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Jim Davidson
Birth name Cameron James Davidson
Born 13 December 1953 (1953-12-13) (age 56)
Kidbrooke, London, England
Medium Stand-up, television
Nationality British
Years active 1974–present
Spouse Sue Walpole (1971–72) (divorced)
Julie Gullick (1981–86) (divorced)
Alison Holloway (1987–88) (divorced)
Tracy Hilton (1990–2000) (divorced)

Jim Davidson OBE (born Cameron James Davidson on 13 December 1953) is an English comedian, actor and television presenter. He has been made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire for services to entertainment, particularly of British soldiers in conflict zones.

Contents

Biography

Davidson was born in Kidbrooke, London and attended Kidbrooke Park Primary School, Blackheath and St Austen's School in Charlton. Having impressed some acquaintances of his father with impressions of celebrities, he was chosen to appear in Ralph Reader's Gang Show at the Golders Green Hippodrome aged 12 and appeared on television in the Billy Cotton Band Show. He also briefly attended a stage school in Woolwich.

Upon leaving school he was a drummer for pub bands and worked as: a supermarket shelf stacker, a messenger, air ticket clerk for a travel agency, a cashier for Wall's ice cream, for Rank Xerox (having trained as a reprographics operator) and as a window cleaner.[1]

He found his way into show business, when as a regular in a pub in Woolwich, he undertook an act after the regular comedian hadn’t turned up. He then became a regular on the London comedy circuit, and first auditioned for Opportunity Knocks in 1975, unsuccessfully; he was told by Hughie Green to "go away". His audition for New Faces was more successful, and he proceeded to win the show by one point, and then to come second in the overall contest.[2]

Television

His success was quickly followed by many appearances on television, including What's On Next and several series of his own show The Jim Davidson Show which ran for five complete series and won Davidson the TV Times award as "Funniest Man On Television". Davidson made a few appearances on Tiswas in 1977, and claimed in 2004 to have been the first Phantom Flan Flinger on that programme.[3] He starred in high rating TV sitcoms Up the Elephant and Round the Castle and Home James. His one man show for Thames, Stand Up Jim Davidson was recorded on stage at London's Royalty Theatre.[4]

In recent years, he is most famous for his television roles on Big Break and successor to Bruce Forsyth as host of the Generation Game. In September 2007, Davidson appeared in the third series of Hell's Kitchen in the UK, and in May 2008 he appeared in the BBCs Comedy Map of Britain.

Digital channel Virgin 1 have signed him for a new one-off show to be aired in the summer of 2009. "So You Think I'm An Arsehole" will see Davidson confronting the British public to find out why they think he is so offensive. The director of programmes at Virgin 1 said in a press release, "To many, Jim's views are deeply offensive, but he doesn't understand why. But now, I do have to take my hat off to him as he is prepared to go out of his comfort zone to immerse himself with the very people he has been accused of prejudice against, and question whether he needs to change his views." [5]

Touring show

Davidson's touring is developed from his original London Comedy circuit show, for pub and club audiences. Aimed at a very different audience to his television work containing a lot more blue language, which he promotes as Adult Entertainment. This has also developed into his Adult Pantomime work, including productions with titles such as: Boobs in the Wood and SINderella - both of which have played to sell-out audiences. He has also, for the first time in 14 years, in 2006, refused to play Great Yarmouth, stating that the resort was "full of overweight people in flip-flops and fat children of all colours and no class".[6] The inhabitants of the town took this as a personal affront though he was referring to the tourists.

Music

Davidson has also produced some musical pieces of work, mostly produced in conjunction with Greg Lake of the Emerson Lake and Palmer progressive rock group. These include albums of a contemporary nature, as well as Scottish ballads and folk songs.

Business

Davidson also has several business interests. He set up a company which either bought or leased several seaside theatres or piers, including the Winter Gardens building in Great Yarmouth, converting it into a nightclub. After losing £700,000 on a pantomime production of Dick Whittington and a meeting with the Inland Revenue in 2003, he has sold the company.[7] He has also been quick to take advantage of the video and DVD age, and all of his works are available on back catalogue.

Forces and Charity

Davidson has put much effort into entertaining the British Armed Forces, and set up a charity to fund shows to provide entertainment for British soldiers living abroad. As well as extensive touring, he has starred in a number of his own TV specials for ITV and BBC, including one from HMS Invincible, Homeward Bound for Christmas and in 2002 he made the Jim Davidson Falklands Bound which was screened during the 20th Anniversary of the end of the hostilities. During the Iraq conflict he was trapped on a cargo plane to entertain the British soldiers for no fee, and in 2003 Jim Davidson Basra Bound was screened on BBC One and further BBC TV Specials of his live stand-up show followed. He has made five visits to the Falkland Islands, twice to the Republic of Macedonia, and at least six times to Iraq. His is presently the Chairman of The British Forces Foundation charity which aims to promote the well-being and esprit de corps of service personnel. Davidson was awarded the OBE in the New Year's Honours List 2001 for his services to charity.[8]

A former Master Freemason of the Chelsea Lodge, England (resigned),[9] Davidson was the founding Master of British Forces Foundation (Lodge) No. 9725.[9][10]

Personal life

In Davidson's first autobiography The Full Monty[11] (1993), he frankly talked about his violent and abusive behaviour towards his wife: "We’re like a couple of boxers. On the first occasion, I poked her in the eye by accident. I actually went for the mouth. Thank heaven I missed, I’d have fallen in. I just took a playful punch. Unfortunately I caught her completely wrong. The second time I gave her a shiner. I threw a bunch of keys which whacked her in the eye. Just for a giggle she kept blackening it up to make it look worse."

In his second autobiography Close to the Edge[12] (2001) he writes tales of his four marriages and six year battle against alcoholism. His ex-wife Alison Holloway's new husband Burt Kearns had plotted to have Davidson knee-capped as a result of his confession of battering Holloway.[13] .

Davidson's numerous marriages spurred Sir John Mills to send a telegram on the occasion of his fourth, which read simply: "Will It Last?".[14] The marriage ended ten years later. Davidson subsequently returned the compliment to Sir John and his wife on their 60th Wedding Anniversary, with a telegram bearing the same wording.[15]

Davidson was quoted in July 2004 as saying, in light of footballer Ray Parlour's divorce: "As much as I love my girlfriend, I will not be making her my fifth wife."[16]

In 2004, Davidson, a self-professed Conservative, publicly left the United Kingdom for the tax-free haven of Dubai in protest of the Labour Party government. At the time, he declared that "I may as well go to Dubai and be an ethnic minority there than wait five years till I become one here."[17] He has subsequently been quoted as attributing his move as being motivated primarily by the tax-free status afforded him.

Jim Davidson is a passionate supporter of his local football club Charlton Athletic.

Spouses and Children

  • Sue Walpole (1971–1972; divorced), 1 child
  • Julie Gullick (1981–1986; divorced), 1 child
  • Alison Holloway (1987–1988; divorced)
  • Tracy Hilton (1990–2000; divorced), 3 children

Taxation and bankruptcy

On 27 August 2003, after a meeting with the Inland Revenue Davidson claimed he spent £10,000 a week on back taxes, commission to agents, maintenance and school fees, and a £2.2 million mortgage: "My problem is money - I used to earn five times as much as I do now, but I still pay the same maintenance, school fees and commission to agents," he told Radio Times magazine.[7]

On 6 July 2006, after failing to keep up payments on £1.4million back tax bill he had reduced to £700,000, he was declared bankrupt.[7][18]

Controversies

Davidson has been known to make offensive jokes about ethnic minorities, homosexuals and disabled people in his stand-up act, which has made him a subject of negative media coverage and frequent criticism. The Shropshire Star reported that much of it has focused upon his divorce payments, income tax bills, and court orders for cancelled shows, with a tendency to concentrate upon where his comedy is ill-received rather than where it is well-received.[19] He once refused to go on stage in Plymouth because some disabled ticket holders were in the front row, quoting him as saying, "I've got nothing against disabled people but part of my act is taking the piss out of the front row. Just imagine if I had have ripped it out of them? The papers would have had a field day. Instead I asked them to move but they wouldn't budge an inch." The disabled people in question responded they had bought front row tickets, were aware of the nature of his act and, on that basis, saw no reason why they should move. Some critics later said that a feature of a great comedian is to be able to tailor his act to suit any audience.[20] Martin Fletcher describes Davidson as "extraordinarily foul-mouthed, racist, and sexist" and a "throwback";[21] whilst quoting Garry Bushell describing Davidson as a "family entertainer". In a Channel 4 poll of the 100 Worst Britons, Davidson came in at #20.[22]

In 2002, Davidson was escorted from the grounds of the Marriott Bristol Royal Hotel, England, after it was alleged that he had become confrontational and abusive to staff.[23]

In 2004, comedian Jimmy Carr threatened legal action against Davidson, accusing Davidson of having plagiarised some of his comic material.[24]

In October 2006, he was again accused of making insensitive jokes about cancer sufferers, blind people, a woman in a wheelchair, and the recent trial over the murder of Damilola Taylor, prompting a woman to walk out of the show in disgust. Davidson vehemently denied the charge, claiming that jokes about blind people and cancer sufferers would have merited a "mass walkout". He also said the comments about the Damilola Taylor trial were taken out of context: "My actual remark was that I thought the killers should be locked away forever. And if she objects to that then that is her prerogative."[25]

In 2007, Davidson was called on to defend the good character of close friend Brian Brendan Wright, one of Britain's biggest cocaine barons. Despite Davidson testifying to Wright's good character, the judge concluded that Wright was in fact "a master criminal, manipulative, influential and powerful," and sentenced him to 30 years in prison.[26]

In September 2007, on celebrity reality TV programme Hell's Kitchen, Brian Dowling mentioned comments made by Jim Davidson about his homosexuality. Davidson asked Dowling, "Are you on our side?" when referring to whether or not he would be participating for the boys or girls team, mentioned the word "shirtlifter" in front of him, and repeatedly asked if he'd like to try on one of John Virgo's lovely waistcoats, of which - despite his financial straits - he is still in possession. Davidson later described himself ironically as a "homophobic arsehole". The programme was aired on ITV on September 4, 2007.[27] On September 10, 2007 Davidson was asked to leave Hell's Kitchen following further problems with Dowling.[27]

After Davidson's exit from the programme, the BBC reported that the broadcasting watchdog Ofcom had received 46 complaints over Davidson's "bullying" of Dowling. Ofcom concluded that nothing unacceptable had happened. ITV1, the channel which had originally broadcast the programme, issued a statement, regretting the Big Break presenter's "unacceptable remarks".[28]

In December 2007, Davidson again courted controversy when he chose to make a joke about rape victims, while on stage at Newark Palace Theatre, in Nottinghamshire. The local paper, the Nottingham Evening Post stated that: "there were moments when he did stray too far over the line (most notably with a routine on rape)."[29]

DVD and VHS releases

Title Release date
VHS DVD
Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed and Something **** 1 June 1992 -
Stand Up Jim Davidson 15 March 1993 -
The Truth, The Whole Truth... 1 November 1993 -
To Boldly Go... 7 November 1994 -
Xposed 3 November 1997 [30]
Jim Davidson and "The Boys" 1 October 1999 [30]
Red, White & Very Blue 13 November 2000 13 November 2000
Uncovered and Uncensored 12 November 2001 12 November 2001
Falklands Special 22 April 2002 22 April 2002
Jim's Silver Jubilee 11 November 2002 11 November 2002
Vote for Jim 10 November 2003 10 November 2003
Full On! 7 November 2005 7 November 2005
In Your Face! - 6 November 2006
The Devil Rides Out - 5 November 2007
On the Offensive - 3 November 2008
If I Ruled the World - 16 November 2009
The Collection (Box Set: "Silver Jubilee", "Red Whiteand Very Blue" and "In Your Face") - 6 November 2006
Bulging Package (Box Set: "Xposed", "Jim Davidson and The Boys" and "On the Offensive") - 3 November 2008

Credits

Television

Film

Music

  • "Watching Over You"
  • "A Time for Remembering"
  • "Love Please Stop Leaving Me"
  • "Trapped In The Closet"

Theatre

  • Davidson wrote and performed in the "adult" pantomime Sinderella with '60s singer Jess Conrad, comedians Dave Lee, Roger Kitter, Dave Kristian, Mia Carla, Charlie Drake and balloon dancers The Oddballs.
  • Boobs in the Wood 1999 an adult pantomime performed with Victor Spinetti.
  • In 2004 Sinderella Comes Again toured again with a new script and was released on DVD and video.
  • 2006; Jim played the lead role in the pantomime Dick Whittington at the Orchard Theatre in Dartford

References

  1. ^ Jim Davidson (2002-08-01). Close to the Edge. Ebury Press. ISBN 0-09-188312-1. 
  2. ^ Jack Kibble-White and Steve Williams. "Part Eighteen: I Heard a Seat in the Stalls Go "Gerdonk!"". THE GLORY GAME - THE RISE AND RISE OF SATURDAY NIGHT TELLY. http://www.offthetelly.co.uk/lightentertainment/glorygame/part18.htm. Retrieved 2005-09-23. 
  3. ^ "Where is Jim Davidson?". Pies, Gunge, and Water at Tiswas Online. http://www.tiswasonline.com/pies_gunge_water.php?section=water#10. Retrieved 2005-09-23. 
  4. ^ Proboards104
  5. ^ [1]
  6. ^ missingauthor (2004-04-24). "Davidson ready to make Tories laugh". The Daily Telegraph (missingpublisher). http://www.telegraph.co.uk/opinion/main.jhtml?xml=/opinion/2004/04/24/dp2401.xml#4. 
  7. ^ a b c missingauthor (2003-08-27). "Davidson "nearly made bankrupt"". BBC News. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/showbiz/3184883.stm. 
  8. ^ http://www.gazettes-online.co.uk/download.asp?docid=486719
  9. ^ a b Our "Black Sheep"
  10. ^ http://www.ugle.org.uk/masonry/famous-masons.htm UGLE's "Famous" page
  11. ^ Jim Davidson (1994-10-06). The Full Monty. Time Warner Paperbacks. ISBN 0751507377. 
  12. ^ Jim Davidson (2002-08-01). Close to the Edge. Ebury Press. ISBN 0091883121. 
  13. ^ missingauthor (missingdate). "missingtitle". missingpublisher. http://www.tabloidbaby.com/Book/Updates/kneecap.htm. 
  14. ^ missingauthor. "missingtitle". missingpublisher. http://marriage.about.com/od/entertainmen1/a/johnmills_3.htm. 
  15. ^ "Sir John Mills renews wedding vows". BBC News. 2001-01-16. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/1119790.stm. 
  16. ^ missingauthor (missingdate). "missingtitle". The Daily Mirror (Mirror Group). http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/tonyparsons/tm_column_date=12072004-name_index.html. 
  17. ^ "Jim's not laughing any more". London: The Times. 2004-05-23. http://property.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_style/property/article431598.ece. 
  18. ^ missingauthor (missingdate). "missingtitle". BBC News. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/5153936.stm. 
  19. ^ Rous, Nathan (2005-08-22). "Still space for a blue comedian?". Shropshire Star. http://www.shropshirestar.com/show_article.php?aID=36439. 
  20. ^ missingauthor (missingdate). "missingtitle". missingpublisher. http://www.funny.co.uk/news/art_75-1276-Davidson-Refuses-To-Perform-For-Disabled-People.html. 
  21. ^ Martin Fletcher (2005-06-06). "Voyeurism, sexism and non-celebrity: reality TV eats itself". Socialist Democracy. http://www.socialistdemocracy.org/RecentArticles/RecentRealityTVEatsItself.html. 
  22. ^ missingauthor (missingdate). "missingtitle". Channel 4. http://www.channel4.com/entertainment/tv/microsites/G/greatest/britons/results.html. 
  23. ^ "Hotel boss asks comic to leave". BBC News. 12 December 2002. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/england/2566275.stm. 
  24. ^ "Stand-ups square up over fat joke". BBC News. 5 August 2004. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/entertainment/3539246.stm. 
  25. ^ It's strife, Jim... : News 2006 : Chortle : The UK Comedy Guide
  26. ^ "Cocaine baron jailed for 30 years". BBC News. 3 April 2007. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/england/london/6520543.stm. 
  27. ^ a b "And Brian Thought His Biggest Challenge Would Be Learning To Cook!". Brian Dowling's Official website. September, 2007. http://www.briandowling.biz/newsfeed/show_news.php?subaction=showfull&id=1188955963&archive=&template=HomepageHK. 
  28. ^ "Davidson exits after TV gay row". BBC. September, 2007. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/entertainment/6988676.stm. 
  29. ^ "REVIEW: JIM DAVIDSON, NEWARK PALACE THEATRE". Nottingham Post. December, 2007. http://www.thisisnottingham.co.uk/displayNode.jsp?nodeId=133942&command=displayContent&sourceNode=244910&contentPK=19147348&folderPk=103546&pNodeId=244911. 
  30. ^ a b DVD is only available as part of "Jim Davidson's Bulging Package" DVD

External links

Preceded by
Bruce Forsyth
Host of The Generation Game
1995-2002
Succeeded by
N/A







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