Tag Archives: panto

‘Many happy memories’ of the late Barry Chuckle

Jimmy remembers the late Barry Chuckle in his October column in the Lancashire Post

Jimmy Cricket has paid tribute to the late Barry Chuckle in his latest newspaper column.

Barry, one half of the comedy duo, the Chuckle Brothers, whose main catch phrase was  “To me, to you”, died in August this year aged 73 following a short period of ill health.

The popular and likeable entertainer, whose real name was Barry Elliott, most famously starred in ChuckleVision with his brother Paul on the BBC between 1987 and 2009.

In his October column in the Lancashire Post, comedian Jimmy recalls when he performed alongside Barry and Paul in panto.

He writes: “The untimely death of Barry Chuckle in August has prompted a cherished memory of working in pantomime with him and his brother Paul 28 years ago. It was 1990, the Darlington Civic.

“The subject was Cinderella and the boys played Brokers’ Men while I played Buttons. Now wait for this readers, it was a 10-week season. These days most pantos don’t last half that long.

“I got particularly close to Barry because we both stayed in a hotel near the theatre, whereas Paul and his wife rented a cottage a few miles away. As well as loving comedy, something else bonded Barry and I together – food. Let me explain, folks.

“When you’re away from home working in a long run, one of the top priorities is getting a decent meal. Oh yes, you can get a good hearty breakfast in your hotel in the morning, but as the day progresses the hunger pangs start kicking in around tea time, especially in panto, where you have lots of matinees as well as evening performances.

“Barry found the answer to our problems when he discovered Crombie’s. Crombie’s served delightful home cooked grub and, in a sea of fast food establishments, it was an oasis. There we would hold court discussing the joys and perils of showbusiness and generally putting the world to right.

“Yes Barry, you and your brother have given us all so much fun over the years, and you personally have given me so many special happy memories of the meal and laughs we shared together.”

Read the full article at https://www.lep.co.uk/news/column-jimmy-cricket-tribute-to-barry-chuckle-1-9392112

 

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!”.

 

‘I was thrilled to perform in panto in Rochdale’

Jimmy Cricket tweeted he was thrilled in appear in a pantomime in his adopted hometown of Rochdale

Jimmy Cricket said he was thrilled in appear in a pantomime in his adopted home town of Rochdale.

Famous Northern Irish entertainer Jimmy played Professor Fitzwarren in Dick Whittington in both Ellesmere Port and in Rochdale.

Ellesmere Port Civic Centre staged the show until 20 December and Rochdale’s Gracie Fields Theatre from 22-31 December.

The panto also featured The Chase’s Mark Labbett (known as The Beast), who played King Rat.

Jimmy tweeted: “What a thrill it was to play panto in my adopted home town of Rochdale, at the Gracie Fields Theatre. I ‘d like to thank all my friends and neighbours for supporting their local Theatre.”

The 72-year-old comedian also posted his thanks to everyone involved in the production of the panto, including his “wonderful” fellow cast members.

Jimmy Cricket tweeted his thanks to everyone involved in the panto

Nostalgic visit to National Waterways Museum

Jimmy Cricket visited the National Waterways Museum near Ellesmere Port

Jimmy Cricket enjoyed a trip to the National Waterways Museum in Cheshire recently.

The famous entertainer, 72, visited the historical venue in Ellesmere Port while appearing in panto at the town’s civic theatre just before Christmas.

He posted some photographs of his visit on social media channel Twitter and said: “Been round this wonderful nostalgic interactive archive library study, through our historical past, which is part of organisation based here at Ellesmere Port.”

The Boaty Theatre Company tweeted: “We met the lovely yesterday at the National Waterways Museum, thank you for taking time out to hear about our projects! Good luck in Dick Whittington! :)”

The museum’s collections and archives focus on the Britain’s navigable inland waterways, including its rivers and canals, and include canal boats, traditional clothing, painted canal decorative ware and tools.

It is one of several museums and attractions operated by the Canal & River Trust, the successor to The Waterways Trust.

Jimmy Cricket visited the National Waterways Museum near Ellesmere Port

A pleasant surprise ahead of Christmas pantomime

 

Jimmy Cricket's December column in the Preston-based Lancashire Post

Jimmy Cricket has revealed his joyful amazement when he discovered the identity of one of his fellow pantomime performers.

The well-known Northern Irish entertainer is currently playing Professor Fitzwarren in Dick Whittington, which is running at the Gracie Fields Theatre until New Year’s Eve in Rochdale where he lives.

The panto also features The Chase’s Mark Labbett (also known as The Beast), who plays King Rat.

Jimmy, 72, says in his December column in the Preston-based Lancashire Post that over the years he has played a lot of shows at a small theatre called the Westcliffe in Clacton-on-Sea in Essex.

“Every now and then, when I would come round to the front of house after the show to say goodnight, there would be a lady called Chrissie Grew with her two sons,” he recalls.

“As the years went by, Chrissie would keep in touch telling me about one of her boys – Danny – who developed a ‘magic act’.

“She would tell me about him taking his first tentative steps into the world of show business. Then her emails would get more exciting as more and more bookings would come in.

“Fast forward to a few months ago and I sign up to play panto in my adopted town of Rochdale this Christmas.

“I arrive to do the publicity launch and guess who’s playing Dick Whittington? You’re absolutely right! Danny! Yes, all those times his mum, Chrissie, took him to see stage shows planted seeds of a flower that has now blossomed.”

Dick Whittington panto details

Jimmy Cricket praises sets for Christmas pantos

Dick WhittingtonJimmy Cricket has praised the sets for the pantos he is appearing in over the festive season.

Famous Northern Irish entertainer Jimmy plays Professor Fitzwarren in Dick Whittington, which opens in his adopted hometown of Rochdale on Friday (22 December).

Ellesmere Port Civic Centre staged the show until Wednesday and Rochdale’s Gracie Fields Theatre will now host it up to New Year’s Eve (22-31 December).

The panto also features The Chase’s Mark Labbett (also known as The Beast), who plays King Rat.

Jimmy tweeted that the sets were “some of the best I have worked with over the years!”.

Dick Whittington panto details

 

Dick Whittington panto opens in Ellesmere Port

All the panto cast members, including Jimmy Cricket, had lunch at The Flying Horse in RochdaleThe pantomime in which Jimmy Cricket is performing this festive season had its first show this weekend.

Famous Northern Irish entertainer Jimmy plays Professor Fitzwarren in that old favourite Dick Whittington in both Ellesmere Port and his adopted hometown of Rochdale.

Ellesmere Port Civic Centre will stage the show until Wednesday (20 December) and Rochdale’s Gracie Fields Theatre from Friday until New Year’s Eve (22-31 December).

The panto will also feature The Chase’s Mark Labbett (also known as The Beast), who plays King Rat.

All the cast members had a pre-panto lunch at The Flying Horse pub restaurant in Rochdale town centre. The venue was the Rochdale, Oldham & Bury pub of the year 2016.

Dick Whittington panto details

Performing alongside The Chase’s Mark Labbett in Dick Whittington panto

panto_dick_whittington

Jimmy Cricket retweeted a social media post about the press launch of the panto in which he will be appearing over the 2017 festive season.

The famous Northern Irish entertainer will be playing Professor Fitzwarren in that old favourite Dick Whittington in both Ellesmere Port and his adopted hometown of Rochdale.

The details for both pantos are below:

Dick Whittington panto details

The panto will also feature The Chase’s Mark Labbett (also known as The Beast and can be seen in the middle of the photo at the top of the page), who will play King Rat.

Ellesmere Port Civic Centre will stage the show from 16 to 20 December and Rochdale’s Gracie Fields Theatre from 22-31 December.

Jimmy’s retweet on the press launch is below:

The tweet about Dick Whittington

Merry Christmas and a happy New Year, folks!

Jimmy Cricket's Christmas card features new US president Donald TrumpDear readers,

I cannot believe 2016 is coming to an end and the Christmas season is once more upon us.

This year has been a fantastic one for me personally as it all started back in January with a service led by the Bishop of Salford to formally award me with my Papal Knighthood.

During the year I have also been fortunate to have:

·         Been involved in some great shows, such as the You Must Be Joking, which toured Northern Ireland back in the spring, and the opening weekend of The Good Old Days autumn season at the world-famous City Varieties Theatre in Leeds

·         Made a couple of appearances alongside my friend Tony Crane and the iconic 60s band The Merseybeats

·         Had trips to Spain to appear in some lovely venues around the Costa Blanca region

·         Paid visits to the Warner Leisure sites at Nidd Hall in Harrogate and Bembridge on the Isle of Wight

·         Did a spring season at the Lyndene Hotel in Blackpool

·         Continued to write a monthly column in the Preston-based Lancashire Evening Post

·         And managed, at long last, to launch a new Christmas CD for the Francis House Children’s Hospice – a project I’ve been wanting to get off the ground for a couple of years. As I write this, I am nearing sales of more than 1,300 from this year’s festive period.

This Christmas I am at the White Rose Theatre in Leeds featuring in a panto production of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.

And then when we get into 2017, I immediately fly off to Tenerife for an appearance there early in the New Year!

And there’s more…

… Other highlights for 2017 include a return to the Benidorm Palace in March alongside Gerry and the Pacemakers; another residency back at the Lyndene Hotel in Blackpool over the winter, spring and the autumn; teaming up with my pals from  show band group Clubsound for a night in Northern Ireland In April; a visit to the Wayside Cheer Hotel in Guernsey over the Easter weekend; a voyage with Cruise & Maritime Voyages around the Faroe Islands in July; and plenty more to keep me out of mischief!

If you see me advertised at any venue near you in 2017, please do come along and say ‘Hi’!

That reminds me… can I thank all those who over the last year have either seen one of my shows, or browsed this website, or bought one of my CDs or DVDs.

All that remains for me to say, dear readers, is have a happy Christmas and a great start to the New Year!

Jimmy Cricket's signature

Jimmy Cricket panto features in Leeds mag

Jimmy Cricket will star in a pantomime production of the classic fairytale, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs in Leeds over Christmas and New Year

Jimmy Cricket’s latest pantomime is the focus of an article in a city lifestyle magazine.

The famous entertainer, 71, who is currently playing the Court Jester in the classic fairytale Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs  at the White Rose Theatre, was interviewed for the Leeds-based Northside publication.

The article on Jimmy Cricket appeared in the Leeds-based Northside publication

It has been published in the December edition to tie in with Jimmy’s appearance in the panto, which opened on Thursday (8 December).

The White Rose Theatre is a new 1,400-seater arena, which has been built in a large marquee complex located within the premises of the Tetley contemporary arts gallery and near Leeds’ main train station.

It also features reality TV celebrity Scotty T, who won this year’s Celebrity Big Brother on Channel 5 and plays the role of Prince Charming.

Actors Louis Emerick (from Last of the Summer Wine and Brookside fame) and Tupele Dorgu (who has appeared in Coronation Street and Hollyoaks) are the Royal Tax Collector and the Wicked Queen respectively.

And there will be cameo performances from children’s TV programme Rainbow’s George and Zippy, plus a recorded sequence starring Jimmy’s very good friend and fellow comedian Ken Dodd.

* The show will run until 1 January 2017 and tickets are now on sale –  visit www.whiterosetheatre.com or ring 0113 870 7769.