An Interview with Jim Davidson
- Credit: Archant
Jim Davidson OBE is celebrating four decades in show business with his new stage play 40 Years On, which is showing at Southend’s Cliffs Pavilion this month. Janice Walker finds out more
Born in Blackheath in London in 1953, Jim Davidson had his first taste of entertaining at the age of 12 when he was chosen to appear in the famous Ralph Reader’s Gang Show at the Golders Green Hippodrome.
‘I was always the funny kid at school,’ says Jim. ‘It helped me to fit in and stopped me being bullied.’
Jim began his career doing stand-up comedy in pubs and clubs around London, but winning New Faces in 1976, catapulted him to stardom. His television shows have included the Jim Davidson Show, Up The Elephant And Around The Castle and Home James, while his easy-going wit and personality brought him success hosting prime time TV shows including Big Break and The Generation Game.
As well as headlining and producing scores of sell-out performances in London’s West End and prestigious venues across the country, Jim has produced West End hit shows including Buddy and Great Balls of Fire.
There is a serious side to Jim Davidson, though. For many years he has been involved in various charities supporting the Armed Forces.
In 2000 he founded the British Forces Foundation, which provides entertainment for serving personnel, and in 2014 he co-founded Care After Combat, which gives professional assistance for the well-being of veterans and their families.
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Jim is, understandably, very passionate about the charity: ‘I work full-time at Care After Combat and fit my comedy in around it to relax and earn some money,’ he explains.
‘Supporting veterans with alcohol and substance misuse problems and reducing the numbers in the criminal justice system of re-offending ex-service personnel are our key missions and our mentoring project Phoenix has a 100% success rate, to date.’
When you consider just how much Jim has done, and continues to do, in his life, you might question how he crams a tale of 40 years in show business into one evening’s entertainment. ‘I left out my dodgy marriages and not getting on with people!’ answers Jim. ‘The show keeps changing as there is so much to cover.’
Funny, poignant and at times searingly honest, 40 Years On looks back at Jim’s triumphs and tragedies, from his breakthrough on New Faces in 1976, through to winning Celebrity Big Brother in 2014. Jim takes audiences on a trip down memory lane, regaling them with never-before-heard stories, as he reminisces on the highs, lows and controversies of a unique life spent in the public eye.
‘I’m really looking forward to performing the show at Southend – the audience will be my kind of people. It’s a bit like coming home. If you’re coming to see it, you’ll be blown away. It’s different from my normal stand-up shows; the production, the lighting, it gives it an expensive feel. It’s more than just laughs. To me, it’s like my best of album!’
Find out more
Tickets for 40 Years On are on sale now.
Visit www.jimdavidson.org.uk for more details