Tag Archives: pantomime

‘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

 

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

Roy Hudd about Jimmy Cricket: He’s got the lot

Jimmy Cricket featured in Roy Hudd's column in Yours magazineJimmy Cricket has come in for high praise from fellow comedian Roy Hudd OBE.

In one of his recent columns in Yours, a fortnightly magazine for women over the age of 50, Roy says Belfast was “the home of someone who makes me laugh”.

The 79-year-old adds: “If you think he’s just a loveable, welly-wearing, ‘dacent Irish boy’, be amazed.

“He does the lot. He sings and writes songs, juggles, does impressions, dances (inspired by Billy Dainty) and is always on the ball with topical stuff.”

Roy also describes Jimmy as “the perfect pantomime performer”.

As well as being a comedian, Roy is also an actor – he appeared as undertaker Archie Shuttleworth in Coronation Street – a radio host, author and authority on the history of music hall entertainment.

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

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.”

Nostalgic flashback: Christmas panto 2010

Jimmy Cricket was reminded of a Christmas pantomime past through a series of photographs sent to him recently.

The pictures were from the 2010-11 festive season when the famous entertainer appeared at the Doncaster Civic Theatre in a panto version of Aladdin.

This Christmas show was produced by David Lee of Pantoni Productions and it was he who sent Jimmy the images in the slideshow above.

Funnyman Jimmy said: “It was a nice reminder of the show and its cast, whom I enjoyed working with.”

Since Aladdin there has been a change of scenery for the arts in Doncaster because this pantomime was one of the last before the civic theatre was demolished.

It was replaced by a brand new modern arts centre called Cast and so now only memories remain of what was the town’s main auditorium for a number of years.

* Click on either of the arrow buttons above to view the slideshow.

The time I nearly met a footballing legend

Jimmy Cricket talks about how he nearly met the late Sir Tom Finney in his latest Lancashire Evening Post newspaper column

Jimmy Cricket recalls in his latest newspaper column the time he nearly met a footballing legend.

The well-known comedian says in the Lancashire Evening Post that he was asked to do the corporate entertainment a few years ago at Deepdale, home of Preston North End for whom Sir Tom Finney made 473 competitive appearances, scoring 210 goals.

Tony Jo, a friend and fellow comedian, said during the evening that he would go and get Sir Tom so Jimmy could meet him.

However, Sir Tom was not feeling too well and had to go home early.

Jimmy recalls: “My big moment to meet a remarkable man and footballer, who had done so much for his home town of Preston, had gone.”

Sir Tom, who scored 30 goals in 76 appearances for England, died 12 months ago aged 91.

 

From Muddles to Milton Keynes (slideshow)

 

Jimmy Cricket returned to action after his festive pantomime spell with  a show in Milton Keynes.

The well-known entertainer appeared at the Lovat Fields Retirement Village in Milton Keynes, which is part of a national chain run by the Extra Care organisation. Jimmy has appeared at some of their other sites over the years in St Helens, Warrington and Coventry.

This particular visit was organised by Mary Cooper, who is one of the residents at Lovat Fields and is involved in helping to arrange the entertainment programme. A big thanks to Mary for also sending in the slideshow photos of the night.

Jimmy said: “This was my first show after the Christmas pantomime season.

“It came after what is a traditional annual break for me during January, so it was wonderful to return to stand-up after four weeks of being Muddles in Snow White and to entertain at such a hospitable place with a wonderful audience!”

* Click on either of the arrow buttons above to view the slideshow.

The show must go on… despite a bomb next door

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

Jimmy Cricket has recalled the time that a pantomime in which he was starring went ahead despite the fact that a bomb had been planted next to the theatre.

The famous entertainer was appearing in Jack and the Beanstalk at the Grand Opera Theatre in Belfast at the time.

Looking back at the incident in 1992, Jimmy told the Lancashire Evening Post in his latest column for the Preston-based newspaper: “With the help of great architects and engineers, we got the theatre ready just in time for the pantomime, even though we had to get ready and change in portakabins!

“The fact the people from Northern Ireland didn’t want the terrorists to succeed meant we did sellout business all the way through.”

Book now to see Jimmy in action

Jimmy Cricket's shows in the first part of 2015

The first venue that famous comedian Jimmy Cricket will be visiting for his 2015 shows around the UK is the Plaza Theatre in Stockport on Sunday (25 January).

With the show scheduled for a 3pm start, there is the chance to have Sunday lunch with all the family, then go along to see him and laugh away the calories! Tickets are priced at £10 (£5 for under 16s).

Jimmy embarks on a tour of Northern Ireland with the You Must Be Joking show next week.

When the veteran entertainer visits the charming Lamproom Theatre in South Yorkshire during February, he will feature in a format that will afford the audience an opportunity to ask him a question, as he brings his Audience with show to the Barnsley region.

Jimmy’s trip to the Victoria Theatre in Halifax on 25 March will be part of a Music Hall show that his good friend, Neil Hurst, is organising.

And he is also looking forward to visiting Bexhill-on-Sea, where the team behind the Bexhill Festival of Music are organising the show he will headline in April.

All the other venues on the list shown above right will also present Jimmy’s Value for a Tenner show.

So if you live in one of the regions Jimmy will be visiting during the first half of 2015, do go along and see him in action.