VIDEO: Watch Jimmy Cricket chat to Phil Hewitt/SussexWorld about his 50 years in showbusiness
and live on Freeview channel 276
One of the UK’s most loved Irish comedians, he’s had a remarkable career, having made four series for Central Television in the mid-1980s, plus his own BBC Radio 2 series in the 1990s, alongside numerous television appearances and Royal Variety Shows over the decades.
Jimmy is looking forward to returning to the Royal Hippodrome Theatre: “It is wonderful being able to return to Eastbourne in one of my favourite theatre locations around the country, and I will be returning shortly after manager Alex Adams oversees the refurbishment of this wonderful theatre as he establishes it as one of the best for live entertainment in the country.”
Also on the show is Dance Academy’s The Shining Stars under the direction of Miss Claire, singer Mike Lee with his tribute to Matt Monro plus May Marian. As for Jimmy, he will take his audience on a journey through his stand-up comedy – plus surprise routines throughout the show.
Jimmy reckons there have been a number of factors in his longevity, not least his Christian faith which ensures that anyone can come along to a Jimmy Cricket show knowing it will be completely clean, family entertainment – and that has always been crucial to Jimmy.
“But I also think you've just got to keep changing. You've just got to keep moving.”
His famous letters from his “Mammy” endure: “Originally when I did it, it was ‘Dear son, since you left Ireland and gone away, you have grown another foot so I am sending you three socks.’ Now it is ‘Dear son, the whole family bought me a flat screen TV but sadly I don't like it because all the ornaments keep falling off the top.”
It's about moving with the times – and it's about supporting the venues. Jimmy will happily tell you plenty about the Royal Hippodrome in Eastbourne. The point is that he takes an interest in his venues. The audience is really important to him but so too is keeping theatres alive. As he says he has been so saddened by the news that a theatre local to him in Oldham is to close, a place he has played many times: “We have got to keep supporting the theatres and helping them to keep going.”
Jimmy dates his 50 years in the business from starting out as a redcoat. He had got sacked numerous times from his factory jobs for telling jokes: “And someone said to me ‘Become a redcoat. It is a job that is tailor made for you and your jokes.’ And it was fantastic I got the job and transferred to Clacton and did a couple of seasons there and then I did Blackpool. It was like a performing arts and drama course. Once a week the redcoats put on a show and you had to entertain an audience of 3,000. You rehearsed for it and you learnt your trade. It was literally learning on the hoof and it was a great way to learn.”
Jimmy Cricket – 50 Years in Showbusiness comes to the Royal Hippodrome, Eastbourne BN21 3PF on Saturday, April 1 for a 7.30pm show. Tickets are adults £13.50; concessions (children & seniors) £9.50 on 01323 802020 or online at the theatre’s website royalhippodrome.com