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Filming under way for Womble movie

Jimmy Cricket with Tom Spencer and actresses Gemma Jones and Georgina Ford
Jimmy with Tom, Gemma and Georgina

Filming for the Womble movie in which Jimmy Cricket will play himself is now under way.

Famous entertainer Jimmy’s cameo role will be filmed on location in North Wales in June and he was recently involved in a photo shoot alongside the central character Womble, played by actor Tom Spencer.

Also at the promotional event, which was held at the Bojangles Theatre, home to the Middleton Popstars Academy in North Manchester, were director Lee Howard, co-writer and actress Gemma Jones, and fellow actress Georgina Ford.

Jimmy said: “I was very grateful to Anne (Marshall, director) and the Popstars organisation for hosting this activity and I am very excited about returning to the theatre later in the year for a show with the Popstars on Saturday the 11th of July.”

The film is about a man called Aloysius Rupert Womble (played by actor and comedian Tom), 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.

It 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.

Top comedian Jimmy, 69, will play himself as a talent contest judge.

Jimmy Cricket and Tom Spencer

‘Happy & thrilled’ at musical’s success

The opening night of the premiere of Jimmy Cricket’s new musical, Maloney’s Big Moment. The photo was taken backstage at the Thwaites Empire Theatre in Blackburn and features Jimmy with the cast of the show, alongside the Mayor and Mayoress of Blackburn

Famous comedian Jimmy Cricket said he was “happy” and “thrilled” following the successful launch of his new musical.

Large audiences turned out to watch the two-night premiere of Maloney’s Big Moment at the Thwaites Empire Theatre in Blackburn earlier this month.

Jimmy said: “For both performances, more than 80% of tickets were sold, which for an original piece of theatre is a tremendous return. I am just thrilled I was able to get this new musical off the ground.

“I must thank the talented cast who only assembled really at the last minute, the fine musicians who made up the band, and the theatre’s technical staff for all coming together and delivering two performances of the show without much rehearsal time.

“I am also really happy that so many friends, colleagues, supporters and interested spectators came to support the show in such huge numbers.”

Above: Jimmy is pictured with the cast of the show, alongside the Mayor and Mayoress of Blackburn, back stage at the theatre on the opening night of the musical.

Working with a theatre stalwart

Jimmy Cricket is getting help from a theatre stalwart as preparations are stepped up for his new musical in the autumn.

Maloney’s Big Moment is being staged at the Thwaites Empire Theatre in Blackburn on Friday and Saturday, 11 and 12 October.

Jimmy Cricket with Eric Nolan at the Thwaites Empire Theatre in Blackburn
Jimmy Cricket with Eric Nolan at the Thwaites Empire Theatre in Blackburn

And a vital member of Jimmy’s team is Eric Nolan who runs the Blackburn Drama Club and produces four plays a year at the theatre.

He also presents plays at the Library Theatre in Darwen and last year produced one on the Indian icon, Ghandi.

Well-known entertainer Jimmy said: “Eric is a great advocate for the Thwaites Empire Theatre and helps raise loads of funds to keep the theatre going.

“I am looking forward to working with Eric on my show.”

* The booking office is open from 10am-12.30pm, Monday to Saturday, on 01254 685500.

Meeting an old familiar friendly face

Jimmy Cricket with the professional photographer Tim Badley
Jimmy Cricket with professional photographer Tim Bradley at the Thwaites Empire Theatre in Blackburn

Jimmy Cricket came across a familiar figure at the launch of his new musical.

The Rochdale-based famous Irish entertainer was at the Thwaites Empire Theatre in Blackburn where Maloney’s Big Moment is being staged on Friday and Saturday, 11 and 12 October.

And he bumped into freelance photographer Tim Bradley, whom Jimmy has met many times previously.

He said: “Tim is such a warm and amiable guy, whom I first met when he worked as a photographer at the Rochdale Observer – my local paper.

“I get asked to appear at a lot of local events in Rochdale and this is when I used to bump into Tim.

“He has now gone freelance and does a lot of work for the Lancashire Evening Telegraph, so when I recently launched my new musical show at the Thwaites Empire Theatre in Blackburn, it was Tim who turned up on behalf of the paper to take some photographs.”

Tim took the photos which featured in the previous Cricket Times story about Maloney’s Big Moment.

Jimmy added: “I hope it won’t be too long before our paths collide again!”

Getting into the spirit for London 2012

The grand finale featured all the show's participants who were representing all the many dance schools
The grand finale featured all the show's participants who were representing the many dance schools

Irish comedian Jimmy Cricket got into the Olympic spirit when he compered a dance spectacular celebrating the forthcoming London Games.

The famous funnyman was asked to front up the special show which marked the Olympic Torch coming to Southport ahead of London 2012.

Programme front page for the Olympic dance event
Programme front page

It was staged at the Southport Theatre and organised by the Liverpool-based Allied Dancing Association Limited.

Former Olympic gold medallist Dame Mary Elizabeth Peters was a special guest at the event.

The 19 dance schools which took part in the show were: Garswood School of Dance, Vibe Stage Academy, The Stage School, Harlequin Dance Club, Formby School of Dance, Dance Flava, Claire Knight School of Dance, Martins Dance Centre, Excelsior School of Dance, Phoenix School of Dance, Dance Depot, Liverpool Theatre School, Felicia Burns School of Dance, Chriska Stage School, Marshside School of Dance, Southport School of Dance, Crown Dance School, Jade School of Dance and Dance Passion.

Jimmy Cricket on stage
Jimmy on stage

The general secretary of Allied Dancing Association, Carol Parry, invited Jimmy to host the show. They first met last Christmas during Jimmy’s pantomime season at the Civic Theatre in Darlington. Carol’s daughter, Melissa, featured in the Southport Theatre show as a dancer.

Jimmy says: “This was a spectacular show and my hats off to all the organisers of this event for all the hard work they put into it.

“Special praise to one of the principal organisers, Carol Parry, as she was a real driving force behind the show and she worked tirelessly to ensure it was a huge success!”

Photos for this story were taken by Alan at Photos2U

Night out in Barnsley

Jimmy Cricket and The FantasticsEchoes of a show a few years ago in south Yorkshire reached famous comedian Jimmy Cricket recently.

Two  photographs were posted on social networking website Facebook of a gig in which Jimmy performed in Barnsley.

One of the pictures is of Jimmy with a guy called Dick and the other with a band called ‘The Fantastics’ who were a support act during the evening.

The photos were posted on Facebook by Neil D’Angelo who wrote: “Private function at shafton village club 2008 Barnsley……. Was a great night I recall.”

One of the photos from Facebook

A thank-you from the past

Pictures from the past

Jimmy Cricket is getting a big thank-you from a charity – three decades later.

The recognition comes after Jimmy appeared in the Hippodrome Theatre’s Pantomime with famous Liverpool entertainer Cilla Black back in the mid-1980s.

He recently received the following email from Matt Adams: “We are holding another charity event in aid of the Young Venturers on December 10th at the Hall Green Conservative Club, Birmingham. These nights raises enough funds to enable us to take a group of disabled children to the Pantomime in Birmingham.

“My parents, who has been raising funds for this charity for over 40 years, write to the stars of the show and asks them if they would be kind enough to spend a few minutes after the show to meet the children.

“We plan to project photos taken from the last 40+ years on the 12ft screen at the club, and whilst going through a few of the photos, I found a few of Jimmy from way back. This photo along with countless others will be projected on the night with a ‘thank you’ message.

“As my Dad always says ‘time is the most important thing you can give to anyone’ and the time Jimmy spent with ‘our’ children certainly made their night.

“I would therefore be grateful if you could thank Jimmy on behalf of us for all the smiles he has made!”