Jimmy Nail

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Jimmy Nail
Jimmy Nail.jpg
Nail at the Sunday for Sammy concert in Newcastle, February 2020
James Michael Aloysius Bradford

(1954-03-16) 16 March 1954 (age 69)
Occupation(s)Musician, singer-songwriter, actor
Years active1983–2009
Musical career
GenresPop, rock, soul, country
Instrument(s)Vocals, guitar
LabelsVirgin, East West, Papillon

James Michael Aloysius Bradford (born 16 March 1954), known as Jimmy Nail, is an English singer-songwriter, actor, film producer, and television writer. He played the role of Leonard "Oz" Osborne in the television show Auf Wiedersehen, Pet and the title role in Spender. He also recorded a 1992 number one single, "Ain't No Doubt". His role as Agustín Magaldi, the oily crooner in the 1996 film Evita, gave him international recognition.

Early life[edit]

James Michael Aloysius Bradford was born in Newcastle upon Tyne to father Jimmy and mother Laura.[1] His father was an Irish Catholic shipyard worker, amateur boxer, and professional footballer. Nail describes himself as an angry child who was expelled from secondary school for setting fire to curtains. When he was 13, his sister, Shelagh, died at the age of 20.[1] He later spent time drinking, fighting, and generally rebelling against authority. He was involved in a fight after a football match and was sent to prison. After being released he worked in a glass factory. While opening a crate of glass he stood on a six-inch spike that went through his foot and thereafter was called "Nail",[1] a name he later adopted professionally. Also at that time he played guitar in a rock band called the King Crabs.[2] His sister Val McLane was an actress and later became Head of Drama at Sunderland University.[1]



Nail's partner, Miriam, encouraged him to audition for a television show, and although he had no experience as an actor,[2] he won the role of Leonard Jeffrey "Oz" Osborne on Auf Wiedersehen, Pet, an ITV comedy drama about construction workers on the job, first in Germany, then other countries.[3]

In 2000 he began work on reviving the Auf Wiedersehen, Pet series, this time for the BBC. It was filmed in Middlesbrough and Arizona in 2001 and aired in 2002, with audience figures of 13 million. Another series saw the brickies holed up in Havana, and the final two-hour instalment, set in Laos, broadcast over Christmas 2004 attracting over seven million viewers.[4]

In 2008, Nail created and starred as Phil Parker in Parents of the Band, a 6 × 30 mins series on BBC1, broadcast between November 2008 and January 2009. The series revolved around a group of teenagers who formed a band just for their own enjoyment, and their parents, who fully expected them to be the next Led Zeppelin.[5] Ratings were disappointing, around three million.[6]


Nail had pop hits with "Ain't No Doubt", co-written by Nail, Danny Schogger, Guy Pratt and Charlie Dore, "Crocodile Shoes", and "Love Don't Live Here Anymore".[1] His album Growing Up in Public (east/west 1992) featured Gary Moore, David Gilmour, Elliot Randall and George Harrison. Crocodile Shoes (East West, 1994) was based on the BBC television series of the same name, in which he played an English country songwriter. The album sold more than one million copies in the UK.[7] Big River featured guitarist Mark Knopfler. Ten Great Songs and an OK Voice (Papillon, 2001) was an album composed of cover songs.[8] Nail sang on the film soundtrack for Evita.[9]

With Tim Healy, Nail has been involved with the Sammy Johnson Memorial Fund, in memory of their friend and colleagues, established to help young talent in North East England. He has participated in the Sunday for Sammy benefit concerts.[10][11]

Theatre and film[edit]

Nail came out of retirement to act and sing in The Last Ship, a musical by Sting about the shipbuilders of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, the hometown of both Nail and Sting. Sting grew up in Wallsend, down the street from the shipyards. Nail worked in the shipyards and is the son of a shipyard foreman. The show opened in Chicago. On Broadway, when ticket sales began to drop, Sting replaced Nail to try to save the musical, but it ended after a short run. Nail sang on the Original Broadway Cast Recording and on Sting's album, The Last Ship.[12][13][14][15][16]

He had been due to reprise his role in the UK premiere at Northern Stage on 12 March 2018. The show's producer Karl Sydow stated: "After protracted negotiations carried out in good faith, we regret to announce the production's offer of employment to Jimmy Nail has been withdrawn. Joe McGann will replace him when the show opens in Newcastle in March. Nail said "I was very much looking forward to appearing in Sting's The Last Ship, particularly here in my home city, sadly that's not to be." Nail played Parson Nathaniel in War of the Worlds alongside David Essex at the Dominion Theatre, London in 2016.[17]

He played gamekeeper "Rabbetts" in Danny, the Champion of the World, based on the novel of the same name by Roald Dahl.[18]

Nail had a lead singing role in the 1996 film adaptation of Evita.

Defamation lawsuit[edit]

In 2004, Nail successfully sued News Group Newspapers and Harper Collins Publishers. The lawsuit concerned false and defamatory allegations made two years before in an article in News of the World and Nailed, a biography which was the newspaper's source for the claims. He described reading the article as one of the worst experiences of his life.[19][20] He reportedly received damages of £30,000.[19]

Personal life[edit]

Nail has two children and lives in London.[1] He is a Newcastle United fan.[21]



Year Title Role Notes
1985 Morons from Outer Space Desmond
Howling II: Your Sister Is a Werewolf Dom
1988 Crusoe Tarik
Dream Demon Paul
Just Ask for Diamond Boyle
1989 Danny, the Champion of the World Rabbetts
1996 Evita Agustín Magaldi
1998 Still Crazy Les Wickes


Year Title Role Notes
1983–1984, 1986, 2002, 2004 Auf Wiedersehen, Pet Leonard Jeffrey "Oz" Osborne 40 episodes
1983 Spyship Metcalfe 2 episodes
1984 Minder Nathan Loveridge Episode: "The Car Lot Baggers"
Master of the Game Schmidt Episode 1


1985 Blott on the Landscape Edwards Episode: "Cards on the Table"
Wallenberg: A Hero's Story Vilmos Langfelder Television film
1986 Nicking Kids Criminal 1
Lenny Henry Tonite Guest star Episode: "Neighbourhood Watch"
Educating Oz Oz Osborne Television film
Shoot for the Sun Geordie
1991–1993 Spender Freddie Spender 21 episodes

Also writer, producer and creator

1994 Crocodile Shoes Jed Shepperd 7 episodes

Also writer, executive producer, creator and director/co-director

1996 Crocodile Shoes II 6 episodes

Also writer, executive producer and creator

2000 The 10th Kingdom Clayface the Goblin Miniseries
2008–2009 Parents of the Band Phil Parker 6 episodes

Also creator, executive producer and title music composer


  • Take It or Leave It (1986)
  • Growing Up in Public (1992)
  • Crocodile Shoes (1994)
  • Big River (1995)
  • Crocodile Shoes II (1996)
  • Tadpoles in a Jar (1999)
  • 10 Great Songs and an OK Voice (2001)


  1. ^ a b c d e f Dent-Robinson, Nick (25 August 2015). "Jimmy Nail – Interview". Pennyblackmusic.co.uk. Archived from the original on 23 September 2015. Retrieved 20 January 2017.
  2. ^ a b Courtney, Kevin (10 December 2011). "Jimmy Nail, singer and actor". The Irish Times. Retrieved 20 January 2017.
  3. ^ "Jimmy Nail - Interview". Pennyblackmusic.co.uk. Archived from the original on 15 January 2017. Retrieved 26 July 2018.
  4. ^ Hutchinson, Lisa (10 November 2018). "Auf Wiedersehen, Pet - but what happened to the cast after that?". ChronicleLive. Retrieved 17 November 2020.
  5. ^ "Jimmy Nail returns to BBC One in Parents Of The Band". BBC Press Office. 19 March 2008. Retrieved 11 August 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  6. ^ Wilkes, Neil (30 November 2008). "Sluggish start for new Nail comedy". Digital Spy. Retrieved 11 August 2021.
  7. ^ Bush, John. "Jimmy Nail | Biography & History | AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved 18 January 2017.
  8. ^ Alexander, Jane (16 May 2001). "Review: Nail livens up some old hits". Southern Daily Echo. Portsmouth. Retrieved 11 August 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  9. ^ Evita (The Complete Motion Picture Music Soundtrack) (Liner notes). Madonna. Warner Bros. Records. 1996. 9 46346-2.
  10. ^ Hodgson, Barbara (24 February 2020). "Review of Sunday for Sammy - from Jimmy Nail to Brenda Blethyn's dog". ChronicleLive. Retrieved 11 August 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  11. ^ Hodgson, Barbara (4 November 2019). "Jimmy Nail joins Sunday for Sammy for surprise Auf Wiedersehen, Pet reunion". ChronicleLive. Retrieved 11 August 2021.
  12. ^ Weinert-kendt, Rob (15 October 2014). "Sting and Jimmy Nail on the Musical 'The Last Ship'". The New York Times. Retrieved 18 January 2017.
  13. ^ Graff, Amy (27 January 2015). "Sting: 'I betrayed my best friend Jimmy Nail to save my musical'". Daily Dish. Retrieved 18 January 2017.
  14. ^ McLean, Craig (13 October 2013). "Sting interview: 'Criticism is part of the job'". Telegraph.co.uk. Retrieved 18 January 2017.
  15. ^ "The Last Ship (Original Broadway Cast Recording)". Sting.com. Retrieved 18 January 2017.
  16. ^ Semmes, Anne W. (28 April 2015). "Greenwich's Rob Mathes receives his first Tony Award nomination..." sting.com. Retrieved 18 January 2017.
  17. ^ "Casting announced for The War of the Worlds". Whatsonstage.com. Retrieved 10 June 2016.
  18. ^ "Jimmy Nail". Drama Faces. BBC. March 2005. Retrieved 1 October 2010.
  19. ^ a b "Libel payout for actor Jimmy Nail". news.bbc.co.uk. 26 March 2004. Retrieved 18 January 2017.
  20. ^ Gibson, Owen (26 March 2004). "Nail wins libel battle". The Guardian.
  21. ^ "Sting and Jimmy Nail support Newcastle United boycott". Itv.com. 24 April 2015. Retrieved 26 April 2020.


  • Larkin, Colin. The Encyclopedia of Popular Music, 3rd edition, Macmillan, 1998.

External links[edit]