Cherry Valley lady, along with Derek the Window
Cleaner and Orange Lil, were as well known to a
of Ulster people as the man who created them.
best part of three decades, comic actor James
made people laugh, even at their own bigotry and intolerance,
during some of the most turbulent days in Northern
history. One of his favourite catch-phrases was "Do
us a favour, will yez - stop yer fightin' !"
Born in Union Street in Ballymoney in 1918, just before
his family moved to Belfast, his talent for humour
from an early age. "For
Heaven's sake", Mrs Young repeatedly told her small
impersonating the visitors. Because after you do, I
find it impossible to take them seriously."
Character actor, comedian and master of the moralistic monologue - he was always topical with his jokes. Like the time there was a bit of controversy over Sunday swings. "If you had to bale out of a plane over Belfast on a Sunday, sure they wouldn't let you open your parachute", he quipped.
At the start of his career James worked as a serious
actor with various repertory theatres in both Ireland
and mainland Britain. However his skills as a comic
entertainer came to the fore when he played Derek the
window cleaner in the BBC radio series "The McCooeys".
This series was compulsive Saturday night listening
during the 1950s. He then moved to the Group Theatre
in Bedford Street, Belfast to become an acting regular
in plays and comedy revues. These packed in the crowds
Monday to Saturday for years. Aside from this successful
Group Theatre residency, he also toured the towns and
villages of Northern Ireland with a variety show.
According to Jimmy Young, people recognised themselves,
or people they knew, in the characters he played. Such
were his acting and writing skills however, people from
across the divide were never offended by the characters
nor the situations that he portrayed so well.
Which was your favourite James Young character?
Were you ever lucky enough to see one of his shows in
the Group Theatre in Belfast? Send Your Place and Mine
your stories and memories of James Young.
Diane - Dec '07
Where would I get the DVD which is showing on TV?
John Hamilton - Dec '07
I moved from Belfast to Manchester some six years ago, and bought the James
Young DVD when I was feeling home sick!! It well cheered me up!! Well done
and thanks James xx
John Mortimer - May '07
Its sad to know that apart from the dvd on
current release, the BBC in their wisdom wiped all the
programmes that they had so to release storage space
for news and current events. Dont be expecting any more
as all they have is the two St Patrick day specials
currently (for the last 10yrs ) available.
Conor - Apr '07
I am so glad to see some clips of jimmy on
the bbc site.... at last.
now to release thier archives.
Bobby Keenan - Apr '07
James Young was a master comedian i have has DVD,
it brings back memories when i saw his show in the
group theatre in thw 60s
JB Terrins - Feb '07
Jimmy Young was more than a comic genius. He was stickin'
D Maerin - Feb '07
James Youngs talent comes from being able to get so
close to whichever people he is impersonating and adapt
his characters to encompass such a wide range of Norn
Modern day "middle class" belfast comedy gangs
wouldnt stand a chance if "Our Jimmy" was
Des Bennett - Feb '07
James Young was one of the greatest ever comedy genuises
of not only his generation, but of all time, he brought
smiles and happy times in an era when things were so
dark in the province, he made people laugh uncontrollably,
he made people cry with sadness, he made people cry
with happiness and he made us all sit and take a good
look at ourselves and our attitudes towards life in
NI...From being kids me and my brother were introduced
by our parents to the genius and innovator that was
Our Jimmy, and i was lucky that the friends i made in
adult life shared the same affection for this brillant
man...even today, i live in England and i watch his
DVD to remind me of the province, the family, the friends
and the people of NI that i love and miss so much. James
Young is up there with Bestie, Blanchflower, Lewis,
Van Morrisson, Heaney and Lynott, as the great talents
and characters that our wee land has produced.
Bill Heard - Feb '07
Eileen - Clubsound sang "Belfast, Belfast, wonderful
Eileen Wilson - Oct '06
James Young was an amazing comedian who could cross
the divides in Northern Ireland and had everyone laughing
in the aisles no matter what their political or religious
persuasion. Can anyone tell me was he the person who
performed the song Belfast Belfast Wonderful Town?
Mickey O'Neill - Feb '06
This biography extract is very interesting as there
is very little information on the web about Our Jimmy.
It would be even better if you included pictures of
his characters and possibly some more quotes. The videos
are a nice touch.
Derek Neill - Feb '06
I work as a global engineer, and carry James Youngs
DVD with me always. The material is timeless, and I
will never get bored of watching a comic genius portray
my wee country.
Mr D Niblock - Dec '05
James Young will always be rembered. Yes, I was one
of the lucky young lads who saw his shows in the group
theatre. One thing I will always remember was that if
you arrived late and he saw you come in you could be
sure of some sort of remark before you sat down. James
Young made everyone unite in a evening of humour that
was unique to this island.