Posts Tagged :

lancashire evening post

Tom O’Connor ‘had the gift of seeing the funny side to everything’ 150 150 mhamer

Tom O’Connor ‘had the gift of seeing the funny side to everything’

Latest LEP column is tribute to Tom O'ConnorThe great career of the late comedian Tom O’Connor is remembered in Jimmy Cricket’s latest newspaper column.

Tom died in hospital in Buckinghamshire in July aged 81.

He had had Parkinson’s for more than a decade.

Tom rose to fame on TV show Opportunity Knocks, which he won three times.

He went on to star in The Comedians and host shows including Name That Tune, Crosswits and the Tom O’Connor Show.

Like Jimmy, his humour was always completely family friendly.

He was born in Bootle, Merseyside, and went on to become a maths teacher and assistant headteacher.

He became a professional entertainer in the early 1970s, establishing himself as a household name with shows like Pick Pockets.

His career saw him appearing in the Royal Variety Show at the London Palladium and being the subject of This Is Your Life.

‘Impeccable timing’

Jimmy paid tribute to Tom at the time of his death.

And he also devoted his August column in the Lancashire Evening Post to his friend and fellow entertainer.

He began by writing: “Most people will remember Tom O’Connor for the professional and effortless way he hosted game shows and quiz shows on television.

“But those of us who were lucky enough to see any of his live performances will have cherished memories of a comedian whose razor-sharp observations and impeccable timing had audiences in fits of helpless laughter.”

To finish, Jimmy said: “The one thread which ran through Tom’s comedy was that it was clean and it was also wholesome family humour.

“I was lucky enough to do a couple of television shows with him when he had his own series.

“It was at that time that I vividly remember his parting remark after one of them…

“He said: ‘Take care Jimmy, and remember we’re the guys in the white hats!’

“He will be sadly missed by us all.”

Jimmy posted on Twitter: “Here is my latest @leponline column where I pay my tribute to a wonderful Comic/Game/Quiz/ShowHost.”

He added that Tom’s “live stand-up performances thrilled audiences all over the U.K. for many decades! #livestandup”.

So sad to hear of the passing of my fellow comedian Tom O’Connor. Tom’s razor sharp observations and impeccable timing made him one of the all time greats! Our thoughts and prayers go out to Pat his lovely wife, (pictured here with Tom), and all his family! ♥️xx

Tom O’Connor: One of the all-time greats

Hollywood stars and different accents – latest LEP column 150 150 mhamer

Hollywood stars and different accents – latest LEP column

Hollywood stars lived just down the road

Where some Hollywood stars were born and how accents differ around the country are the themes of Jimmy Cricket’s latest newspaper column.

The famous funnyman throws up some legendary acting names such as Sir Rex Harrison and Jaws star Robert Shaw in his Lancashire Evening Post July column.

Jimmy begins: “Do you know what readers when I found out we had more opticians in the UK than anywhere else in Europe, it was a real eye-opener.

“But that was nothing to do with the surprises that I got while watching a series on television.

“It was called something like Discovering So and So.

“And the So and So’s in this case were famous Hollywood stars.

“Each programme focused on a star and the gob-smacking moment usually came at the start!

“For instance, take Robert Shaw who starred in the Steven Spielberg blockbuster movie Jaws.

“He was actually born in Westhoughton in Lancashire. That’s just down the road from me here in Rochdale.

“I could have called in and had a cup of tea with him before he headed off to Hollywood.

“But you will never guess the next one – Sir Rex Harrison. Where was he born?

“Are you ready for this? Huyton! Near Liverpool. Yes, the man who played Professor Higgins and who taught Eliza the flower girl to talk proper English in the musical My Fair Lady was actually a Scouser!”

Read one of Jimmy’s previous columns in the LEP

See a collection of Jimmy’s columns over the past six years

 

Borrowing Frank Manning’s suit landed me in trouble! 150 150 mhamer

Borrowing Frank Manning’s suit landed me in trouble!

The night I borrowed Frank Mannings' suit

Sifting through some old photographs reminded Jimmy Cricket about the time he borrowed a suit off fellow comedian Frank Manning.

Northern Irish entertainer Jimmy tells the funny tale in his latest newspaper column.

Writing in the Lancashire Post, he says: “Going through old photos during lockdown can conjure up some showbiz memories.

“It was the early eighties and I  was going through the airport in Jersey with Mrs Cricket and my three small children.

“I noticed comedian Bernard Manning in the distance. Now, knowing Bernard’s penchant for making sharp retorts to fellow entertainers and knowing also that we had to pass him, I girded my loins.

“Bernard didn’t let me down; as we approached him, he let rip in his inimitable way as  his bull-throated vocals went into full throttle.

“‘What’s this, the von Trapp family? Don’t you ever go to sleep at night… haven’t you heard of Horlicks?’

“Phew! Was I glad to make it to the other side?! To be honest, folks, I was relieved. At least he didn’t swear.

“However, this column isn’t about Bernard, but about his brother Frank. We have to go back a further 10 years for this story.

“It’s the early seventies and I was a struggling comedian trying to make my way in the Northern Clubland.

“A friend told me about this great second-hand shop in Manchester he’d discovered that sold clothes that had been discarded by famous Entertainers.

I looked the ‘bees knees’

“He told me excitedly that there was a suit in the window that had been worn by the famous singing star of the fifties, Frankie Vaughan.

“I rushed down, bought it and for my next stage appearance I looked the ‘bees knees’ (this was way before the hat and wellies).

“When I was offered a week’s cabaret in a club in Newquay, Cornwall, I jumped in the car and headed off.

“Halfway through the journey, I realised I’d forgotten my new stage suit.

“When I arrived at the club, Frank Manning was there to greet me.

“He told me he was Bernard’s brother and he was not only the club compere but he was the club owner as well.

“I thought I better come clean. ‘Frank,’ I said, “I don’t know how to tell you this, but I’ve forgotten to bring my stage suit!’

“He rolled his eyes and mumbled: ‘Oh no, what have they sent me?’

Vest full of holes

“Then he eye-balled me up and down and said: ‘Alright, you can borrow one of mine.’ What a gesture! And what a relief!

“So that night I went on stage wearing the club owner’s suit!

“Now, I have to tell you this folks, so come closer.

“I was in my late 20s and I did a very visual and zany act back then.

“It entailed doing a cod strip where I threw off my jacket, shirt and bow tie to reveal a vest full of holes.

“Then I would take down my pants and underneath was a pair of long straggly brown shorts. I then took out a safari hat from my  case and did a jungle routine.

“I thought it went well, but my euphoria was short-lived for when I came off stage, Frank was waiting for me with a face like thunder.

“This time his eyes weren’t rolling; they were fixed on me with an icy stare.

Lasting legacy

“‘Do you know how much I paid for that suit?’ he shouted. ‘How dare you trail it across the stage!’

“He was still ranting as he turned and headed through the kitchen. I chased after him trying to explain: ‘Frank, it’s part of the act… I didn’t realise … look, I’ll get it cleaned for you.’

“It was to no avail – Frank was inconsolable.

“Well, you know what they say, a new day, a new dawn.

“I had Frank’s suit cleaned and Mrs Cricket sent my Frankie Vaughan suit by rail via Red Star.

“Frank and I made it up and for the rest of the week we got on like a house on fire.

“Although Frank is no longer with us, he’s left us a lasting legacy in Cornwall.

“If you drive into the centre of Truro you’ll see a big shiny building with the words, ‘Manning’s Hotel’ in big bold letters.

“Keep safe readers and don’t forget to join me for my next column.”

Also read: Jimmy recalls January jab in latest LEP column

Performing on cruise ships is not all plain sailing 150 150 mhamer

Performing on cruise ships is not all plain sailing

Hi folks! Here is my July @leponline sadly I have to report that this wonderful Passenger Shipping Company is no longer trading, and is now a casualty, and another repercussion of Covid 19. #StaySafe

Jimmy Cricket talks about performing on cruise ships in his latest newspaper column – and how it’s not always as idyllic as it sounds!

In the 27 July edition of the Lancashire Post, Jimmy recalls one particular time when things did not go to plan.

He posted a copy of his column (above) on social media and a full transcript of it is below.

As a postscript to his message, Jimmy said: “Hi folks! Here is my July @leponline 

“Sadly I have to report that this wonderful Passenger Shipping Company is no longer trading, and is now a casualty, and another repercussion of Covid 19. #StaySafe”

Scrumptious grub

You know I met my good lady on a cruise ship.

We stood on the deck looking out on the moonlight glimmering on the waves and she said, “You know you remind me of the sea”.

I said, “You mean I’m rough and rugged?”

She said, “No, you make me sick!”

I wish I had a disinfectant cleaned ten pound note for every person that’s said to me how much they envy me sailing round the world seeing all the sights and tucking into scrumptious grub and getting paid for the privilege.

Now I don’t want to seem ungrateful for all this.

And I’d be telling a lie if I said I didn’t pinch myself whenever looked out of the cabin window, as the ship sailed into breathtakingly beautiful places like Venice.

Having said all that, being a passenger and an entertainer on board are two very different things, especially if you are a comedian.

If you tickle their funny bone on the night it’s your turn to perform, you can strut around the decks the next morning with your chest out drinking in the compliments.

However, if your humour doesn’t appeal to them and you struggle during your spot, you feel like you want to hide in your cabin and get your meals pushed under the door.

Here’s the thing folks it may not be your fault because cruise ships, like life itself, can throw you a curve.

I’m going to give you an example and l warn you, if you’re of a nervous disposition then look away now.

A few years back, I was booked to do a stint on a cruise ship with one of the big cruise companies.

Collective groans

I flew to Honolulu via LA and joined the ship.

The next night after I arrived on board the Captain himself came on the intercom in the cabin to say he was very sorry but the ship had developed engine trouble and that when we docked in Auckland, New Zealand, it would have to stay there for a few days and we wouldn’t now be visiting Bora Bora, Wellington.

As he reeled off the names of these exotic places I could almost hear the collective groans of the passengers.

Remember this was a round-the-world cruise and most of them had paid a small fortune to be on there.

Some had even made arrangements to meet friends and family at these ports.

An air of despondency settled over the ship and the next morning a group of angry passengers attended a hastily arranged meeting to see what legal action could be taken against the shipping company.

The next night I was due to do my spot and I toyed with the idea of jumping over board and heading for the nearest shore.

It was either that or play to a roomful of disgruntled passengers and from where I stood on the deck the sharks seemed a much more pleasant option.

I finally succumbed to my senses and did my show. I won’t say I did badly but after my show they held a minute’s silence.

You’ll be happy to know, dear readers, that I’ve shook off the emotional scars from that incident and in Easter 2021 (lockdown permitting), I’ll be doing cabaret on a Maritime Cruises ship, The Columbus, and we’ll be stopping off at ports around Great Britain and the Channel Islands.

Stay safe and healthy.

 

Looking on the lighter side of the lockdown 150 150 mhamer

Looking on the lighter side of the lockdown

Jimmy Cricket talks about life under the lockdown in his latest newspaper column.

Jimmy Cricket talks about life under the lockdown in his latest newspaper column.

The UK government announced on 23 March it was imposing strict new curbs on life in the country following the global outbreak of coronavirus.

It has included restrictions on leaving the house and also meant people observing social distancing when they are in public.

Jimmy, 74, tells readers of the Lancashire Post in his own inimitable way to “come closer but stay two metres away”.
The famous Northern Irish comedian says: “I’m having nothing to do with this coronavirus. I’m washing my hands of the whole thing.”
During the lockdown, Jimmy has been producing daily videos containing jokes and posting them on his social media channels.
‘Lift people’s spirits’
He has branded them part of a We’re doing this together series.
The veteran entertainer says in his column: “I think it’s important for someone like me to lift people’s spirits during these trying times.

“So after lunch I’ll put on my hat and wellies on and record some jokes and birthday wishes to send out on social media.

“I’m so blessed that my good lady May is such a whizz kid on modern technology, so she acts as director and producer on these little movies.”

He says he puts aside some time each evening to phone his friends.

“They’re all going to be in, that’s for sure.”

Jimmy adds: “We also look forward to our family get-together through Zoom and Skype.

“We get to see to see the latest drawings and stories from our grandkids, and extended family.”

 

Jimmy Cricket’s LEP column: My celebrity blunders 150 150 mhamer

Jimmy Cricket’s LEP column: My celebrity blunders

Well folks! Have you ever accidently put your foot in it! ???? ???? Here's a fun loving look at a couple of little blunders I had along the way in the world of showbusiness!
Jimmy Cricket reveals in his latest LEP column some blunders he has made in relation to fellow celebrities.
Well folks! Have you ever accidently put your foot in it! ???? ???? Here's a fun loving look at a couple of little blunders I had along the way in the world of showbusiness!
In the 19 August edition of the Lancashire Post newspaper, the Northern Irish entertainer recalls when he failed to recognise two well-known actors.
Jimmy highlighted his article on social media by tweeting: “Well folks! Have you ever accidentally put your foot in it!????????Here’s a fun-loving look at a couple of little blunders I had along the way in the world of showbusiness!????
He says he had once been talking to the late great Andrew Sachs, who played Manuel in the classic comedy Fawlty Towers.
It was only when somebody shouted in their direction “look, it’s Manuel!” that Jimmy realised.
And he admits: “I’m ashamed to say it didn’t dawn on me.
Ground-swallowing moment
“Of course, I apologised profusely. He, to his eternal credit, let me off the hook by replying ‘why should you recognise me dear fellow when I’m not in my working clothes’.”
Jimmy continues: “My next ground-swallowing moment involved a star from Coronation Street.
“A gentleman called Gerry Kelly hosted an Irish TV chat show and he flew over to Granada Studios in Manchester to record an episode.
“I found myself sitting beside none other than Jim McDonald.
“If you remember, Jim was married to Liz on the street. And, as we were both from Northern Ireland, we had a rare old time chin-wagging.
“Now, for some reason, I’d got it into my head that his first real name was Jim as well as his Corrie Street character. Wrong!
“After a few minutes, he leaned over and said ‘it’s just a character, my real name’s Charlie’.
Jimmy says he himself sometimes got mistaken for another famous Irish comedian – the late Frank Carson – on numerous occasions.
 
My football song intended to inspire Rochdale FC 150 150 mhamer

My football song intended to inspire Rochdale FC

Jimmy Cricket writes about football chants in his latest column in the Lancashire Post

Jimmy Cricket writes about football chants in his latest newspaper column.

The June article in the Lancashire Post begins: “The other morning I was eating my breakfast and it was going, snap crackle and pop, which surprised me. It was a kipper.

Then for some reason football songs came into my head. You know the ones fans sing to cheer on their favourite team. I don’t mean the things they chant like, ‘What a load of rubbish’, or, “There’s only one ‘insert coach or manager’s name here.’

No I mean the songs they adopt from other sources. Take the jazz classic, When the Saints Go Marching In, Manchester United fans have changed it to, When The Reds Go Marching In. West Ham fans have hijacked an old Music Hall song called, I’m Forever Blowing Bubbles, and wait till you hear this:

My son, who is a catholic Priest, (he calls me dad and I call him father), was given a a treat a few weeks ago when one of the parishioners in Salford invited him to Liverpool’s ground Anfield, to watch them take on Leicester City.

He said when the home crowd broke into, You’ll Never Walk Alone, the emotion was palpable. When my other son Dale, took his family to Portugal recently they went to see Sporting Lisbon play and the home fans were singing My Way.

All this is leading up to a secret I want to share with you: Many moons ago when I first arrived in my adopted town Rochdale, the local football were languishing at the bottom of their division and I, like a lot of club comics at the time did jokes chronicling their ineptitude.

Things like, I rang Rochdale Football Club and asked them what time was the kick off this coming Saturday. The voice at the other end said, ‘What time can you make it?’, and there’s more. The steward saw two guys climbing the wall at Rochdale Football Club. He shouted, ‘Hey, you two get back in and watch the match!’