bringing the naughty into pantomime
“Panto is the only chance I get to be clean,”
James Cameron Davidson or as we know him better, Jim Davidson, was born 13 December 1953 in Blackheath and he is undeniably one of the UK's top stand-up comedians and TV personalities.
He was awarded an OBE for his services to charity and has three coveted Show-business Personality of The Year' Awards - from the Variety Club of Great Britain; The Grand Order of Water Rats and Comic Heritage.
Jim made his TV debut on the ITV talent show "New Faces" and has since topped theatre bills in London's West End and at venues all over the country. He has starred in and hosted a series of prime time TV shows including BBC TV's "Big Break" and "The Generation Game"; headlined record-breaking summer seasons and pantomimes and played highly successful concert tours with his adult show. His theatre production credits include hit West End shows "Buddy" and "Great Balls of Fire" and major family pantomimes throughout the UK.
Jim Davidson was born in Blackheath, London and attended St Austen's School in Charlton. He had his first taste of entertaining at the age of twelve when he was chosen to appear in Ralph Reader's "Gang Show" at the Golders Green Hippodrome. A few years later found his way back into show-business when he went along to a pub in Woolwich where the regular stand up comedian hadn't turned up. Pushed into it by his friends, he ended up on stage telling gags... and the audience laughed. From then on he used to appear as often as possible in pubs and clubs across London and soon turned professional.
On television "New Faces" in 1976 proved to be the turning point for Jim. It was followed by extensive appearances on television, including "What's On Next" and several series of his own show "The Jim Davidson Show" which ran for five complete series and won for its star the TV Times award as "Funniest Man on Television". He starred in high rating TV sitcoms "Up The Elephant And Around The Castle" and "Home James". His one man show for Thames, "Stand Up Jim Davidson" was recorded on stage at London's Royalty Theatre and he hosted a BBC One series, "Jim Davidson Presents" from the Cambridge Theatre, London. He has also starred in a number of his own TV specials for ITV and BBC TV. He presented a BBC One TV special from HMS Invincible, "Homeward Bound for Christmas" and in 2002 he filmed "Jim Davidson Falklands Bound" which was screened during the 20th Anniversary of the end of the hostilities. In 2003 "Jim Davidson Basra Bound" was screened on BBC One and further BBC TV Specials of his top-rating live stand-up show have followed.
Highlights of an outstanding career have included five visits to the Falkland Islands, and countless engagements throughout the world entertaining British service personnel. In 1999 he travelled to Macedonia to entertain the Forces and in the same year he founded and became leader of The British Forces Foundation charity which aims to promote the well-being and esprit de corps of service personnel. He continues entertaining the troops in the many hot spots around the world as the demand from the troops continues and, at the moment, this is at an unprecedented level.
Jim's success has also embraced top-selling videos; DVDs; CDs and books and he was featured in the movie "A Zed And Two Noughts". His album "Watching Over You" was produced by Greg Lake and his best-selling autobiography titled "Close To The Edge" was published by Ebury Press.
Jim Davidson bought out his own adult panto and would go on to pretty much corner the market in this genre. In Sinderella Jim took on the role as the mischievous Buttons whilst Charlie Drake made a legendary appearance as the filthy Baron Hardon. Dianne Lee appeared as Cinderella and 1960s singer and heart-throb Jess Conrad as Prince Charming and Mia Carla gave a sterling performance as the Fairy Godmother, together they perform the most outrageous version of a fairy-tale you will ever see. Dave Lee and Roger Kitter appeared as the Ugly Sisters, this pair had no boundaries and took outrageous and crude to a whole new level. Everything you would expect to see in a panto was here, just with an adult twist. We rate this as the ultimate out of the adult pantos that are out there, with genuine humour that you will want to watch over and over again. This production was released on video in 1995.
Jim is no stranger to TV and from 1983-1985 he starred in the comedy 'Up the Elephant and Round the Castle' playing cheeky cockney chauffeur Jim London alongside the likes of Sue Nicholls and John Bardon and this spawned it's own sequel from 1987-1990 where he reprised his role this time starring alongside Sherrie Hewson and George Sewell.
From 1991-1998 Jim took his place as part of the BBC's prime time schedules as host of the snooker based gameshow 'Big Break' where he appeared alongside John Virgo and from 1995-2001 he stepped into the hosting shoes of the Generation Game, following in the footsteps of Larry Grayson and Bruce Forsythe.
Jim Davidson followed Sinderella up in 1999 with Boobs in the Wood. This hilarious adult panto sees Jim playing the wicked sheriff of Nottingham, who has his eyes on a bag of loot, Maid Marion’s assets and anything else that takes his fancy. Victor Spinetti joined the cast and upped the comedy stakes. This was released on video in 1999.
Completing the trilogy of Jim Davidson's adult panto's in 2004 he would next bring us Sinderella Comes Again. The original characters were all back and naughtier than ever in another outrageous romp of a loose telling of the Cinderella story. This panto was described as being saucier, sexier ad more sensational than the original. This was released on video in 2004.
In 2007 Jim entered the kitchen as a contestant on the ITV reality show Hell's Kitchen but found himself being sensationally kicked off of the show for what was considered to be homophobic remarks against fellow contestant Brian Dowling.
In 2014 Jim took part in Celebrity Big Brother on Channel 5 , originally he was due to appear the previous year but the investigation into historical sex offences would get in the way of this. Jim would eventually win the series and beat off competition from the likes of N-Dubs' Dappy, Lionel Blair and Linda Nolan. Jim would have several run in's with housemate Linda Nolan during this series which gave the press plenty of headlines and divided a nation. Were you team Jim or Team Linda?
In 2018 Jim became the subject of an episode of Piers Morgan's Life Stories.
Family Pantomime History
1976 - In Dick Whittington at the Alexandra Theatre in Birmingham
1977 - In Babes in the Wood at the Wimbledon Theatre
1978 - In Cinderella at the Wolverhampton Grand
1979 – In Babes in the Wood at the Bristol Hippodrome
1980 – As Dick in Dick Whittington at the London Palladium
1985 - As Buttons in Cinderella at the Oxford Apollo
1986 – As Buttons in Cinderella at the Bristol Hippodrome
1988 – As Buttons in Cinderella at the Dominion Theatre London
1989 - As Buttons in Cinderella at the Bradford Alhambra
1996 - As Dick in Dick Whittington at the Bristol Hippodrome
1999 - As Dick in Dick Whittington at the Royal & Derngate Theatre in Northampton
2002 – As Dick in Dick Whittington at the Bristol Hippodrome
2003 - Aladdin at the Mayflower Theatre Southampton
2004 - Sinderella Comes Again at the Mayflower Theatre Southampton
2006 – As Dick in Dick Whittington at the Orchard Theatre Dartford
2010 - As Robin Hood in The Many Adventures of Robin Hood at the Pavilion Theatre Glasgow
2011 - Captain Hook in Peter Pan at the Pavilion Theatre Glasogw