Jim Davidson (comedian)
|Birth name||James Cameron Davidson|
13 December 1953 |
Kidbrooke, London, England
(m. 1971–1972, divorced)
(m. 1981–1986, divorced)
(m. 1987–1988, divorced)
(m. 1990–2000, divorced)
James Cameron "Jim" Davidson, OBE (born 13 December 1953) is an English comedian and television host. He had his highest profile for his television roles on Big Break and as the host of The Generation Game as well as a successful career as a stand-up comedian. Despite early recognition and winning many awards throughout his long career, Davidson has become known for his use of 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 son of a Glaswegian father, 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.
Davidson 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.
His success was quickly followed by many more appearances on television, including What's On Next and several series of his own show The Jim Davidson Show (1979-82) which ran for five complete series and won Davidson the TV Times award as "Funniest Man On Television". He starred in TV sitcoms Up the Elephant and Round the Castle (1983-85) and Home James (1987-90). His one man show for Thames TV, Stand Up Jim Davidson (1990), was recorded at London's Royalty Theatre.
Davidson became known for Big Break (1991-98) and as the host of The Generation Game (1995-2001), as the successor to Bruce Forsyth. In September 2007, Davidson appeared in the third series of Hell's Kitchen (2007) in the UK, and in May 2008 he appeared in the BBCs Comedy Map of Britain. In 2009, he made a cameo appearance on Ant and Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway.
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 from that of his television work, it contains a lot more strong 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.
In 2006, for the first time in 14 years, he 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". The inhabitants of the town took this as a personal affront, although said he was he was referring to tourists.
UK chart single 
A Davidson mock Jamaican accent, most developed and widely known in his 1970s comedy character Chalkie White, was featured as a vocal throughout the UK garage single "I Don't Smoke", complementing a sample from a Marcus Brigstocke comedy sketch. Released in 2000, the single by DJ Dee Kline was popular on the underground scene before crossing over to reach No. 11 on the UK Singles Chart. Davidson had earlier appeared in the same chart under his own name with the double A-sided "White Christmas"/"Too Risky". It peaked at No. 52 in December 1980.
Davidson has several business interests. He set up a company which bought or leased several seaside theatres or piers, including the Winter Gardens building in Great Yarmouth, which was converted into a nightclub. He lost £700,000 on a pantomime production of Dick Whittington and after a meeting with the Inland Revenue in 2003, he sold the company. Davidson has been quick to take advantage of the video and DVD age, and all of his works are available in a 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 touring extensively, 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 entertained 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, two to the Republic of Macedonia, and at least six to Iraq. He is currently 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.
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.
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.
In October 2003, Davidson refused to go on stage in Plymouth because he objected to wheelchair users in the front row. A spokesman for the Plymouth Pavilions, where he was performing as part of a national tour, said: "Jim Davidson apparently took exception to a number of wheelchair users in the front stalls of the Pavilions Arena. Mr Davidson cited the fact that a proportion of his act was aimed at disabled customers and that he would be unable to perform under these circumstances."
Laurence Clark, himself a wheelchair user, in response performed a show called 'The Jim Davidson Guide to Equality' at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 2004. Clark refused to perform the show if Jim Davidson was in his audience. Martin Fletcher describes Davidson as "extraordinarily foul-mouthed, racist, and sexist" and a "throwback"; whilst quoting Garry Bushell describing Davidson as a "family entertainer". In a Channel 4 poll of the 100 Worst Britons, Davidson was at number 20.
In 2002, Davidson's friend and minder, former 22 SAS soldier Charles (Nish) Bruce QGM committed suicide by jumping from a light aircraft at 5000 feet over Fyfield, Oxfordshire without a parachute whilst on a private flight home from Spain to Hinton Skydiving Centre.
Later in 2002, Davidson was escorted from the grounds of the Marriott Bristol Royal Hotel, after it was alleged that he had become confrontational and abusive to staff.
In 2004, comedian Jimmy Carr threatened legal action against Davidson, accusing him of having plagiarised some of his comic material. Davidson responded by saying the claims were 'ridiculous', and no further action was taken.
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."
In 2007, Davidson was called on as a character witness to drug trafficker Brian Brendan Wright. Despite Davidson's testifying to Wright's character, the judge concluded that Wright was in fact "a master criminal, manipulative, influential and powerful," and sentenced him to 30 years in prison.
In September 2007, on celebrity reality TV programme Hell's Kitchen, Brian Dowling mentioned comments made by fellow contestant Jim Davidson about Dowling's 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 term "shirt-lifter" in front of him, and repeatedly asked if he'd like to try on one of John Virgo's lovely waistcoats, which Davidson owns. Davidson later described himself as a "homophobic arsehole". The programme was aired on ITV on 4 September 2007. On 10 September 2007 Davidson asked to leave Hell's Kitchen following further problems with Dowling.
After Davidson's exit from the programme, the BBC reported that the broadcasting watchdog Ofcom had received 46 complaints alleging that Davidson had bullied Dowling. Ofcom concluded that nothing unacceptable had happened. ITV1, the channel which had originally broadcast the programme, issued a statement, regretting Davidson's "unacceptable remarks".
In December 2007, Davidson again courted controversy when he made a joke about rape victims during a show at the Newark Palace Theatre, in Nottinghamshire. A 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)."
In May 2010, Davidson was found guilty at Newton Abbot magistrates' court of a driving offence. In September 2011, Davidson was once again accused of behaving in a rude and unacceptable fashion, after he was banned from performing at Norwich Theatre Royal. It was alleged by the chief executive of the theatre that Davidson had made derogatory comments about their policy for customers in wheelchairs, and had also insulted staff working at the theatre.
|Wikinews has related news: Comedian Jim Davidson arrested as part of Yewtree sex abuse inquiries|
In January 2013, Davidson was arrested by detectives investigating alleged sexual offences as part of Operation Yewtree. He was bailed the same day. Davidson's solicitor stated that Davidson "vigorously denies" the allegations. On 20 March 2013 he was re-arrested over fresh allegations of sexual offences., and on 11 May 2013 it was reported that police in the Falklands had asked for help from the Metropolitan Police in investigating abuse allegations against Davidson dating back to when he visited the islands in the 1980s.
Personal life 
In Davidson's first autobiography The Full Monty (1993), he frankly talked about his violent and abusive behaviour towards his wife in a light-hearted manner: "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 (2001) he wrote tales of his four marriages and six-year battle against alcoholism.
Davidson's numerous marriages spurred Sir John Mills to send a Telemessage on the occasion of his fourth, which read simply: "Will It Last?" The marriage ended ten years later. Davidson subsequently returned the compliment to Mills and his wife on their 60th wedding anniversary, with a Telemessage bearing the same wording.
In March 2004, Davidson, a self-professed Conservative, publicly left the United Kingdom for the tax-free haven of Dubai in protest at the Labour 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."
He has subsequently been quoted as attributing his move to Dubai as being motivated primarily by the tax-free status afforded him. He returned to live in Britain in the summer of 2010.
Davidson is a supporter of Charlton Athletic, the local club in the area where he grew up.
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
- Michelle Cotton (2010–current)
DVD releases 
|1992||"Something Old, Something New,
Something Borrowed, Something..."
|TBA||1 June 1992|
|1993||The Truth, The Whole Truth...||TBA||1 November 1993|
|1996||"Jim Davidson and 'The Boys'"||3 November 2008 [a]||1 October 1999|
|1997||"Xposed"||3 November 2008 [a]||1 October 1999|
|2000||"Red, White & Very Blue"||13 November 2000 [b]||13 November 2000|
|2001||"Uncovered and Uncensored"||12 November 2001||12 November 2001|
|2002||"Jim's Silver Jubilee"||11 November 2002 [b]||11 November 2002|
|2003||"Vote for Jim"||10 November 2003||10 November 2003|
|2005||"Full On!"||7 November 2005||7 November 2005|
|2006||"In Your Face!"||6 November 2006 [b]||N/A|
|2007||"The Devil Rides Out"||5 November 2007||N/A|
|2008||"On the Offensive"||3 November 2008 [c]||N/A|
|2009||"If I Ruled the World"||16 November 2009||N/A|
a. ^ Only available in the "Bulging Package" box set which was released on 3 November 2008.
b. ^ Also available in "The Collection" box set which was released on 6 November 2006.
c. ^ Also available in the "Bulging Package" box set.
- Big Break
- Home James
- New Faces
- Stand Up Jim Davidson
- This is Your Life
- The Generation Game
- The Jim Davidson Show
- Up the Elephant and Round the Castle
- Life's a Pitch
- What's on Next?
- Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?
- Hell's Kitchen
- Davidson made his first feature film appearance in the Peter Greenaway directed A Zed and Two Noughts (1985).
- Colour Me Kubrick (2006) With John Malkovich.
- "Watching Over You"
- "A Time for Remembering"
- "Love, Please Stop Leaving Me"
- 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.
- In 2009 Jim Davidson announced on his website that he had begun to write part 3 of the "Sinderella" panto’s which he hopes to tour from Feb 2011.
- 2006; Jim played the lead role in the pantomime Dick Whittington at the Orchard Theatre in Dartford
In 2011 Davidson toured with a new play, called "Stand up.. and be Counted". The play was about the failing career of a washed up racist comic. This caused controversy and links made in the media with similarities between the main character and Davidson's own career. However, on 18 March 2011 Davidson announced the show was being cancelled because of poor ticket sales. It had visited only four of the 12 planned city destinations. Davidson added that he was still in talks to bring the show to the West End at a later date.
- "BBC News - Jim Davidson arrested over new sexual offences claims". Bbc.co.uk. 1970-01-01. Retrieved 2013-03-20.
- Custom byline text: Brian Beacom (29 November 2010). "Face to Face: Jim Davidson". Herald Scotland. Retrieved 9 May 2012.
- Jim Davidson (1 August 2002). Close to the Edge. Ebury Press. ISBN 0-09-188312-1.
- 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. Archived from the original on 14 September 2005. Retrieved 23 September 2005.
- "Stand Up Jim Davidson", BFI Film & TV Database
- "Proboards104". Jimdavidson.proboards104.com. Retrieved 2013-03-20.
- missingauthor (24 April 2004). "Davidson ready to make Tories laugh". The Daily Telegraph (London: missingpublisher).
- http://www.discogs.com/DJ-Dee-Kline-I-Dont-Smoke/release/36357 http://www.songfacts.com/detail.php?id=12251 Ex.inf Marcus Brigstocke interviewed by Graham Norton http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dYWgPDEs5AY http://www.discogs.com/DJ-Dee-Kline-Pixie-RAT-001/release/22998
- Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 159. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
- Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 142. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
- missingauthor (27 August 2003). "Davidson "nearly made bankrupt"". BBC News.
- [dead link]
- "Our "Black Sheep"". Masonicinfo.com. Retrieved 2013-03-20.
- http://www.ugle.org.uk/masonry/famous-masons.htm UGLE's "Famous" page
- missingauthor (missingdate). "missingtitle". BBC News.
- Rous, Nathan (22 August 2005). "Still space for a blue comedian?". Shropshire Star.
- "Jim Davidson cancels show after wheelchair row". The Guardian. 21 October 2003. Retrieved 13 May 2013.
- "Interview". Disability Arts Online. Retrieved 13 December 2011.
- Martin Fletcher (6 June 2005). "Voyeurism, sexism and non-celebrity: reality TV eats itself". Socialist Democracy.
- missingauthor (missingdate). "missingtitle". Channel 4.
- http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2002/jun/21/military.rebeccaallison: The Guardian: Suicide Verdict - Depressed pilot leapt to death (21 June 2002): Rebecca Allison
- "Hotel boss asks comic to leave". BBC News. 12 December 2002.
- "Stand-ups square up over fat joke". BBC News. 5 August 2004.
- "It's strife, Jim... : News 2006 : Chortle : The UK Comedy Guide". Chortle. Retrieved 2013-03-20.
- "Cocaine baron jailed for 30 years". BBC News. 3 April 2007.
- "And Brian Thought His Biggest Challenge Would Be Learning To Cook!". Brian Dowling's Official website. September, 2007.
- "Davidson exits after TV gay row". BBC. September, 2007.
- "REVIEW: JIM DAVIDSON, NEWARK PALACE THEATRE". Nottingham Post. December, 2007.[dead link]
- "Comedian Jim Davidson escapes driving ban after being caught at 96mph". Scottish Daily Record. May, 2010.
- "Jim Davidson banned for unaccpetable behaviour". Yahoo News. 2 September 2011.
- "Jim Davidson 'vigorously denies' allegations after arrest by Jimmy Savile police". telegraph.co.uk. 2 January 2013.
- "Jim Davidson 'denies' abuse claims". The Irish Times. 2 January 2013.
- "Jim Davidson released on bail by sex abuse inquiry police". BBC News. 2 January 2013. Retrieved 3 January 2013.
- Jim Davidson re-arrested over fresh allegations of sexual offences The Guardian, 20 March 2013. Retrieved 20th March 2013.
- Jim Davidson (6 October 1994). The Full Monty. Time Warner Paperbacks. ISBN 0-7515-0737-7.
- missingauthor. "missingtitle". missingpublisher.
- "Sir John Mills renews wedding vows". BBC News. 16 January 2001.
- missingauthor (missingdate). "missingtitle". Daily Mirror (Mirror Group).
- "Jim's not laughing any more". The Times (London). 23 May 2004.
- "Something...". jimdavidson.org.uk. Retrieved 29 August 2012.
- "The Truth, The Whole Truth". jimdavidson.org.uk. Retrieved 29 August 2012.
- "Red, White & Very Blue". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 11 September 2010.
- "Uncover and Uncensored". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 11 September 2010.
- "Jim's Silver Jubilee". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 11 September 2010.
- "Vote for Jim". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 11 September 2010.
- "Full On!". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 11 September 2010.
- "In Your Face!". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 11 September 2010.
- "The Devil Rides Out". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 11 September 2010.
- "On the Offensive". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 11 September 2010.
- "Jim Davidson cancels theatre tour". BBC News. 18 March 2011.
- Published Thursday, 17 Mar 2011, 18:33 GMT (17 March 2011). "Jim Davidson 'Stand Up' play is cancelled – Showbiz News". Digital Spy. Retrieved 9 May 2012.
- Jim Davidson Official Site
- Sinderella Comes Again
- Jim Davidson Official Forum
- Jim's Hell's Kitchen profile
- Jim Davidson at the Internet Movie Database
- Interview in the Leicester Mercury
- Jim Davidson's entry on Army Rumour Service
- Davidson: ‘Gays’ in showbiz more likely to be ‘perverts’
|Host of The Generation Game