|James Robinson Clitheroe|
24 December 1921|
Clitheroe, Lancashire, England
|Died||6 June 1973
Blackpool, Lancashire, England
|Cause of death||Accidental overdose of sleeping tablets|
James Robinson Clitheroe (24 December 1921 – 6 June 1973), popularly known as Jimmy Clitheroe, was an English comic entertainer. He is best remembered for his BBC Radio programme, The Clitheroe Kid (1956–72), a version of which was produced for television on the ITV network under the title Just Jimmy (1964–68).
Life and career
He was born in Clitheroe, Lancashire, England, to weavers Emma Pye and James Robert Clitheroe, who had married in 1918. He was named after his mother's brother, James Robinson Pye, who had been born in Clitheroe in 1894 and was killed in action in the First World War. Brought up in the village of Blacko, near Nelson, Jimmy Clitheroe started out on the stage, touring the variety theatres in Yorkshire and Lancashire from 1937, but moved into films from 1940 (thanks to a chance meeting with top of the bill stars Lucan & McShane), into pantomime from 1942, into radio from 1954 (initially on the BBC's regional Home Service North, and subsequently on the nationwide Light Programme), and finally onto television (with ITV, produced by ABC Television in their Manchester studios) from 1963. His long-running radio programme on the BBC, The Clitheroe Kid, which aired from 1956 to 1972, is still occasionally repeated on BBC Radio 4 Extra. His catchphrase was "Don't some mothers 'ave 'em!"
He never married. He lived, latterly in Blackpool, with his widowed mother, to whom he was very close. He never grew any taller than 4 feet 3 inches, and until later life could easily pass for an 11-year-old boy, the character he played on stage, in his early films, and on radio in The Clitheroe Kid. He died aged 51 in 1973 from an accidental overdose of sleeping pills, on the day of his mother's funeral. His funeral was held at Carleton Crematorium, Blackpool, where for many years he was commemorated by a plaque attached to memorial tree Number 3.
Mollie Sugden (who played Mrs. Slocombe in the BBC TV series Are You Being Served?) played Clitheroe's mother on stage in the 1960s and in his ITV television series Just Jimmy from 1964 to '68 (which also featured Jimmy's co-star from The Clitheroe Kid, Danny Ross).
- Old Mother Riley in Society (1940) with Lucan and McShane – as Boots
- Much Too Shy (1942) with George Formby – as Jimmy
- Rhythm Serenade (1943) with Dame Vera Lynn – as Jimmy
- Somewhere in Politics (1948) with Frank Randle – as Sonny
- School for Randle (1949) with Frank Randle – as Jimmy
- Stars in Your Eyes (1956) with Nat Jackley – as Joey
- Jules Verne's Rocket to the Moon (1967) with Burl Ives – as General Tom Thumb
- JIMMY CLITHEROE Popular radio entertainer. The Times Thursday, 7 June 1973; pg. 21; Issue 58802
- Gill Johnson (17 May 2007). "Research reveals life of 'Clitheroe Kid'". Lancashire Telegraph. Newquest. Retrieved 24 September 2015.
- "Lancashire Lantern community history – East Lancashire Regiment". Lancs-local-resources.talis.com. 30 March 1917. Archived from the original on 23 July 2012. Retrieved 4 July 2012.
- Glynne-Jones, Tim (2014). Born in the 60s. Arcturus Publishing. ISBN 978-1-90940-978-1.
- Stevens, Christopher (2010). Born Brilliant: The Life Of Kenneth Williams. John Murray. pp. 412/3. ISBN 1-84854-195-3.
- "Tragic end of Blackpool comic genius". Blackpool Gazette. Johnston Publishing. 2 May 2008. Retrieved 24 September 2015.
- Rhythm Serenade at the Internet Movie DataBase