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panto

Where will Jimmy be at Christmas? 150 150 mhamer

Where will Jimmy be at Christmas?

Jimmy Cricket will be headlining the Christmas panto at the Forum Theatre in BillinghamJimmy Cricket will be headlining the 2013 Christmas panto at the Forum Theatre in Billingham, just outside the city of Middlesbrough.

Jimmy Cricket will be headlining the Christmas panto at the Forum Theatre in Billingham

The Irish entertainer will be playing the role of Muddles in a version of Snow White and the seven Dwarves.

The panto will be produced by the hugely experience Duggie Chapman, who has been in charge of the Forum theatre’s panto for the last 15 or so years.

Jimmy posed for the photos on this page last month at a mini press launch which attracted significant interest from the local media. The full launch of the theatre’s Christmas season is not scheduled until the autumn.

Jimmy Cricket will be headlining the Christmas panto at the Forum Theatre in BillinghamHe said: “I’m excited about visiting the North East again at Christmas time. I have featured in pantos in the region before and each time I have received a very warm reception.

“I am also thrilled to be teaming up with Duggie Chapman again, as previously we worked together on Christmas shows at Southport and Ashton-under-Lyne.

“These pantos were hugely successful, both creatively and on the number of people who came along to see the shows.”

2012 – we look back at the highlights 150 150 mhamer

2012 – we look back at the highlights

Jimmy Cricket played Baron Hardup in panto with Dancing on Ice star Ray Quinn as Prince Charming

Jimmy was Baron Hardup in panto with Dancing on Ice’s Ray Quinn Prince Charming

Jimmy has had another busy year and as usual he has travelled the length and breadth of the country to meet his touring commitments throughout 2012.

Some of the highlights of the past 12 months include:

– At the start of the year appearing as Baron Hardup in a pantomime version of Cinderella at the Civic Theatre in Darlington

– Headlining the summer show at the Hippodrome Theatre, Eastbourne, which ran for five months and was presented every Tuesday and Wednesday evening from the first week of May through to the end of September

– Featuring in a northern comedy tour alongside the inimitable Mick Miller

– Appearing at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, the Sheffield Comedy festival and the new Belly Laughs Belfast comedy festival

– Travelling to venues in Guernsey, Cromer, Torquay, Bridlington, Carlisle, Towyn and Glasgow – to name just a few of the different places visited

– Appearing in BBC 3’s Comedy Marathon which was recorded at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe Festival

– Participating in a recording of the new Sky TV comedy series called John Bishop’s Only Joking

Jimmy said: “I would like to thank all those who came to one of my shows this year or who have bought one of my merchandise items.

“Also thanks to anyone who has followed me on Twitter, decided to be a friend on Facebook or who has viewed one of my clips on YouTube.

“Thanks you all for your continuing support and I hope to see you in 2013!”

Jimmy meets campaigning grocer 150 150 mhamer

Jimmy meets campaigning grocer

Jimmy Cricket and Robin Blair with some of the plants Robin donated to Darlington Civic Theatre

Greengrocer Robin Blair shows Jimmy Cricket some of the plants he donated to Darlington Civic Theatre

Jimmy Cricket met a campaigning greengrocer on a recent visit to Darlington where he will be appearing in a stand-up show.

The famous Irish comedian had a walk around the town and chatted to local celebrity Robin Blair, who was recently awarded the British Empire Medal in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list.

Robin has donated plants to brighten up the Conservatory Bar plaza at the Darlington Civic Theatre and also regularly provides baskets of fruit in the dressing rooms for visiting entertainers.Jimmy and Robin have a chat during a walk around Darlington

The 67-year-old, who has been a grocer for more than 50 years, received the British Empire Medal for his services to the community of Darlington.

Over the years, he has campaigned to keep markets alive and against too many supermarkets taking away their trade.

Robin, who joined his father John Joseph’s stall officially at the age of 15 but had helped out on it since he was seven, said one of the highlights of his job was putting free fruit baskets in the dressing rooms and receiving messages of thanks – including from Ken Dodd.

Jimmy Cricket is returning to the Civic Theatre in Darlington just months after appearing on the same stage as Baron Hardup in a pantomime version of Cinderella.

This time, he will be doing his usual stand-up and is teaming up with fellow comedy legend Mick Miller.

In addition to the Darlington appearance on Wednesday 11 July, the Jimmy and Mick Show tour also includes Preston, Chester, Sheffield, Manchester and Edinburgh.

Teaching a fellow showbiz star to juggle 150 150 mhamer

Teaching a fellow showbiz star to juggle

Jimmy Cricket has been teaching Ray Quinn how to juggle

Jimmy Cricket has been teaching Ray Quinn how to juggle

Veteran Irish comedian Jimmy Cricket has been giving juggling lessons to actor, dancer and singer Ray Quinn.

The pair appeared in the pantomime Cinderella at the Darlington Civic Theatre which finished on Sunday 15 January.

Jimmy, who played Baron Hardup, said he enjoyed working with all the cast during the six-week showing of the panto.

“We got Cinderella to the ball!” laughed Jimmy this week.

“I have found a great friend in Ray Quinn and you can see me teaching him to juggle on YouTube.”

The juggling video can also be found on the homepage here on Jimmy’s website and on Ray’s own official site.

Jimmy added: “There must have been about 65 panto shows in all as there were often two a day. It was very intensive but thoroughly enjoyable.”

Ray Quinn, who was Prince Charming in the Darlington panto, is engaged to theatre star Emma Stephens who played Cinderella.

They first met when they starred together in Grease in London’s West End several years ago.

Former Brookside actor Ray shot to fame when he finished runner-up to Leona Lewis in the 2007 series of The X Factor and two years later he won ITV’s Dancing on Ice with professional ice skater Maria Filippov.

“Ray’s a good-looking guy. He’s got a terrific voice and dances very well too. I think he could very easily become the next Michael Bublé [Canadian singer and actor]. Ray, Emma and the rest of the cast were great working colleagues,” said Jimmy.

View a musical slideshow of Jimmy and his fellow panto stars on his YouTube channel.

Jimmy and his wife May have just moved house though they still live in Rochdale.

He explained: “We have downsized but only gone around the corner to a lovely cottage overlooking Healey Dell Nature Reserve.”

“The move means we have been offline for a while and have fallen a bit behind with our email and Facebook, but I can assure everybody that they will receive replies to their queries and orders in the next few weeks.”

Curtain set to fall on Jimmy’s panto season 150 150 mhamer

Curtain set to fall on Jimmy’s panto season

Jimmy Cricket and Ray Quinn - and dog

Jimmy Cricket and Ray Quinn - and dog

Jimmy Cricket’s marathon pantomime season is coming to an end (oh yes it is! sorry – ed).

The famous Irish comedian has been appearing in Cinderella at the Civic Theatre in Darlington since 3 December. Its last show is on Sunday (15 Jan).

Other celebrities alongside Jimmy, who plays Baron Hardup, include Dancing on Ice star Ray Quinn (Prince Charming) and and former Emmerdale actress Deena Payne (Fairy Godmother).

The pantomime has been praised in media circles with the British Theatre Guide saying:
“Michael Vivian’s script provides a faithful re-telling of the classic fairy tale; it is beautifully designed and costumed; there is a nice balance of pop hits and original songs, and the choreography is tight and slick.”

Other good reviews of the show can be found at The Stage website and Whatsonstage.

And view a musical slideshow featuring many of the show’s cast on the homepage of this website or on Jimmy’s YouTube channel here

Celebrities support toy giveaway 150 150 mhamer

Celebrities support toy giveaway

A special photo call was staged to mark the toy giveaway. Photo by Ian McClelland

A special photo call was staged to mark the toy giveaway. Photo by Ian McClelland

The festive pantomine in which Jimmy Cricket is currently starring has been well-received by the critics.

Cinderella is on at the Civic Theatre in Darlington until Sunday January 15.

The cast features Jimmy, who plays Baron Hardup alongside Dancing on Ice star Ray Quinn and former Emmerdale actress Deena Payne.

Recent good reviews of the show can be found at The Stage website and Whatsonstage.

Jimmy and other panto stars agreed to take part in a special photo call to mark a toy giveaway for underprivileged children.

The event was sponsored by a local Darlington car dealership called Jennings Ford and also involved the Salvation Army.

Despite a busy schedule, Jimmy, Ray – who plays Prince Charming – and Deena (Fairy Godmother) took time out from the busy rehearsals to offer their support to the appeal.

Jimmy poses with a child in the theatre foyer after one of the panto performances

Jimmy poses for a picture with a child in the theatre foyer after one of the panto performances

Last year about 7,000 children and 2,000 families across the North East of England were supported with presents and a further 1,000 individuals received food over the Christmas period.

For the past 13 consecutive years, Jennings Motor Group has supported the appeal by using its branch network across the region as drop-off points for staff and members of the public.

Ray Riaz, general manager at Jennings Ford’s Yarm Road dealership in Stockton, said: “We were delighted that the cast of this year’s pantomime could help out with the appeal. The Salvation Army does an absolutely amazing job helping those in the local community, not just at Christmas time but all year round.”

Anyone wanting to buy tickets for the panto should ring 01325 486 555 or visit the website at Darlington Civic Theatre and Arts Centre.

Jimmy gives his autograph in the theatre foyer after one of the panto performances

Jimmy gives his autograph in the theatre foyer after one of the panto performances

Jimmy goes into panto mode 150 150 mhamer

Jimmy goes into panto mode

Jimmy is appearing in Cinderella in Darlington

Jimmy Cricket has begun rehearsing for his latest pantomime appearance.

The legendary comic is starring as Baron Hardup in Cinderella at Darlington Civic Theatre which runs from Saturday 3 December until Sunday 15 January 2012.

Dancing on Ice and X Factor star Ray Quinn (Prince Charming), Emmerdale’s Deena Payne (Fairy Godmother) and Grease musical actress Emma Stephens (Cinderella) are also appearing in the festive spectacular.

Performances are as follows: Matinees 2pm, evenings 7pm except Sundays, Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve when evening performances will begin at 5.30pm. Prices are £13.50, £19 and £21, with discounts available at some performances.

Jimmy last appeared in the Darlingon theatre’s pantomime 21 years ago when it was also a version of Cinderella. Back in 1990 he played the role of Buttons.

The panto means it will be a very busy time of the year for Jimmy who said: “I am back home at the weekend and when we’re up and running with the actual show, I have every Sunday night and all day Monday off. Not to mention Crimble and New Year’s day!”

Find out more details here