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LEP column

‘The sad but brave story behind the death of WS Gilbert, partner of Sullivan’ 150 150 mhamer

‘The sad but brave story behind the death of WS Gilbert, partner of Sullivan’

This month's @leponline column tells the sad but brave story behind the death of WS Gilbert, partner of Sullivan who together wrote, "The Pirates of Penzance", amongst many more!

Jimmy Cricket talks about one of the greatest theatrical partnerships in history in his latest monthly column in the Lancashire Post.

The famous Northern Irish comedian has been writing regularly for the Preston-based daily newspaper for the past few years.

He posted on social media: “This month’s @leponline column tells the sad but brave story behind the death of WS Gilbert, partner of Sullivan who together wrote, “The Pirates of Penzance”, amongst many more!”

Gilbert and Sullivan were the Victorian-era partnership of the playwright Sir WS Gilbert and the composer Sir Arthur Sullivan.

The two men collaborated on 14 comic operas between 1871 and 1896, of which HMS PinaforeThe Pirates of Penzance and The Mikado are among the best known.

Paying tribute to Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy 150 150 mhamer

Paying tribute to Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy

 pay tribute to a fellow Irishman, and to the Silver Screen's Stan and Ollie, with a great performance from @Steve Coogan and John C. Reilly

Jimmy Cricket writes about his admiration for a legendary comedy duo in his latest newspaper column.

In the 1 April edition of the Lancashire Post, the popular Northern Irish entertainer reviews a recent film about the careers of Englishman Stan Laurel and American Oliver Hardy.

They acted during the early Classical Hollywood era of American cinema and became well known during the late 1920s to the mid-1940s for their slapstick comedy. Laurel played the clumsy friend of the pompous Hardy.

Jimmy’s column begins: I’ve just come back from doing my one man show at the Slapstick Comedy Festival in Bristol at the Studio adjoining the Old Vic Theatre. The festival was started by a guy called Chris Daniels who just loves visual and silent comedy.

“I did my live set sandwiched between movies of Charlie Chaplin and Laurel and Hardy up on the big wide screen. There’s been a resurgence of interest in Laurel and Hardy, mainly due to a biopic of the duo which went on general release in our cinemas recently called Stan and Ollie.

“In fact, I’ve been to see it twice. Well folks, our local Odeon Cinema here in Rochdale only charges a fiver to get in. It’s a moving, tender tribute to one of the funniest double acts ever to grace the silver screen; not only do Steve Coogan as Stan Laurel, and John C Reilly as Oliver Hardy get into the skin of these two lovable clowns, but the ladies that played their wives both give stunning performance as well.

“Nina Arianda plays Stan’s other half and Shirley Henderson is Ollie’s. I had a little inside information on this film. Steve Coogan’s Uncle Bernard takes his grandkids to the same school in Rochdale that I take mine, so I get some tasty nuggets of gossip in the playground.

“I looked at him enviously as he told me about getting the red carpet treatment when he got invited to the premiere of the movie up at the local cinema in Ulverston where Stan Laurel grew up. The only time I get to see a red carpet is when Mrs Cricket hands me the Hoover.”

Read Jimmy’s full column here

 

A look back to when Mrs Cricket was also surprised on TV’s This Is Your Life! 150 150 mhamer

A look back to when Mrs Cricket was also surprised on TV’s This Is Your Life!

Jimmy Cricket's May column in the Lancashire Evening Post

Jimmy Cricket has been recalling the day he was presented with the famous ‘big red book’ on This Is Your Life – and how his wife May also got a massive surprise!

In his latest column for the Lancashire Evening Post, Jimmy explained how in the late 1980s he had been asked by his publishers to go to London for the launch of his Letters From My Mammy book.

Jimmy was informed the event was going to take place on a building site the following day, when in reality he was going to be met by This Is Your Life presenter Eamonn Andrews.

In the popular and long-running show, the host would spring unexpectedly on a special guest, before going to a studio to take them through their life with the assistance of the ‘big red book’ and the help of friends and family.

The surprise element was a very important part of the show; if the guest heard about the plans beforehand, it would immediately be abandoned.

After arriving in London, Jimmy bumped into his sister-in-law Evelyn much to his amazement (and hers!), as she had moved to Australia several years earlier.

Evelyn had been asked to come back to appear on the show and clearly hadn’t expected to meet Jimmy in the street, but she managed to come up with a story that she had returned to Britain as a special surprise for her sister May, Jimmy’s wife.

Hence, as things turned out, Jimmy was able to turn the tables on May during the show by telling her that Evelyn was in fact there (May had been told her sister could not make it).

The show was broadcast on Wednesday 4 November, the eve of Eamonn Andrews’ death.

This Is Your Life was originally broadcast live, and alternated between on the BBC and  on ITV over the years.

Watch Jimmy’s show below:

Omagh pub, John Wayne & Dublin’s Abbey Theatre 150 150 mhamer

Omagh pub, John Wayne & Dublin’s Abbey Theatre

Jimmy Cricket has been recalling when he and his wife May came across a distinctive Northern Irish pub which is themed on a legendary film.

The famous entertainer made the recollection in a recent monthly column in the Preston-based Lancashire Evening Post.

He and Mrs Cricket noticed the pub, which has a thatched roof, while he was working at the nearby Strule Arts Centre theatre in Omagh.

The Sean Ogs pub is themed like the one in John Ford’s 1952 classic film The Quiet Man starring legendary actor John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara, who was an Irish-born American actress and singer.

A black and white photograph on the wall of the pub shows the cast of the 1952 movie, as Jimmy, 71, discovered it was the setting for much of the action. The film, a comedy drama, won an Oscar for the best cinematography that year.

All the support actors were from the famous Abbey Theatre in Dublin.  It is also known as the National Theatre of Ireland and first opened its doors to the public on 27 December 1904.

Julius Caesar, UK prime ministers and Omnibus 150 150 mhamer

Julius Caesar, UK prime ministers and Omnibus

Jimmy Cricket's column in the Lancashire Evening Post

Jimmy Cricket talked about Julius Caesar, British prime ministers and an award-winning play written by one of his daughters in a recent newspaper column.

Writing in the Preston-based Lancashire Evening Post (LEP), the famous entertainer, 71, mentions Omnibus, which was staged for the first time in Liverpool in June.

Omnibus, written by comedian Katie Mulgrew, was the winner two years ago of the first ever Liverpool Hope University play-writing prize. It is about a group of friends following a soap opera.

And she was given the opportunity to see her debut play on stage when it was performed at the Unity Theatre Liverpool in association with the Royal Court (which was closed for development work) to rave reviews!

Tune in to ‘Gilly’s Comedy Gala for Comic Relief’ 150 150 mhamer

Tune in to ‘Gilly’s Comedy Gala for Comic Relief’

Jimmy Cricket's Lancashire Post columnAn optician who is about to realise her dream of performing stand-up comedy at the Blackpool Opera House is the subject of Jimmy Cricket’s latest newspaper column.

Famous entertainer Jimmy talks in the Lancashire Evening Post about Sarah Morgan – an optometrist by profession – whom he first met last October on a BBC Radio Lancashire show hosted by John Gillmore.

“When Sarah asked my advice around getting on in the entertainment business, I asked her what would be her dream gig,” explains Jimmy, 71.

“She replied: ‘Jimmy, to play the Blackpool Opera House.’

“Then today something wonderful happened. I received an email from Gilly’s [John Gillmore] producer Gary, which broadly read: ‘Great news, Jimmy. Sarah is to appear at – wait for it – the Blackpool Opera House.’

“‘We’ve organised a show there on Friday 24 March. It’s called ‘Gilly’s Comedy Gala for Comic Relief’ and Sarah is headlining it. It’ll be broadcast on BBC Radio Lancashire from 2.15pm till 4pm. We’d love you to come and introduce her!'”

“Try to stop me,” says Jimmy.

“You know, folks, it’s special to realise your dream, but to help somebody else to realise theirs is just as special.

“Try to tune in if you can.”

LEP readers, come closer to hear about the wellies! 150 150 mhamer

LEP readers, come closer to hear about the wellies!

wellJimmy Cricket's column in the Lancashire Evening Post
Jimmy Cricket has told readers of his newspaper column how he came to end up with his trademark wellingtons – and why they were recently the subject of a photo shoot.

The Northern Irish entertainer is famous for wearing the green wellies – marked with the letters R and L – on the wrong feet during his acts.

Jimmy, 70, said in the Lancashire Evening Post (LEP) that he first donned them in a Manchester club in an effort to “get a laugh on my entrance by being visually funny… to help me win over some of the more hostile audiences”.

He added that an old pair of his boots were currently on display at a footwear exhibition in Nottingham.

Jimmy also told of the time a pair of concrete wellingtons presented to him by fellow funnyman Ken Dodd were stolen from his garden in Rochdale (they still haven’t been found).

And he also related the story of how recently they were the focus of a photo shoot by Andy Hollingworth,  a photographer who specialises in comedy.

Andy wanted to capture an image of Jimmy’s wellies for an exciting project, which involves him photographing iconic artefacts linked to famous comedians – either from mainstream or alternative comedy.

He has already photographed Eric Morecambe’s glasses, Norman Wisdom’s cap, Mr Bean’s teddy, Alan Carr’s glasses and he even flew over to Los Angeles to meet Harpo Marx’s family, who gave him permission to photograph his famous harp.