Jimmy CRICKET (1945-)

Jimmy Cricket This Is Your Life

programme details...

  • Edition No: 734
  • Subject No: 728
  • Broadcast date: Wed 4 Nov 1987
  • Broadcast time: 7.00-7.30pm
  • Recorded: Tue 29 Sep 1987
  • Venue: Teddington Studios
  • Series: 28
  • Edition: 4
  • Code name: Stump

on the guest list...

  • Jim Bowen
  • Nicholas Smith
  • Mick Miller
  • Albert Sutcliffe
  • Carl Sutcliffe
  • Bob Todd
  • May - wife
  • Dale - son
  • Frank - son
  • Jamie - daughter
  • Katie - daughter
  • Bill Martin
  • John - brother
  • Frances - sister-in-law
  • Brendan - nephew
  • Peter - nephew
  • Brian - brother
  • Gabrielle - sister-in-law
  • Brian Jnr - nephew
  • Angela - niece
  • Kieran - brother
  • Mary - sister-in-law
  • Paul - nephew
  • Mary - sister
  • Geraldine Core
  • Frances Core
  • Ed Core
  • Fergus Woods
  • Brendan O'Gorman
  • Ed Smith
  • Liam McCann
  • Denny O'Hagan
  • Peter Nicoll
  • Chas Elliott
  • Margaret - sister-in-law
  • Roy Hudd
  • Evelyn - sister-in-law
  • Filmed tributes:
  • Mrs Core
  • John McAllister
  • Liam Morrison
  • John Bradley
  • Dennis Taylor
  • Brendan Taylor

production team...

  • Researchers: Caroline Blackadder, Sue Green
  • Writer: Roy Bottomley
  • Directors: Stuart Hall, Terry Yarwood
  • Associate Producer: Brian Klein
  • Producer: Malcolm Morris
  • names above in bold indicate subjects of This Is Your Life
related pages...

It's a Funny Old Life

it's all about the comedy

A Life Remembered

tributes to the original presenter


the show's fifty year history

Birth of Life

the genesis of the programme

The Night of 1000 Lives

a celebration of a thousand editions

Titles and Music

the iconic titles and theme tunes

Obituaries: Eamonn Andrews

Press coverage of the death and memorial service of Eamonn Andrews

The day we lost The Big Red Book

Further secrets revealed by producer Malcolm Morris

Dennis Taylor


Jimmy Cricket recalls his experience of This Is Your Life in an exclusive interview recorded in March 2010

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Screenshots of Jimmy Cricket This Is Your Life - and Jimmy Cricket photographed at his home with his big red book in March 2010

Lancashire Evening News article: Jimmy Cricket This Is Your Life

Lancashire Evening News 28 May 2018

I was 'Big Red Booked' by Eamonn – and so was Mrs C!

I was once the subject of the TV show This Is Your Life. Of course, I didn't know I was going to be the subject. That was the whole point of the programme.

For younger readers, let me explain. This Is Your Life was a popular TV programme in the 70s and 80s in which successful people, usually in the fields of sport or entertainment, were surprised by a man carrying a big red book. The man in question was a fellow Irishman, Eamonn Andrews. Eamonn had an amiable, easy-going charm. After the initial excitement, the subject was whisked off to a studio where, for the next 30 minutes, their family and friends would applaud their achievements and generally say nice things about them.

Now that I've set the scene, let me tell you what happened in my case. Unbeknown to me, Mrs Cricket and the programme's researchers worked together to plan out who was going to be on the show. Obviously my children, who were quite small at the time, were on. Then my family came over from Ireland, along with one of my first bosses.

The big emotional moment was to come at the end, when Mrs Cricket's sister Evelyn was to fly in all the way from Australia.

Let me explain. I first met my wife May in 1972, when she arrived at Pontin's holiday camp in Morecambe with her two sisters, Margaret and Evelyn. They were working as waitresses at the camp. I was a Bluecoat host / entertainer. May and Margaret used to get up and sing in the bar after their restaurant duties. With their lovely voices and natural harmonies they were a hit with both the holidaymakers and the staff.

When the season finished, we worked out a plan where we would try and get work around the clubs and pubs of Manchester. I as a fledgling stand-up comedian, and the girls as a singing duo, the "Tweedie Sisters". As Evelyn was the only one who could drive, she was a natural choice to be the roadie. However, as the work we got was either for nothing or poorly paid and the banger of a car kept breaking down on the way to the gigs, Evelyn quite rightly didn't see much future in this arrangement and headed off to Oz.

Fast forward to 1987, I'd just written a book, Letters from My Mammy, and my agent rings to tell me the publishers want to launch it at a building site in London. She suggests I pop down to London the day before.

And that's when it happened! I was coming out of Oxford Circus tube station in the centre of London and who do I bump into, Evelyn. Quick as a flash she puts her fingers to her lips and whispers: "Don't tell May you saw me. I'll be up in Rochdale in a few days to see her".

I bought in to the fact that Evelyn had come over for a surprise holiday. I genuinely didn't believe I'd achieved enough in the entertainment field to warrant a programme bigging up my exploits. However, when the programme makers found out I'd bumped into my sister-in-law from Australia in a London street, they couldn't believe it. Right away they held an emergency meeting as I'd scuppered the plans...

But instead of cancelling the show, they turned things around slightly. When I arrived at the building site, Eamonn appeared with his Red Book, but also with Evelyn by his side. After telling me I hadn't been seeing things the night before, he mentioned that May had been told during a production meeting that her sister would be unable to come over from Australia because of ill health. He wanted me to surprise my wife by telling her that her sister had indeed flown over all the way from Australia to see us all.

So there you are folks. It was probably the only This Is Your Life, where the subject turned the tables on their partner, regarding a long lost relative.

Roy Bottomley This Is Your Life book

Scriptwriter Roy Bottomley recalls this edition of This Is Your Life in his book, This Is Your Life: The Story of Television's Famous Big Red Book...

We fast-forward to November 1987. Though we had only just started to record a new season of twenty-six programmes, Grainne had persuaded Eamonn to take a short, health-boosting break in Lanzarote to celebrate their thirty-sixth wedding anniversary.

This was to be immediately after we had surprised former Wales and British Lions scrum-half Cliff Morgan, now head of Outside Broadcasts at the BBC, at the Hilton Hotel in Park Lane, venue for a BBC Sport celebration dinner.

But Eamonn was having severe respiratory problems and he was rushed to the private Cromwell Road hospital. He insisted he would do the show.

'Only from a wheelchair,' said a nurse.

We postponed the programme. Nevertheless, Eamonn still sent for scripts to read in his hospital bed. With Grainne, he even watched that week's edition of the Life.

It was Irish comedian Jimmy Cricket, the last Life Eamonn would ever see.

He could afford a special chuckle, because we nearly lost that show.In the middle of Oxford Circus the day before the programme, Jimmy accidentally bumped into our surprise fly-in from Australia.

I broke the news to Eamonn in the office at Thames Studios at Teddington.

He shook his head in disbelief.

'A ten million to one chance,' he sighed. 'It could only happen to an Irishman. What do we do?' I invented an excuse for the visitor to have been there without contacting him. 'Jesus, Mary, and Joseph,' muttered Eamonn.

Whispered our Catholic production secretary: 'For a Catholic, that's serious.

In the Cromwell Hospital he saw his final credit roll: This Is Your Life. Presented by Eamonn Andrews. Grainne kissed him on the cheek and left him to sleep.

My own sleep was broken at 3 a.m. on 5 November 1987, to tell me the Big Fella would never wake up.

Series 28 subjects

Alan Freeman | Roy Barraclough | Georg Solti | Jimmy Cricket | Kitty Godfree | Tom McClean | Jane Rossington