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Jimmy recalls January jab in latest LEP column 150 150 mhamer

Jimmy recalls January jab in latest LEP column

Hi folks! This is the latest @leponline column about the January morning when I got my first jab @RDaleRiverside by the very jovial @JivaDr (Dr Mo MBE), my thanks to @RochdaleCouncil for organising the vaccine programme so well. #COVID19Vaccines

Jimmy Cricket has been talking about his first vaccination jab against Covid-19 in his latest newspaper column.

The article is in the 12 April edition of the Lancashire Post.

In the column, Jimmy recalls visiting Riverside One in Rochdale, where he lives.

He says: “How things have changed during these lockdowns.

“It used to be that if some­body crossed the road when they saw you coming it was either that they didn’t want to speak to you or they owed you money.

“Now when they do it you shout thanks to them for helping to stop the spread of the virus.

“It’s the same when you meet an old friend in the street.

“Instead of shaking hands, you now do a quick touch of the elbows then step back, have a few quick words and then you’re on your way.

Full vaccinated

“However, as I write this, we’ve all had a very emotional reflection day to mark the fact that the first lockdown happened one year ago, and with the news that they’re not far off vaccinating 1m people a day there’s light at the end of the tunnel.

“I myself being a whipper snapper of 75 years of age when I got my first jab here where I live in Rochdale at the Riverside Library.

“Although it was a cold shivery January morning when we all queued up out­side, inside our hearts were leaping for joy at the thought of getting the inoculation that would ultimately pro­vide us with the passport to get back to normality.

“I went public with it and my friend Billy Sherrin, the Rochdale Mayor, arranged to have the Rochdale Council official photographer to take a piccie of me getting my jab.”

Famous funnyman Jimmy has now had both doses of the coronavirus vaccination.

The popular Northern Irish entertainer updated his Facebook profile last month with the graphic below, saying ‘fully vaccinated’.

He has encouraged everybody else to have the vaccination the same when their time comes.

Very small numbers of people have been admitted to hospital with Covid several weeks after having one vaccine dose, a study of UK patients shows.

Jimmy Cricket has had his second vaccination jab to protect against Covid

Several months ago, Jimmy devised a perfect little ditty to keep our spirits going during the coronavirus lockdown.

The comedian adapted the words of an old war-time favourite, Roll out the Barrel.

He recorded his very own version for YouTube, called Roll out the Vaccine.

Roll out the Barrell

The UK government has said every adult in the country can have a coronavirus vaccine by autumn this year.

Roll out the Barrel was particularly popular worldwide during World War II.

Sing along to Jimmy’s Roll out the Vaccine song

Casual chat with a workman led to my first DVD! 150 150 mhamer

Casual chat with a workman led to my first DVD!

Hi folks this months @leponline is a little story about how we got everyone onboard, which created work for a video recording company, while raising funds for a Charity, while producing my live DVD! #keepvarietyalive

The unusual story of how Jimmy Cricket ended up producing his first DVD is told in his latest newspaper column.

Pull Your Seats Forward was created by the famous comedian’s family company, Wellie Boot Productions, more than 10 years ago.

Belfast-born Jimmy produced the DVD in response to the overwhelming public clamour that suggested there was a real demand for a recording of his stand-up entertainment.

It was filmed at the Royal Court Theatre in Bacup, Lancashire, near Jimmy’s adopted home of Rochdale in Greater Manchester.

The DVD is an hour and 10 minutes long.

It includes Jimmy’s favourite routines, a phone call and letter from his mammy and 20 minutes of extras.

In his March column for the Lancashire Post, Jimmy reveals how the DVD came about.

I’d just pulled into the garage of the house in the new housing estate we’d just moved into when one of the workmen who was completing work on one of the other houses approached me.

“You’ve upset somebody up there. haven’t you?”

“I beg your pardon?” I asked him in a puzzled tone.

Leap of faith

“You’ve upset one of the big boys in television….that’s why you’re not on anymore.”

Before I could answer him, he was straight in: “Look, you don’t have to answer me but I just want you to know I enjoyed what you did.”

I mumbled “thank you!” and he headed back to work.

After I’d entered the house, I thought maybe I should have invited this chap in, give him a cup of tea and explain that I hadn’t really upset anybody but television was changing.

The variety shows I performed on were giving way to reality/fly-on-the-wall type programmes which I wasn’t really interested in.

But then I thought if there were more people out there like that workman, how could I get my product out to them?

So, in a gigantic leap of faith, I decided to produce and finance my own DVD.

I called a local theatre – in this case the Royal Court in Bacup.

We fixed a date and I raided the piggy bank and sent them the hire charge of £500.

The next step was to hire a camera crew.

I rang up a gentleman called Paul McGreen who ran a company called Dash Productions.

He said he could do me a deal but it would still cost £2,000 to pay for the crew.

Bar of chocolate

So I had an idea how we could make this work – and help a charitable cause at the same time.

I rang around all my friends and explained that the theatre held 400; if they all bought a ticket for £10, after I’d paid for the cameras I would give the rest to our local charity.

And so, on a sunny evening in September in 2008, we shot our video in front of a full house.

Mrs Cricket put programmes on everybody’s seat with a picture of Springhill Hospice in Rochdale, and a place where they could fill in their name and address if they wanted to get the first copies for half price.

Oh, and she also left them a bar of chocolate to munch on during the interval.

The morning after the show, I turned up at the hospice with a cheque for £2,000 and we had a 90-minute DVD called Pull Your Seats Forward.

As I write this, I’m coming up to 9,000 sales.

Do you know what makes me really proud, folks? The whole family can sit round and watch.

Pull Your Seats Forward can be bought via the Go Shopping page on this website or at one of Jimmy’s live shows (once they resume).

Read the Lancashire Evening Post online here

 

The day I ended up in court facing a hefty fine… 150 150 mhamer

The day I ended up in court facing a hefty fine…

True story! Going back decades here is this months @leponline column, here I'm sharing my humble beginnings in the world of showbusiness, which doesn't get much funnier than this! 

Jimmy Cricket was once summoned to court for not doing something he didn’t even know he had to do!

In the 1970s, before he was famous, the Northern Irishman fell foul of the TV licensing authorities.

He revealed his story in his Lancashire Post column.

Jimmy posted on social media: “Hi folks! True story!

“Going back decades here is this month’s @leponline column.

“Here I’m sharing my humble beginnings in the world of showbusiness, which doesn’t get much funnier than this! #savevariety”

His column said: “I’m going back a bit now – 1973. I was in my mid-20s and trying to eke out a living as a comedian in the Northern clubs.

“My girlfriend and soon-to-be-my-wife May and her sister Margaret did a sing­ing act under the name, The Tweedie Sisters.

“We both landed a week’s booking at the Norbreck Ho­tel in Blackpool. However, it didn’t quite turn out that way.

“Oh, the girls had a great week finishing their act to tumultuous applause every evening.

“I, however, didn’t make it past the Sunday. To be honest I was a bit rough round the edges, and when I didn’t get too many laughs on the opening night, the hotel manager fired me.

Disbelieving glance

“So while the girls trav­elled back and forth to Black­pool every night, (Margaret’s boyfriend Graham had a car), I sat alone in the flat we all shared in Stockport trying to figure out a new act.

“It was on the Tuesday night that the doorbell rang. I’d barely opened the door when a guy pushed past me.

“I followed behind him in hot pursuit calling out, ‘Hi, what is this?’ until he stopped with a jolt in the middle of the living room and, pointing to the corner, shout­ed: ‘Have you got a licence for that television?’

“I explained that my fian­cee had ordered it from a lo­cal shop a few weeks before.

“Then I naively enquired: ‘Doesn’t the rental cover the cost of the licence?’ He threw me a disbelieving glance, wrote something in his book and marched straight out the door.

“A summons duly arrived a few weeks later for me to appear in court, where I paid a hefty fine, not for some­thing I did but for something I didn’t know I had to do.

“Don’t get me wrong folks. I’m a big fan of the BBC. What’s not to like about it?

“They do the best period cos­tume dramas. They give us uninterrupted coverage of top sporting events and the best movies, and their news coverage is the envy of the world.

“Just like the National Health Service it’s a quintessential British institution and I couldn’t imagine life without it.

“I just hope they have nicer people driving their detector vans these days than the guy I got in Stockport.”

Also read: The first time I met Bobby Ball

The Lancashire Post website

‘I enjoyed that Cocker!’ The first time I met Bobby Ball 150 150 mhamer

‘I enjoyed that Cocker!’ The first time I met Bobby Ball

Jimmy Cricket's Lancashire Post column about the late Bobby Ball

Jimmy Cricket remembers the late, great Bobby Ball in his newspaper column for November.

Bobby, one half of the famous comedy double act Cannon and Ball, died at Blackpool Victoria Hospital in October aged 76.

The Oldham-born actor and comedian had tested positive for Covid-19.

Bobby had also starred in several popular sitcoms.

They included Not Going Out, Last of the Summer Wine and Benidorm.

In his latest column in the Lancashire Post, Jimmy recalls his first meeting with Bobby and Tommy.

He says: “I first met Bobby Ball at the Candlelight Club in Oldham.

“I had just come off stage and my friend, the singer Jonathan Young, told me that he and his partner Tommy were standing at the bar.

“And they seemed to be enjoying my act.

“Although at that time they had not broken into television, they were a very popular act in the clubs around the country.

‘Brothers in showbusiness’

“I was keen to meet up with them, so I changed quickly and headed for the bar.

“Tommy at the time was engrossed in a conversation with someone, but Bobby Ball shook my hand warmly.

“He said to me: ‘I enjoyed that Cocker, they were a tough crowd, but you got them in the end.

“‘I loved the visual stuff that you did.'”

Jimmy also recalled: “When I found out later Bobby was a neighbour of mine in Rochdale, I rang to tell him that I had written a sketch for him and Tommy in which they played two First Aid Men.

“He invited me to his home where I met his lovely wife Yvonne.

“During our conversation he told me something that really resonated with me.

“He said to me: ‘Jimmy as you develop your on-stage character you’ll die less and less.’

”It was an incredibly insightful thing to say and I treasured the fact that he’d passed his keen knowledge of comedy on to a fellow pro.”

Jimmy finishes his column by saying: “A few months ago before it was offered funding, I tweeted about the Grand Theatre in Blackpool’s future being in doubt.

“Bobby retweeted the message.

“We were brothers in showbusiness trying to save a beautiful theatre for future generations.

“He will be sadly missed by all his friends in the entertainment industry as well as his many fans.”

Tommy Handley: The life and times of a great comic 150 150 mhamer

Tommy Handley: The life and times of a great comic

the life and times of this great comic Tommy Handley
Tommy Handley is the subject of Jimmy Cricket’s latest column in the Lancashire Post.
The Liverpool-born comedian was particularly successful in the 1940s.

He was best known for the BBC radio programme It’s That Man Again (ITMA), which was broadcast between 1939 and 1949.

Tommy established himself as a comedian and singer on the music hall circuit and was a pioneer broadcaster, performing as a solo entertainer and as an actor in sketches.

His greatest success came in the late 1930s with the comedy show It’s That Man Again, which, after an uneasy beginning, became very popular.

Tommy starred as a good-natured, fast-talking anchor-man around whom a cast of eccentric comic characters revolved.

He died suddenly in 1949 at the age of just 56.

Jimmy’s column about Tommy appeared in the 7 September edition of the Preston-based Lancashire Post.

The Northern Irish comedian tweeted about it.

He said: “Hi folks! Here is my September @leponline column, where I reflect on the life and times of this great comic.”

Also read: Lyndene return: Wonderful to get back to ‘normality’

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.

 

LEP column was epitaph to the ‘wonderful’ Vera Lynn 150 150 mhamer

LEP column was epitaph to the ‘wonderful’ Vera Lynn

Hi folks! I had no idea when I wrote this May @leponline column it would be as an epitaph to this wonderful performer and humanitarian. R.I.P. our Vera!

Jimmy Cricket’s latest newspaper column was devoted to Dame Vera Lynn – just weeks before she died.

Dame Vera passed away on Thursday (18 June) aged 103.

She was known the Forces’ Sweetheart, whose songs helped raise morale in World War Two.

The Queen, Prince Charles and Beatles legend Sir Paul McCartney were among those to pay their respects to her.

People knew her best for her wartime anthem We’ll Meet Again.

Jimmy’s column in the Preston-based Lancashire Post on 18 May (above) was all about Dame Vera.

The headline read: Remembering the forces’ WWII sweetheart Vera Lynn.

He tweeted on the day she died: “Hi folks! I had no idea when I wrote this May@leponline column it would be as an epitaph to this wonderful performer and humanitarian.
“R.I.P. our Vera! Performing arts

The BBC reported: “Six weeks ago, ahead of the 75th anniversary of VE Day and during the height of the coronavirus pandemic, Dame Vera said simple acts of bravery and sacrifice still define our nation.

“A week later, she became the oldest artist to get a top 40 album in the UK.”

The BBC recalled that Dame Vera had sold more than a million records by the age of 22.

The article added that she “was also remembered for singing The White Cliffs Of Dover, There’ll Always Be An England, I’ll Be Seeing You, Wishing and If Only I Had Wings.

“The Queen echoed her famous WW2 anthem during a speech to Britons who were separated from families and friends during the coronavirus lockdown in April, telling the nation: ‘We will be with our friends again, we will be with our families again, we will meet again.'”