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The Chase’s ‘Beast’ Mark Labbett is a gentle giant 150 150 mhamer

The Chase’s ‘Beast’ Mark Labbett is a gentle giant

Jimmy Cricket's February column in the Lancashire Evening Post was about Mark 'The Beast' Labbett from ITV's The Chase

Jimmy Cricket’s latest column in the Lancashire Evening Post was about Mark ‘The Beast’ Labbett from TV’s The Chase.

Famous Northern Irish entertainer Jimmy performed with Mark in pantomime in Ellesmere Port and Rochdale during the last festive season.

Mark  is a ‘Chaser’ on the ITV teatime game show The Chase, which is hosted by Bradley Walsh.

He began the role in 2009 and he has since appeared on the American version as their sole Chaser in 2013 as well as being one of six Chasers in the Australian series. He has also appeared in several other television quiz shows and is a regular in quizzing competitions.

His TV nickname ‘The Beast’ is a reference to both his stature (he’s 6ft 6in tall) and his surname – Labbett sounds like the French ‘la bête’, meaning ‘the beast’.

In his February LEP column, Jimmy told how during the time the panto was in Rochdale, Mark hosted a weekly quiz in The Flying Horse Hotel in the town and then in Ellesmere Port, ended up calling out a few games of bingo at a nearby Mecca hall!

On both occasions, Mark declined a fee and instead arranged for himself and the cast to have a meal courtesy of the two venues.

Added Jimmy: “All thanks to big Mark, our gentle giant with the big heart!”.

 

Irish paper promotes show in Letterkenny 150 150 mhamer

Irish paper promotes show in Letterkenny

Keith Harris: ‘Great showman – we salute you’ 150 150 mhamer

Keith Harris: ‘Great showman – we salute you’

Jimmy Cricket appeared on Keith Harris’s holiday laughter show (with Orville and Cuddles) at the Royal Opera House in the summer of 1982

Jimmy Cricket has been paying tribute in his latest newspaper column to ventriloquist Keith Harris, who died last month.

Keith, who, with his puppet duck Orville, became a regular feature of Saturday night TV in the 1980s, was 67.

He entertained generations of children with his sidekick Orville, a bright green duck who wore a nappy and spoke in a high-pitched voice but couldn’t fly. He also gave life to the popular puppet Cuddles the monkey, whose catchphrase was ‘I hate that duck!’

In addition to fronting The Keith Harris Show on BBC One, he (and Orville) gave private performances at birthday parties for Prince William and his brother Harry, at the request of Diana, Princess of Wales.

His 1982 single, Orville’s Song, was a top five hit, selling more than 400,000 copies.

In his May column for the Preston-based Lancashire Evening News, Jimmy says: “Most ventriloquists that are successful discover one dummy that tickles people’s funny bone, but Keith was blessed with two.

“In 1983, holidaymakers were still visiting our summer resorts en masse and Keith’s show was a sellout from start to finish.

“Keith Harris – you weren’t just a superb ventriloquist, you were a great showman and producer.

“We salute you.”

Johnny Vegas to also feature in film 150 150 mhamer

Johnny Vegas to also feature in film

Johnny Vegas is appearing in the Womble film

Famous actor and comedian Johnny Vegas is to appear in the Womble movie, which is being filmed on location in North Wales and also features entertainer Jimmy Cricket. 

St Helens-born Johnny is well known for his appearances in the hit ITV comedy drama Benidorm and also for popping up in adverts for tea brand PG Tips with a stuffed puppet monkey!

His addition to the cast is another major coup for the people behind Womble the movie, as it also includes top comedian Jimmy, 69, who will play himself as a talent contest judge.

The film is about a man called Aloysius Rupert Womble (played by actor and comedian Tom Spencer), who is in his 30s and living with Asperger’s Syndrome in a typical seaside resort town.

Children and adults affected by Asperger’s Syndrome have difficulty with social interactions and exhibit a restricted range of interests and/or repetitive behaviours.

Aloysius’s dream is to become a stand-up comedian. The film is a week-long snapshot of his life as he goes through the trials of living with a cognitive disorder, while dealing with the injustices forced upon him by society and parts of his community.

Over the seven-day period he prepares for the biggest night of his life – a talent show in his local pub.

The film will feature songs from the Beautiful South’s former lead singer Briana Corrigan and American Pie star Thomas Nicholas, as well as a string of original songs written by songwriters especially for the movie.

My movie debut – as a dream maker 150 150 mhamer

My movie debut – as a dream maker

Jimmy Cricket's column in the Lancashire Evening Post

Jimmy Cricket says he is looking forward to his role as a talent show judge on his  forthcoming silver screen debut.

But the famous veteran entertainer insists he will not be like Simon Cowell in The X Factor, telling readers of the Preston-based Lancashire Evening Post in his monthly column he will be a “dream maker, not a dream breaker”.

Womble, one of the biggest independent movies to be made in North Wales, is being shot over the summer and will be set for release in 2016.

It is about a man called Aloysius Rupert Womble (played by actor and comedian Tom Spencer) who is in his 30s and living with Asperger’s Syndrome in a typical seaside resort town.

Children and adults affected by Asperger’s Syndrome have difficulty with social interactions and exhibit a restricted range of interests and/or repetitive behaviours.

Aloysius’s dream is to become a stand-up comedian. The film is a week-long snapshot of his life as he goes through the trials of living with a cognitive disorder, while dealing with the injustices forced upon him by society and parts of his community.

Over the seven-day period he prepares for the biggest night of his life – a talent show in his local pub.

Jimmy says in the Lancashire Evening Post: “Hopefully, the film will be shown in 2016 at the Cannes Film Festival.”

Daughter Katie wins coveted playwriting prize 150 150 mhamer

Daughter Katie wins coveted playwriting prize

The Stage newspaper reported on Katie Mulgrew's success

Famous entertainer Jimmy Cricket has expressed his immense pride after daughter Katie won a prestigious playwriting competition.

The Rochdale Observer reported on Katie Mulgrew's success

Katie Mulgrew, 30, was the winner of the first ever Liverpool Hope University playwriting prize, with her work entitled Omnibus, which follows a group of friends following a soap opera.

Not only did she earn herself £10,000 in the process, but she now has the opportunity to see the play produced by the Royal Court Theatre in Liverpool, one of the partners for the competition along with the Liverpool Echo newspaper.

She was the only female comic among the 10 finalists.

Katie told The Stage newspaper: “I entered the Liverpool Hope Playwriting Prize because some of my heroes are on the judging panel, and I would adore the opportunity to work with such a beautiful theatre, positively soaked in history and talent.”

Her play was shortlisted at the start of the year as part of a group of 10 plays that went to a judging panel consisting of:

–         Comedienne Kathy Burke

–         Screenwriter Frank Cottrell Boyce

–          Playwright, director and visiting professor at Liverpool Hope University John Godber

–          Playwriter & arts journalist  Paul Allen

–          Chief executive of the Royal Court Theatre Kevin Fearon

–          Principal Lecturer in Drama and Theatre Studies at Liverpool Hope University‌ Dr John Bennett

–          Liverpool Echo arts editor Catherine Jones

Jimmy said: “I am really thrilled for Katie and am incredibly proud of this tremendous achievement.”

The Rochdale Observer reported on Katie Mulgrew's success

‘Man in wellies & battered hat saves the day’ 150 150 mhamer

‘Man in wellies & battered hat saves the day’

Jimmy Cricket's latest column in the Lancashire Evening Post

Jimmy Cricket has been reminiscing about the era of the comedy song and how he hopes he has helped keep it alive.

In his latest column for the Preston-based Lancashire Evening Post, the famous entertainer recalls “the many comedy and novelty songs that used to permeate the airwaves in the 50s and 60s”.

He adds: “Commercial radio stations all have playlists now. This means they only play songs that appeal to younger audiences , which companies who advertise with them deem to be possible customers. That’s how the commercial radio stations make their money.

Jimmy Cricket's Light & Shade

“However, you can still hear comedy and novelty songs on BBC radio stations, especially on their request shows.

“However, fear not dear readers.

“Just when you thought the comedy song was a footnote in the history of popular music, along comes the man in the wellies and the battered hat to save the day!

“Yes, my new CD called Light & Shade contains gems like ‘my budgie’s been tweeting for years’ and ‘I got blotto when I thought I’d won the lotto’.”

Light & Shade was officially released on 1 February and is available for £6 at www.jimmycricketshop.co.uk and at Jimmy’s live shows.

In the inside sleeve, Jimmy talks about the history behind the CD, which features a mixture of serious and comedy songs.