Tag Archives: The Good Old Days of Music Hall and Variety

The Good Old Days are returning to Dudley!

“The legendary comedian and entertainer Jimmy Cricket – star of stage and screen, including various Royal Variety Performances. With a full supporting company of singers, hilarious comedy, a chairman, live musicians and lots of songs you will know to sing along with. A show not to be missed!”

Book tickets here

 

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

‘Yorkshire people are so warm and friendly’

The Dewsbury Press newspaper article about Jimmy CricketJimmy Cricket clearly put on a memorable performance when he headlined an old-style Music Hall show at the world-famous City Varieties theatre in Leeds.

An article (right) in the Dewsbury Press newspaper said the 70-year-old entertainer played to a full house and got a standing ovation.

Jimmy is quoted as saying: “I love playing here as Yorkshire people are so warm and friendly.”

Each year the City Varieties recreates a version of Music Hall, an incredibly popular format for theatre during Victorian Britain.

The venue in Leeds is synonymous with Music Hall as not only was it built to stage these shows, but it was also the location where the very popular and much-loved BBC light entertainment show called  The Good Old Days was filmed during the 1970s and 1980s.

The show – Jimmy appeared in the original in the 80s – retains its eternal popularity as the reruns of it on BBC4 on Friday evenings attract significant viewing figures.

City Varieties theatre hosts Music Hall shows

The Good Old Days show at the City Varieties Music Hall in Leeds

Jimmy Cricket went back in time when he appeared on the opening weekend of the autumn 2016 season at the world-famous City Varieties Music Hall theatre in Leeds.

Jimmy Cricket appeared in The Good Old Days show at the City Varieties Music Hall in Leeds

Each year the City Varieties recreates a version of Music Hall, an incredibly popular format for theatre during Victorian Britain.

The venue in Leeds is synonymous with Music Hall, as not only was it built to stage these shows, but it was also the location where the very popular and much-loved BBC light entertainment show called  The Good Old Days was filmed during the 1970s & 1980s.

The show – Jimmy appeared in the original in the 80s – retains its eternal popularity as the reruns of it on BBC4 on Friday evenings attract significant viewing figures.

The City Varieties Music Hall theatre Jimmy, 70, headlined the first show of autumn 2016 where there was the typical chairman figure, who presided over proceedings and linked in to every artist with a cacophony of words – in this instance the role was played by the very experienced Johnny Dennis.

Also on the bill was the talented plate spinner Andy Van Buren and the highly skilled ukulele player and vocalist Wendy King – both gifted performers who are also good friends of Jimmy.

Comedian Jimmy said: “I was thrilled to participate in this Music Hall show, which continues a long-held tradition at this unique and historic venue set within the heart of Leeds city centre.”

The secrets behind the BBC’s The Good Old Days

Jimmy Cricket's column in the Preston-based Lancashire Evening Post about The Good Old Days on the BBC

Jimmy Cricket has been revealing some of the secrets behind the success of the TV comedy programme, The Good Old Days.

The all-round entertainer, now 70, appeared in the variety show, which ran for 30 years.

It was one of the BBC’s most watched light entertainment programmes of the 1970s and 1980s, and sought to re-create the heydays of music hall entertainment which had charmed audiences at the turn of the 19th century.

The BBC re-creation of the music hall held true to its historic format, as performers appeared in period costume and a chairman entertained those present with hearty introductions. Even audience members were instructed to attend in Victorian attire (see picture below).

This BBC series was filmed on location at one of the best-maintained music hall venues in the country – the City Varieties Music Hall in Leeds.

Jimmy, one of the UK’s best-loved comedians, told readers of his latest Lancashire Evening Post monthly column that the success of the programme was down to one man – Leeds-born Barney Colehan.

The audience dressed in period costume for the Good Old Days programme at the City Varieties Music Hall in Leeds

“Barney had a unique gift for capturing the atmosphere of a live show and getting that across to the viewers in their living rooms.

“But there’s more… as someone who appeared on the show, I can lift the lid on some of the devices Barney used to make his show so popular.

“Firstly, he used the intimate and beautiful City Varieties Theatre in Leeds to transmit the shows from.

“He then put a live orchestra in the pit – with the right blend of instruments to capture the feel of the music hall.

“He brought in the avuncular and immensely likeable Leonard Sacks to act as chairman – from the start to the end of each show, Leonard struck up an irresistible rapport with the audience.

“And that, dear readers, was Barney’s trump card: the audience. But they weren’t just any old audience. Everyone sitting in the front seats were from amateur operatic societies up and down the country.”

Jimmy added: “Barney’s legacy is that the show he put his heart and soul into is now watched avidly on BBC Four every Friday night.

“It is enjoyed both by older viewers who remember it first time round and new viewers who are loving it for the first time.”

Although the BBC finished producing the Good Old Days TV show during the 1980s, the City Varieties Theatre is still open and continues to flourish. It even went through an extensive restoration phase a few years ago and to this day presents a varied diet of music, comedy and drama, including its very own version of The Good Old Days.

 * Jimmy will be appearing in a live recreation of The Good Old Days at the City Varieties in Leeds on 23 and 24 September. For more details, click here

Jimmy Cricket to make nostalgic Leeds return

Jimmy Cricket performed in the Good Old Days at the City Varieties Music Hall in Leeds
A “thrilled” Jimmy Cricket returns to the legendary City Varieties Music Hall in Leeds – and goes back to the 1980s – later this year.

The famous entertainer, 70, says he is delighted he has been invited to headline the first weekend of the City Varieties’ 2016 Good Old Days season on 23 and 24 September.

The audience dressed in period costume for the Good Old Days programme at the City Varieties Music Hall in Leeds

A variety show, The Good Old Days was one of the BBC’s most watched light entertainment programmes of the 1970s and 1980s.

It  sought to re-create the heydays of Music Hall, which charmed audiences at the turn of the 19th century.  The BBC re-creation of the music hall held true to its historic format, as performers appeared in period costume and a chairman entertained those present with hearty introductions. Even audience members were instructed to attend in Victorian attire (above right).

This BBC series was filmed on location at one of the best maintained music hall venues in the country – the City Varieties in Leeds.

Although the BBC finished producing The Good Old Days TV show during the 1980s, the host venue is still open and continues to flourish. It even went through an extensive restoration phase a few years ago and to this day presents a varied diet of music, comedy and drama, including its very own version of the Good Old Days.

The shows in September will be nostalgia-filled as Jimmy appeared in the original BBC series and his performance continues to feature on the home page of this website. Images shown with this article are from his appearance decades ago.

PLEASE NOTE THAT RE-RUNS OF THE ORIGINAL BBC TV SHOW ARE NOW BEING SHOWN ON A FRIDAY NIGHT ON BBC4 – FOR MORE INFO: www.bbc.co.uk/programmes

Jimmy Cricket performed in the Good Old Days at the City Varieties Music Hall in Leeds

Joining bid to save local pavilion

Jimmy Cricket performed at the Ipswich Corn Exchange on May 8 as part of The Good  Old Days of Music Hall and VarietyTop entertainer Jimmy Cricket has thrown his weight behind saving a local theatre.

The famous Irish comedian told Ipswich Star and East Anglian Daily Times journalist Wayne Savage he had sent an email in support of Felixstowe’s Spa Pavilion.

In an article which was published in both newspapers, Jimmy said: “I got an email saying there were two consortiums that wanted to take over but had been turned down by the council, but they were amalgamating and wanted to turn it into a community-type theatre to help young people develop their theatrical skills and for disabled people and would I get behind their pitch.

“I said with pleasure and emailed off an endorsement. It would be a crime to
demolish it.”

Jimmy was in the region last week when he performed at the Ipswich Corn
Exchange as part of The Good Old Days of Music Hall and Variety.

He was supported in the 8 May production by a company of singers and stars of TV and radio, including Shep’s Banjo Boys – who have played at the London Palladium – plus comedy and speciality acts.