Jimmy was born in Cookstown, Northern Ireland into an Irish family of four brothers and one sister, whose father was an undertaker. Jimmy left school at sixteen and spent his first two years in the big wide world working in a betting shop. This was before graduating to the Butlin’s Holiday Camp at Mosney, County Meath, for the summer season of 1966, where he worked as a Red Coat.
The following two summers found him at the Butlins Camp at Clacton, where he picked up more ideas and observations from fellow red coats and visiting artists. From this he started to put together a patter act to make the customers smile at Irish Blarney.
Over the next few years, by then living in Manchester, by day he was a door-to-door salesman, by night trying to get engagements around the pubs and clubs of the North.
Jimmy continued developing his character in the Northern Clubs. It was at this time that TV producers began to take note of this refreshing comic with the hilarious Irish logic. Jimmy reached the second finals of “Search for a Star” and then appeared before HRH The Princess Margaret on the next night live for ITV’s Royal Gala Show from the National Theatre. This really set the ball rolling for him.
In the next few years Jimmy made regular guest spots on television and radio, culminating in his own TV series for Central Television and his own radio series for BBC Radio Two.
When people see his name outside a theatre they know they can bring not only their children, but their aunts and granddads, confident in the knowledge that they’re going to see a first class show.