmy Cricket is seen performing on Blackpool Big Night Out

Interviewed by cousin on Black Country Radio about Christmas CD! 150 150 mhamer

Interviewed by cousin on Black Country Radio about Christmas CD!

Jimmy CricketJimmy Cricket was interviewed on the radio by a relative recently!

The Northern Irish comedian chatted to his cousin Pat Breslin, who as well as being a professional entertainer himself, is a presenter on Black Country Radio, which broadcasts across part of the West Midlands.

Jimmy was asked about his Christmas CD,  Santa bring my wellies back to me, which first went on sale two years ago and has now sold around 1600 copies.

Jimmy posted on social media: “Was interviewed by my cousin Pat Breslin! Listen to our chat here, as we also promote my Christmas CD, with all the proceeds going to ⁦

The interview with Jimmy begins at 2:05:20; towards the top of the page on the link above, press the play button (arrow pointing right) and then drag the white circle along the black band to this time.

Famous funnyman Jimmy said that when another 400 copies of the CD have been sold, it will have raised £10,000 for the hospice.

The name of the CD relates to the theft several years ago of concrete wellington boots (below right)  given to Rochdale-based Jimmy by friend and fellow comedian, the late Sir Ken Dodd. They were never recovered.

All proceeds go to Francis House Children’s Hospice which is based in south Manchester and is a favourite charity of Jimmy’s.

The wellies were given by Ken Dodd to Jimmy Cricket

  • In a special offer only for Christmas 2018,  Jimmy is offering his Christmas CD and his DVD Pull Your Seats Forward, which is based on a live performance, both for the same price (£12 including P&P) and Jimmy  will send half the money to charity.

For more details about this special offer, go here.

 

Eddie Braben exhibition is ‘a tribute to a genius’ 150 150 mhamer

Eddie Braben exhibition is ‘a tribute to a genius’

Been to this wonderful exhibition in honour of one of Liverpool’s son’s, the genius writer Eddie Braben, with his family, widow Dee and daughters Jane and Claire, with fellow acts, the great comedy actor Ricky Tomlinson and comic Tony Barton, alongside the Mayoress and other friends to celebrate his work and life, (today is also his Birthday), it runs for two weeks at this fabulous venue #TheFlorrie ?

Jimmy Cricket and fellow well-known entertainers have visited an exhibition which remembers the great work of legendary comedy writer Eddie Braben.

Eddie, who died aged 82 in 2013, was an English writer and performer best known for providing material for Morecambe and Wise. He also worked for David FrostRonnie Corbett and Sir Ken Dodd.

Looking forward to my visit to this wonderful Exhibition as a tribute to the genius writing of @eddie_braben at the Florrie in Liverpool

He was credited with changing the profile of Morecambe and Wise, helping to turn them into one of the most popular and enduring comedy acts in the history of British entertainment.

Jimmy himself started working with Eddie on his TV show, And There’s More, in the 1980s and 90s, and then his radio show, Jimmy’s Cricket Show.

The exhibition on Eddie’s work at The Florrie, a stunning Grade II Victorian community heritage venue located in south Liverpool, opened on Wednesday 31 October for a fortnight.

Jimmy posted on social media: “Been to this wonderful exhibition in honour of one of Liverpool’s sons, the genius writer Eddie Braben, with his family, widow Dee and daughters Jane and Claire, with fellow acts, the great comedy actor Ricky Tomlinson and comic Tony Barton, alongside the Mayoress and other friends to celebrate his work and life.”

The Northern Irish entertainer  described the exhibition as “a tribute to the genius writing of “.

Looking forward to my visit to this wonderful Exhibition as a tribute to the genius writing of @eddie_braben at the Florrie in Liverpool

Miracles R Us – Fr Frankie’s latest book 150 150 mhamer

Miracles R Us – Fr Frankie’s latest book

Fr Frankie Mulgrew, the younger son of famous entertainer Jimmy Cricket, has been discussing his latest book in The Universe, the Catholic national newspaper.

The Roman Catholic priest, who is based in Blackburn, East Lancashire, compiled and edited Miracles R Us: Supernatural Miracles In The Catholic Church.

A summary of the book, published by St Pauls Publishing, says: “Do miracles really happen? Are there miracles in the 21st century just as there were during the life of Jesus?

“In Miracles R Us we discover how God works supernatural miracles in our day and age. Filled with real-life stories of spiritual and physical miracles from well-known priests, Religious and Catholic speakers we discover that life-changing miracles of the soul and physical healings beyond current medical explanation happen, all through the seven Sacraments of the Catholic Church: baptism, confession, Eucharist, confirmation, marriage, holy orders and anointing of the sick.

“This book proves that God’s love and power to transform hearts and lives is as real today as it was in the time of Jesus.”

It includes a contribution from Cardinal Vincent Nichols and all authorship profits will go to support Mary’s Meals, who provide vital meals to some of the world’s poorest children.Frankie Mulgrew, younger son of comedian Jimmy Cricket, kneels in front of the Bishop of Salford at his ordination service

Fr Frankie (right), who was a comedian like his dad before being ordained five years ago, is quoted in the 9 March edition of The Universe saying: “This book is to help encourage, affirm and edify our own faith but also to be passed into the hands of those who may have stopped going to Church, give them reason to believe and reason to know that God loves them, has never given up on them and wants to fill their life with his divine love, mercy and blessings.”

The 16 March edition of The Universe also features Fr Frankie talking about Miracles R Us.

The comic-turned-priest, whose stage name was Frankie Doodle, has previously had a book published about God and humour called Does God LOL? (LOL is internet slang for Laugh Out Loud).

He compiled and edited the book, which includes contributions from famous entertainers Ricky Tomlinson, Tim Vine, Jo Brand, Milton Jones and the late Sir Ken Dodd and Frank Carson.

All proceeds from sales of that book have also gone towards Mary’s Meals.

Buy MIRACLES R US here

Listen to Fr Frankie talking about his latest book here

Sir Ken Dodd: Jimmy Cricket pays tribute at funeral in Liverpool 150 150 mhamer

Sir Ken Dodd: Jimmy Cricket pays tribute at funeral in Liverpool

Jimmy Cricket was among those to pay a special tribute to the late Sir Ken Dodd at the legendary comedian’s funeral.

The Northern Irish entertainer joined other stars like actors Ricky Tomlinson, Stephanie Cole and Miriam Margolyes, and fellow comics Jimmy Tarbuck and Stan Boardman at the service at Liverpool Anglican Cathedral on Wednesday.

Sir Ken died at the age of 90 earlier this month.

Jimmy said he was “one of the most original, innovative and gifted comedians we’ll ever see”.

“Comedians like Ken only come once in a lifetime – we thank God today that he came in ours,” he told a packed congregation.

“He had time for everybody. He said we were all walking miracles, every one of us and we all had stories to tell.”

Fellow comedian Jimmy Cricket has been paying tribute to Sir Ken Dodd at his funeral.

BBC News

Members of the public lined the route taken by Sir Ken’s funeral cortege from his Knotty Ash home to the cathedral in his home city. Some of them sang his 1964 song Happiness as the horse-drawn hearse passed.

Tickling sticks were also placed around Liverpool in tribute to the famous entertainer who was loved by millions and whose shows would nearly always overrun, sometimes by hours.

The BBC called Sir Ken Dodd a comedy legend

The BBC called Sir Ken Dodd a comedy legend when it reported his death