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Jimmy Tarbuck

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Jimmy Tarbuck
Born (1940-02-06) 6 February 1940 (age 84)
Other namesTarby
Occupation(s)Comedian, television presenter
Years active1963–present
Pauline Carfoot
(m. 1959)
Children3, including Liza

James Joseph Tarbuck OBE (born 6 February 1940) is an English comedian, singer, actor, entertainer and game show host.

Tarbuck was a host of Sunday Night at the London Palladium in the mid-1960s, and hosted numerous game shows and quiz shows on ITV during the 1970s, 1980s and early 1990s. He is also known for leading ITV's Live from Her Majesty's and its subsequent incarnations during the 1980s.

Actress and television and radio presenter Liza Tarbuck is his daughter.



Tarbuck was born in Wavertree, Liverpool, on 6 February 1940,[1] son of bookmaker Joseph Frederick Tarbuck and Ada McLoughlin. He had a brother, Kenneth, and sister, Norma; another elder brother died aged 18 months. Joseph Tarbuck had been at school with Ted Ray, and was a friend of Dave Morris.[2] He attended Dovedale Primary School in Liverpool, where he was a schoolmate of John Lennon.[3][4]

In April 1960, at the age of 20, he was convicted of stealing a diamond-encrusted cigarette holder from the dressing room of comedian Terry-Thomas, and was placed on probation for two years.[5][6] For a period, he worked in a ladies' hairdresser with Mike McCartney (brother of Paul) and Lewis Collins.[7]

His first television show was It's Tarbuck '65! on ITV in 1964,[8] though he had been introduced on Sunday Night at the London Palladium in October 1963 by Bruce Forsyth.[9] He then replaced Forsyth as the last original host of the show from 1965 until it was axed in 1967. He has also hosted numerous quiz shows, including Winner Takes All, Full Swing, and Tarby's Frame Game. In the early 1970s he hosted a variety show Tarbuck's Luck on the BBC.

In the 1980s, he hosted similar Sunday night variety shows, Live from Her Majesty's, Live from the Piccadilly and finally Live from the Palladium, which were produced by London Weekend Television for ITV.

He appeared on the fourth series of BBC One's Strictly Come Dancing in 2006, but was forced to pull out due to high blood pressure, and needed surgery to fit stents in his heart.[10] In 2008, he returned to a variety format on television screens when he co-hosted, alongside Emma Bunton, an edition of ITV1's variety show For One Night Only. He appeared on Piers Morgan's Life Stories on 25 May 2012, while on 3 December that year he was invited to celebrate 100 years of the Royal Variety Performance along with Bruce Forsyth, Ronnie Corbett and Des O'Connor.[citation needed]

Tarbuck made a Comedy Playhouse pilot for the BBC in 1967, acting in Johnny Speight's To Lucifer, A Son alongside John Le Mesurier and Pat Coombs, but a series was not commissioned.[11] His only other acting credit was in a 1993 episode of police comedy The Detectives, playing the straight role of Johnny McKenna, an international arms dealer who liked to conduct his business on the golf course.[citation needed]

In October 2015, Tarbuck and Des O'Connor starred in their own one-off show at the London Palladium to raise money for the new Royal Variety Charity. During the following two years they toured clubs and theatres around the UK with his comedy show, and sometimes as a double act with Kenny Lynch.[citation needed]

Personal life


Tarbuck married Pauline (née Carfoot) in 1959. His best man was footballer Bobby Campbell.[12] The couple live in Coombe, Kingston upon Thames, London, and have three children: Cheryl (born in 1960), Liza (born in 1964), and James (born in 1968).

Tarbuck has often been nicknamed 'Tarby'. He is a Conservative Party supporter,[13] and at the height of his celebrity was a prominent supporter of Margaret Thatcher and her policies, baking her a cake to celebrate her 60th birthday in October 1985.[citation needed]

Tarbuck is well-known as a keen player of golf, and was prominent as a competitor in pro-celebrity golf matches when these were televised.[14] He is also a devoted supporter of Liverpool Football Club

In February 2020, Tarbuck revealed that, the day after his 80th birthday, he had been diagnosed with prostate cancer.[15]

On May 15, 2023 Tarbuck was involved in a series of driving offences. He caused damage to vehicles while driving in Coombe Gardens, Kingston-Upon-Thames near his home. According to court documents he pleaded guilty to a series of driving offences committed near his south-west London home. The incident is reported to have occurred a few days after his sister’s funeral. He admitted driving a mechanically propelled vehicle without due care and attention, failing to stop and to give his name and address after a road accident, and failing to report an accident.[16]




  • Jimmy Tarbuck (RCA Victor, 1968)[17]
  • Having a Party (Wonderful, 1980, Jimmy Tarbuck & Kenny Lynch)[18]
  • Jimmy Tarbuck (Clam Records)[19]

Singles and EPs

  • "Someday" / "Wastin' Time" (Immediate, 1965)[20]
  • "Stewball" / "When My Little Girl Is Smiling" (Philips, 1967)[21]
  • "Doctor Dolittle" (Parlophone, 1967)[22]
  • "Your Cheatin' Heart" (Parlophone, 1968)[23]
  • "There's No Such Thing as Love" (RCA Victor, 1968)[24]
  • "You Wanted Someone to Play With" (RCA Victor, 1969)[25]
  • "Lucky Jim" / "Run to Him" (Bell, 1972)[26]
  • "Follow the Fairway" / "Lee Trevino" (EMI, 1976)†[27]
  • "Let's Have a Party" (Laser, 1979, with Kenny Lynch)[28]
  • "Let's Have a Party" (Towerbell, 1982, EP with Kenny Lynch)[29]
  • "Again" (Safari, 1985)[30]

†Credited to 'The Caddies' (Henry Cooper, Tony Dalli, Bruce Forsyth, Kenny Lynch, Glen Mason, Ed Stewart, Jimmy Tarbuck)


  1. ^ "Tarbuck, Jimmy (1940-)". Screenonline. British Film Institute. Retrieved 7 May 2013.
  2. ^ "Jimmy Tarbuck's comedy career began with holiday camp talent contest". The Telegraph. 6 May 2013. Retrieved 28 November 2023.
  3. ^ "John Lennon, the boy we knew". The Guardian. 13 December 2009. Retrieved 9 May 2013.
  4. ^ Norman, Philip (2008) John Lennon: The Life
  5. ^ "Interview: Jimmy Tarbuck". Latest: First For Culture. 4 September 2012. Retrieved 4 February 2023.
  6. ^ "Terry-Thomas, Jimmy Tarbuck And The Diamond Cigarette Holder Heist". Anorak. 30 June 2014. Retrieved 4 February 2023.
  7. ^ Robertson, Peter (September 2019). "The other McCartney". Best of British. No. 278. London. pp. 60–61.
  8. ^ "Bemuddlement - It's Tarbuck!". Bemuddlement.com. Retrieved 24 June 2023.
  9. ^ "Jimmy Tarbuck pays tribute to 'unique' Sir Bruce Forsyth, In Short - BBC Radio 5 live". BBC. 18 August 2017.
  10. ^ "Tarbuck pulls out of dance show". BBC News.
  11. ^ "Comedy Playhouse". 22 June 1967. p. 43. Retrieved 6 February 2019 – via BBC Genome.
  12. ^ McGibbon, Rob. "The Definite Article" (PDF). Robmcgibbon.com.
  13. ^ Wheeler, Brian (26 May 2004). "Ugly business for show people?". BBC News.
  14. ^ "Tarby to blame for fairway horror show". The Daily Telegraph. 4 October 2008. Retrieved 4 October 2019.
  15. ^ "Jimmy Tarbuck: Comedian reveals prostate cancer diagnosis". BBC News. 19 February 2020.
  16. ^ "Comedian-jimmy-tarbuck-fined-driving-offences-court-documents-show". 13 December 2023.
  17. ^ "Jimmy Tarbuck - Jimmy Tarbuck". Discogs. 15 August 1968. Retrieved 17 February 2018.
  18. ^ "Jimmy Tarbuck & Kenny Lynch - Having A Party". Discogs. 15 August 1980. Retrieved 17 February 2018.
  19. ^ "Jimmy Tarbuck - Jimmy Tarbuck". Discogs. 3 November 2017. Retrieved 17 February 2018.
  20. ^ "Jimmy Tarbuck - Someday". 45cat.com. Retrieved 17 February 2018.
  21. ^ "Jimmy Tarbuck - Stewball". 45cat.com. Retrieved 17 February 2018.
  22. ^ "Jimmy Tarbuck - Doctor Dolittle". 45cat.com. Retrieved 17 February 2018.
  23. ^ "Jimmy Tarbuck - Your Cheatin' Heart". 45cat.com. Retrieved 17 February 2018.
  24. ^ "Jimmy Tarbuck - There's No Such Thing As Love". 45cat.com. Retrieved 17 February 2018.
  25. ^ "Jimmy Tarbuck - You Wanted Someone To Play With". 45cat.com. Retrieved 17 February 2018.
  26. ^ "Jimmy Tarbuck - Lucky Jim". 45cat.com. Retrieved 17 February 2018.
  27. ^ "The Caddies (Henry Cooper, Tony Dalli, Bruce Forsyth, Kenny Lynch, Glen Mason, Ed Stewart, Jimmy Tarbuck) - Follow The Fairway". 45cat.com. Retrieved 17 February 2018.
  28. ^ "Jimmy Tarbuck And Kenny Lynch - Let's Have A Party Part 1 (Rambling Rose - You Always Hurt The One You Love - Who's Sorry Now)". 45cat.com. Retrieved 17 February 2018.
  29. ^ "Jimmy Tarbuck And Kenny Lynch - Rambling Rose". 45cat.com. Retrieved 17 February 2018.
  30. ^ "Jimmy Tarbuck - Again". 45cat.com. Retrieved 17 February 2018.