Casual chat with a workman led to my first DVD!
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).