||This biographical article needs additional citations for verification. (April 2010)|
Carrott in 2006.
|Birth name||Robert Norman Davis|
14 March 1945 |
Acocks Green, Birmingham, Warwickshire, England, UK
|Years active||1973–2005 (Singer)
|Spouse||Hazel Jackson (1973–present)|
Jasper Carrott OBE (born Robert Norman Davis on 14 March 1945) is an English comedian, actor, television presenter and personality.
Born in Shaftmoor Lane, Acocks Green (which he would later describe as sounding like the address for "the home of a professional rapist"), Birmingham, Carrott was educated at Acocks Green Primary School and Moseley Grammar School. He then worked as a trainee buyer at a city centre department store called the Beehive with schoolfriend Bev Bevan.
Rise to fame
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In February 1969 he started his own folk club, "The Boggery", in nearby Solihull with his friend Les Ward. Here, Carrott performed folk songs and MC duties. Before long, his banter with the audience overtook the actual songs; he became known more as a comedian than a singer.
He also worked as a musical agent (in partnership with John Starkey, who became his manager in 1974 until 1992), as Fingimigig, managing (among other acts) Harvey Andrews. He toured the UK, appearing at rugby clubs. He independently recorded an album, financed by himself, called Jasper Carrot – In the Club, which he sold from the back of his van. It was this album that contained the original "Magic Roundabout". Released in 1973, the LP is quite rare, although it mainly consists of material later used in his first three official LPs (such as "Hare Krishna", "Car Insurance", "Bastity Chelt", and "Hava Nagila") plus the Fred Wedlock song "The Folker".
He had a surprise UK Top 5 chart hit in August 1975 with the novelty record "Funky Moped", written by Chris Rohmann and produced by Jeff Lynne. The B-side of this single was a risqué monologue parodying the animated children's TV series The Magic Roundabout. This track was banned by the BBC, which is widely believed to have contributed to the single's commercial success, which in turn, ironically, led to his appearance on the BBC's Top of the Pops.
By the late 1970s, Carrott had developed a number of anecdotal sketches which he still performs in similar form some thirty years on. Often these sketches purported to be auto-biographical; many of them celebrate Birmingham accent and culture, including his support of his beloved Birmingham City.
His sketches were captured on records such as Jasper Carrott Rabbitts on and on and on... and Carrott in Notts which were recordings of live performances. Notable hits were "Bastity Chelt" a complete song in Spoonerism, "The Football Match" describing a visit to Old Trafford, "The Nutter on the Bus" including the well known cry of "Has anybody seen my camel?"), "The Mole" ("There's only one way to get rid of a mole – blow its bloody head off!") and "Zits" – an explanation of an American slang word for spots that brought the word into use in Britain.
In 1979 he published A Little Zit on the Side, which purported to be a humorous autobiography. The follow-up, Sweet and Sour Labrador, mixed sections of his stand-up routines with similar autobiographical material, much of it related to his world travels.
Jasper also was one of the compères for the Birmingham Heart Beat Charity Concert 1986, which featured many local bands such as Electric Light Orchestra and the Moody Blues, with a finale that included George Harrison from the Beatles.
On 15 September 2007 he was inducted into the Birmingham Walk of Stars at a presentation as part of the Arts Fest 2007 celebrations. The award was presented by the Lord Mayor of Birmingham. Carrott is the second inductee, following Ozzy Osbourne.
His first appearance on television was a half hour show for BBC Midlands on 11 August 1975 in a programme about local football called "The Golden Game". Then in 1976, A Half Hour Mislaid with Jasper Carrott recorded at Pebble Mill. His big break came two years later when he was invited by Michael Grade to make a pilot for LWT. It was well liked by Grade; a five further shows were recorded and became his first TV series, An Audience with Jasper Carrott, in 1978, this successful partnership with LWT lasted until 1981, The Unrecorded Jasper Carrott (1979) and Beat the Carrott (1981) are the two best known live stand-up performances from his time with LWT.
This was followed by a move to the BBC and Carrott's Lib – a Saturday night comedy show broadcast live – and then by a string of BBC shows. The most notable of these were Carrott's Commercial Breakdown, which broadcast weird and wonderful adverts from around the world, and the sketch and stand-up shows Carrott Confidential, 24 Carrott Gold, The Jasper Carrott Trial and Canned Carrott, some of which also gave TV exposure to the comedy partnership of Steve Punt and Hugh Dennis.
Canned Carrott also featured a regular police drama spoof called The Detectives, co-starring Robert Powell, which was spun off into its own series. In 2002–2004, he starred in the sitcom All About Me.
He performed in several of the Secret Policeman's Ball charity concerts for Amnesty International, and returned to the stage in 2004 for several sell out shows at the National Indoor Arena in Birmingham featuring classic routines from his career. He returned to a singing role for the musical Go Play Up Your Own End (written by Malcolm Stent, songs by Harvey Andrews) in 2005.
In 2005, he appeared in and put on the first of Jasper Carrott's Rock With Laughter concerts. He appeared alongside performers such as Bill Bailey, Bonnie Tyler, Lenny Henry, Bobby Davro, the Lord of the Dance troupe and Bev Bevan. This has become a regular event at the NEC in Birmingham, usually staged in December and some times alternating with his "Jasper Carrott's Christmas Crackers" events, but there have also been a few summer shows too.
In the summer of 2007, Jasper hosted the Endemol-produced game show Golden Balls for ITV1. Promising ratings led to a recommission, and the second series began in January 2008. A third series began in April 2008, and a fourth series started in October 2008. A fifth and six series were shown in 2009.
He was the host of the Sunday night interactive national pub quiz, Cash Inn, and also an investor in the company, operated by Innterplay. This company has since entered administration.
He was 20th in Channel 4's 100 Greatest Stand-Up Comedians show.
Jasper Carrott has written three humorous autobiographical paperbacks: A Little Zit on the Side (1979), Sweet and Sour Labarador (1982) and Carrott Roots...and Other Myths (1986). He also wrote an odd novel called 'Shop! or A Store is Born'.
Also of interest is a book by Jasper's former manager John Starkey, Jasper and Me (1993; Etsiketsi Books).
Jasper Carrott turned his hand to business as part-owner of the production company Celador, makers of the internationally successful Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? In 2006, he and wife Hazel sold their shares in the company for over £10m as part of a management buyout deal.
Personal life and interests
He is a proud supporter and former director of the football club Birmingham City. He was awarded an OBE in 2002. The University of Birmingham awarded him an honorary doctorate in 2004, following a similar award from Aston University in 1995
He currently resides near Solihull, in Darley Green, to the south of Dorridge. Carrott was a keen runner and supported his local Knowle Fun Run through sponsorship and publicity, including 2001 where he paid out several thousand pounds based on the £10 per person who beat him to the finish line.
He is also a long time patron and fundraiser for Sunfield Children's Home, a school for children with autism and complex learning needs. The school is located in the village of Clent just outside Stourbridge.
TV and filmography
- A Half Hour Mislaid with Jasper Carrott (BBC Midlands, 17 September 1976)
- An Audience With Jasper Carrott (LWT, 6 episodes, 6 January – 3 March 1978)
- The Unrecorded Jasper Carrott (LWT, live from the Theatre Royal Drury Lane, 18 February 1979)
- Carrott Gets Rowdie (LWT, 2 November 1980)
- Carrott Del Sol (Sago) (LWT, 2 January 1981)
- Beat the Carrott (LWT, live from the London Palladium, 18 September 1981)
- The Secret Policeman's Other Ball (Film, 1982)
- Carrott's Lib (BBC, 17 episodes, 2 series & 2 Specials, 2 October 1982 – 30 December 1983)
- Jasper Carrott – I've Got This Mole (short animated film, LWT, 23 December 1984)
- Jasper Carrott – Learner Driver(Mother in Law) (short animated film, unknown TX date)
- American Carrott (Channel 4/HBO, 19 January 1985)
- Carrott Confidential (BBC, 26 episodes, 2 series & 2 Specials, 3 January 1987 – 4 February 1989) (this includes an election special broadcast on BBC2, and a special trailer for the 2nd series, broadcast on Friday 15 January 1988, which took the form of a mini sketch with Jasper dressed as Anne Robinson on 'Pointless Views')
- Stand-up America (BBC, 6 episodes, 7 July – 11 August 1987)
- Jane and the Lost City (Heinrich / Herman / Hans) (Film, 1987)
- Carrott's Commercial Breakdown (BBC1, 29 December 1989)
- Canned Carrott (BBC, 12 episodes, 2 series, 17 January 1990 – 15 December 1992)
- 24 Carrott Gold (BBC, recorded live at Stratford Upon Avon, 28 December 1990)
- Carrott's Commercial Breakdown 2 (BBC, 27 December 1991)
- One Jasper Carrott (BBC, recorded live at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane, 28 December 1992)
- The Detectives (Bob Louis) (BBC, 30 episodes, 5 series & 1 Special, 27 January 1993 – 30 December 1997)
- Carrott's Commercial Breakdown 3 (BBC, 28 December 1993)
- Carrott-U-Like (BBC, 27 December 1994)
- Carrott's Commercial Breakdown 4 (BBC, 5 March 1996)
- The Jasper Carrott Trial (BBC, 6 episodes, 20 May – 26 June 1997) (based on the original BBC radio series)
- Jasper Carrott – Back to the Front (BBC, 6 episodes, 24 February – 31 March 1999)
- All About Me (Colin Craddock) (BBC, 22 episodes, 3 series, 8 March 2002 – 29 October 2004)
- 24 Carrott Gold: The Best of Jasper Carrott (BBC, recorded live at the NIC in Birmingham, 6 episodes, 6 February – March 2004)
- Golden Balls (Presenter) (ITV1, 18 June 2007 – 18 December 2009)
- The One Jasper Carrott (BBC, 9 January 2012)
- Jasper Carrott in the Club (live LP, Criminal Records 1973)
- Funky Moped/The Magic Roundabout (DJS 388, 7 inch single, DJM Records 1975)
- Jasper Carrott Rabbitts on and on and on.. (DJLPS 462/DJF 20462, live LP, DJM Records 1975)
- Disco Hits 75 (ADE P 18, compilation LP, Arcade Records 1975) (features Jaspers top 5 hit 'Funky Moped')
- 20 Original Top Hits (2475 501, compilation LP, Polystar Records 1975) (features Jaspers top 5 hit 'Funky Moped')
- Bickenhill Rovers Skin'ead Supporters Song/Car Insurance (DJS 649, 7 inch single, DJM Records 1976)
- Carrott in Notts (DJF 20482, live LP, DJM Records 1976)
- 12 Days of Christmas/Local Radio Promotion (DJS 10815, 7 inch single/DJR 18002, 12 inch single, DJM Records 1977)
- A Pain in the Arm (DJF 20518, live LP, DJM Records 1978)
- Disco Saturday Night 40 (PLD 8004, Double LP compilation, Pickwick Records 1978) (features Jaspers top 5 hit 'Funky Moped')
- The Best of Jasper Carrott (DJF 20549, live LP, DJM Record 1978)
- The Un-Recorded Jasper Carrott (DJF 20560, live at Drury Lane TV soundtrack LP, DJM Records 1979)
- BBC Fun At One (BBC REB 371, LP, BBC Records 1979)(features one track from Jasper 'Car Insurance')
- Made in Australia (L 375 16, live in Australia LP, DJM/Festival (Australia) 1980)
- 12 Days of Christmas (K-8144, 7 inch single, DJM/Festival (Australia) 1980)
- Beat the Carrott (DJF 20575, live at the London Palladium TV soundtrack LP, DJM Records 1981)
- The Secret Policeman's Other Ball (HAHA 6003, live LP, Springtime Records 1981)(features one track from Jasper 'Australian Motor Insurance Claims')
- We Are Most Amused:The Very Best of British Comedy (RTD 2067, Double LP, Ronco Records 1981)(features one track from Jasper 'Nutter on the Bus.)
- The Best of the Chat from Carrott's Lib (DJF 20580, live TV series soundtrack LP, DJM Records 1982)
- The Stun (Carrott Tells All) (DJF 20582, live LP, DJM Records 1983)
- Noel Edmonds presents Listen with Mother (BBC REC 525, LP, BBC Records 1984)(Jasper reads 'Gary the Greatest' by Margaret Joy from The Noel Edmonds Show 1982)
- Jasper Carrott in America (RNLP 817, live in America LP, Rhino Records 1985)
- Cosmic Carrott (Laugh 1, live in America LP, CBS Portrait Records 1986)
- Jasper Carrotts Condensed Classics (CCD 30, CD, Chrysalis/Dover Records 1991)
- The Complete Secret Policeman's Other Ball (ESDCD, 2-CD set, Island 1991) (features two tracks from Jasper 'Australian Motor Insurance Claims' and 'Confessions of a Van Driver')
- 24 Carrott Gold (EMI TC EMC 3655, live Stratford Upon Avon TV soundtrack 1990, Audio Cassette, EMI Records 1991)
- Canned Carrott For The Record (EMI 8 31146 2, 2 CD TV soundtrack, EMI Records 1994)
- Jasper Carrott-Back to the Front volume 1 (TLCD 04, TV soundtrack CD, Sound Entertainment 2000)
- Jasper Carrott-Back to the Front volume 2 (TLCD 05, TV Soundtrack CD, Sound Entertainment 2000)
- 24 Carrott Gold – The Best Of Jasper Carrott (TCLCD 58, live at the NIC Birmingham, Sound Entertainment 2004)
- Classic Carrott volume 1 – Canned Carrott For The Record (2CD TV soundtrack, Sound Entertainment 2005)
- Classic Carrott volume 2 – 24 Carrott Gold (TV soundtrack CD, Sound Entertainment 2005)
- Classic Carrott volume 3 – One Jasper Carrott (TLCD050, TV soundtrack CD, Sound Entertainment 2005)
- Carrott, Jasper. 1982. Sweet & Sour Labrador.
- Ed Doolan interviews...Jasper Carrott (a.k.a.The Other Side of Jasper Carrott) (2005) Radio BBC7
- "Biography". Jasper Carrott: The Official Website. Retrieved 15 November 2007.
- Go Play Up Your Own End, BBC review 2005, retrieved: 13/02/2011
- "Comic to get honorary doctorate". BBC News. 3 June 2004.
- Jasper Carrott Official Website
- BBC Comedy Guide lists his work.
- Jasper Carrott at the Internet Movie Database