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James Young

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The Arts

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Alex Calder - Jan '08

I was the youngest of James Young and the 16 young voices that played in the Empire Theatre in Belfast. I think it was late 50s.
It was called the easter parade from memory and ran for 3 weeks. I bought my first suit (short pants) with my wages and was the only kid in Tobergill St to own one. I remember mostly the rehearsals when James Young always gave us a fag and falling on my bum on the first night when the stage rolled forward. I think the audience thought it was part of the act. It's a pity I have no photos, nowadays parents would have it all on video. Good to share some memories of James Young, after all these, this is the first time.

Valerie - May '07
Hey if you need the words get in touch with william caulfield as he does all the monologues in his james young tribute shows

Kieron - Apr '07
Irene, did you get a copy of the words off Sammy Mc Nally? I know most off by heart but not sure if correct?

Carla - Apr '07
I live in Belgium now. Today I bought 2 x 4 cd boxes of Jimmy Young.
I love it!!!! It's a bit hard to understand it all cause it's been a few years since I've been to Ireland but with listening it gets better. I'm just having a good time now.

Irene Orr - Feb '07
Would anyone have the words to "It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it" ?. If so, I would be grateful for copy.

Irene Orr- Jan '07
Would anyone have the words to "It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it" ?. If so, I would be grateful for copy. Irene

June Latimer - Aug '06
I am looking for the words to slum clearance a monologue done by James Young long long ago. Could anyone tell me where I could get the words thank you June.

Adam Carson - July '06
As a 15 year old I was unable to hear the great James Young live! I have went to hear William Caufield in the group theatre and I think that it's excellent that William is paying a tribute to the comedy genius. I have collected all the cds and videos which are on sale and would like to see more dvds, if possible, being released. I am a great admirer and fan of our Jimmie and act him for various people myself and it is a dream of mine to carry on what William Caufield is doing once he has finished. Every time you listen to the characters speaking you really get the feeling they are real! That's how good James was! I would really urge anyone, mainly the bbc, to search for recordings and re-release them as people would immidiately start buying, as the material possible to listen to now isn't enough because I would, and I'm sure I speak for others, would like to hear more of the monologues he made the people laugh at as it would be a great shame for future generations to forget about James Young and the only solution is to get the old shows back on the television and on the shelves!

Willie
The James Young dvd is just a poor copy of the original videos released years ago as the very best of James Young vol 1 and 2. somebody is tellin a heap of lies when they say that all thats left of jimmy is that alone.

Come off it BBC, i can remember the entire run of James Youngs tv show being broadcast back in the late 80's. do something decent for once, get somebody of therie backsides and release the show on dvd with the 2 surviving eps of The McCooeys you have at cultra in the archive

Desmond Lapsley - January '06
As a radio producer in Belfast from 1968 - 73, I got to know James, Jimmie, Young very well. Our friendship began when when I was asked, as the only bachelor on the radio production team, to oversee his input into a Forces' Favourites programme on Christmas Day. All we had to do was switch on the studio, make sure Jimmie had contact with the Bush House producers, and then he dedicated a number of musical items to members of the Armed Forces who were away from home at Christmas.

I was under a three line whip from my sister to be back at her house in good time for Christmas Dinner at 3 p.m., but the Controller, Northern Ireland, Waldo Maguire, had left his hospitality cupboard unlocked for all the staff who were working on Christmas Day. Jimmie was a recovering alcoholic, so didn't touch the stuff - but I did and once the magic of his humour, which seemed non-stop, mixed with Waldo's finest Black Bush, took their effect it was past 6 o'clock.

It was the beginning of a friendship which lasted until his death. Particularly as events in N.I. got worse over the years I used to regularly invite Jimmie onto the morning radio current affairs show I produced just to tell us a story. The News die-hards in the BBC were horrified, but the public loved it.

P. Hoey - Sept '05
My first introduction to the James Young story was when I heard him on the radio in the mornings,prior to heading off to school. That would have been around about the early 70s. At that time I was convinced that the man I was listening to was an effeminate bloke who lived up the street from my gran. I could not ,ofcourse, convince my mother of this. Her constant references to it being James Young merely confused my young-no pun intended-mind. I remember thinking that it had to be that bloke up from grans, no matter what mum might have said about a certain James Young. As I grew a little older I grew to love the humour of that timeless man. I sometimes impersonated some of his acts for relatives, although around the sixteen mark I started to feel a little silly doing it and it died a death. Rather like James Young himself in fact at about the same time. What a tragic untimely loss, for such a well loved star to pass away at a mere 56 at the peek of his powers.

John Ferguson - July '05
Good to read of a great comedian.
Can anyone help me find a copy of a piece he created called "Wee Davy"? It was about a child who wanted to play with his Catholic neighbour, and who was completely unable to understand sectarian division.

Sharon Emily Beattie - June '05
I just love Jimmy Young! He is just so funny. His shows have come out on dvd and the characters - well we all know someone like them! It is a great way to laugh at ourselves and I wish there was more information on him. His shows are also a social education for all you young uns out there about how life used to be!

Maggs - April '05
My dad's looking for a track on one of James Youngs Lp's, its about the time that he went to the cinema with a cockerel stuffed down his trousers, and as he was watching the movie he decided to get it out for some fresh air, when 2 old ladies over heard him and one nudged the other and said did you hear that he's going to get it out, to which her friend said just ignore these old men they're all the same nowadays it doesn't matter where they are they'll still get it out, not sure if thats completely right but its the way my dad told me it..

Thanks everyone for your help.

I was brought up on James Young when I was a kid and loved watching his show's and listening to him on records I too would love to see a re run of all his show's.

Andrew McKinney - February '05
Hi
The James Young website www.ourjimmy.com will be back up again in the next week or so. After writing James Youngs Biography I needed a bit of a break so I gave the site a rest for a while.
My interest in James Young has now returned again despite being a bit annoyed by Emeralds descision to name the recently re-released DVD "Our Jimmie" therefore not tying in with the book title.
Having read Jack Hudsons book on James Young I was perfectly aware of how Jimmy (Jimmie) used to sign his name, however it looks rather strange in print and as a previous contributor has mentioned it was only spelt that way to avoid confusion with the English Jimmy Young. Nevertheless its still nice to see James Young back on the shelves and hopefully it will inspire the BBC to get round to digging out the other material that is still stored in the Archives in Cultra.

YPAM ED, We checked with our colleagues in archives and they tell us that the only viable material available on Jimmy Young is the content on the DVD / VHS currently distributed via Emerald.

Jim Cullen Ontario, Canada - February '05
I would suggest you try it again. ( www.ourjimmy.com) It worked for me here in Canada.

William Hume-Nelson - February '05
I have tried to log on to the website mentioned called www.ourjimmy.com but it can't be found. Can anyone tell me if the web address has changed. Thank you.

Steve Bennett - February '05
After reading the comments to this article, it is shockingly sad that so little is available of James work. I am working with a team researching the contributions made by significant Northern Irish people to their culture. My immediate choice of research was James Young. The man in the middle. I would appreciate any response, in terms of script, history and anecdotes. A man who will never be forgotten, even if he hasn't received the official tribute he merits!

Alan - February '05
I grew up watching repeats of the James Young TV shows, and was lucky enough to get hold of a couple of his LP's from an Aunt. Sadly, over the years one of these has gone missing, but this week I was able to find my copy of "The Young Ulsterman" and listen to it for the first time in well over a decade. It's a great piece of work, I always remembered him as being very talented at the character stuff, but this album showcases how great he was at delivering monologues as well.

I must admit I gasped and felt a bit guilty at some of the words used - I'm sure you know the ones I mean - but the album stands up as a well-meaning piece of comedy(/satire?). The likes of Orange Lily invariably get their comeuppance, and in an amusing and escalating way.

I'm delighted to learn of the DVD release, and shall be purchasing it as soon as possible. Would it not be possible for BBC NI to repeat some of his shows though? A lot of 70's comedy seems to be side-lined because the people in charge assume that the public are too thick to see past the words used and get the actual meaning. Is this the problem here? Surely the people of Northern Ireland deserve better local comedy than Give My Head Peace?

Anyway, I'm desperate to hear more of his comedy albums, but unfortunately there doesn't seem to be any on the net. I have made a mono encode of The Young Ulsterman, but am unsure whether such links are allowed on this site? Please let me know, webmaster, if possible. If anyone out there has more of his LP's then I'd very much like to hear from you, my email address is cookdandbombd@REMOVETHISBIThotmail.com (remove the obvious). Thanks. It's been lovely to read others memories of this talented local comedian.

Bernie - January '05
Any more about "the mc cooeys" I remember the name but not much else enjoyed all the messages on Our Jimmy. I saw him with my Ma and Da in the Ulster Hall. I think a big thumbs up to more of Our Jimmy on dvd.

P. R . Mulholland, Australia - December '04
As a personal friend of James Young I would like to comment on the recent DVD release which is titled "Our Jimmie" based on the assumption that this was the name by which he preferred to be known. The fact of the matter is that he didn't like being called Jimmy or Jimmie but always preferred James out of respect for his parents who always called him by his true name. During the early part of his career when he was a dramatic actor he always signed himself as James Young, and only his closest friends called him Jimmy. With the advent of the McCooeys, revue shows etc, and the resulting fame the people of N. Ireland, as they will, were soon referring to him as "yon comeedgin Jimmy Young". Always willing to give the public what they wanted he was soon signing autographs and photo's etc, Jimmy.
Around the mid to late 50's the English radio personality Jimmy Young, who at that time was better known as a pop singer with a couple of hit records to his name, came to Belfast on a promotional tour, and, of course, a meeting was quickly set up with N Ireland's most famous son, the result was several appearances together which were heavily promoted as The Two Jimmy's or  Jimmy Young meets Jimmy Young.
Not long after this Jack Hudson advised Jimmy that it might be a good idea to change the spelling of the name Jimmy to differentiate him from the English Jimmy Young, and as Jimmy still had ambitions of following in Jimmy O'Dea's footsteps and making it big in England, and it was such a minor thing anyway, he was only to willing to comply. From then on he began signing himself Jimmie, but only as a show of affection to the paying public and his close friends.On billboards, posters, Rowel Friers cartoons and newspaper articles he insisted on being called JAMES Young. It was actually only after his death when the BBC re-ran his TV shows that they began calling him Jimmy. In his own mind he was never Jimmy or Jimmie, but James. I hope this clarifies matters.

 

Roy Smyth - December '04
I remember going to see Jimmie at the Empire Theatre in Belfast away back in the early sixties. I remember him in the Mc Cooeys, what a great oral picture of Belfast people!!! Wishing everyone a safe and HAPPY HOLIDAY SEASON, from Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Terence Hamill - December '04
I have searched the web looking for James Young material as I too remember the luxury as a child in the 70's of being allowed to stay up late to watch the shows on a Saturday evening.
A double video was released in the 1990's by the BBC, which I purchased, but with all my work related travelling and now living in the USA it disaperaed. Anyway it is long over due for the BBC to have these episodes released on DVD and I am sure alot of people agree with me in the Northern Irish ex patriate community.

Good News,

just as Terence's email landed in, the BBC Shop told me that the double DVD of Jimmy Young has just arrived, it currently (dec '04) costs £19.99 . It is only available in region 2 format.
If you have problems locating it, the BBC Shop in Belfast is happy to process a mail order for you.

You can contact them on 02890 325672 or email the manager, Steve Boyle at steve.boyle@bbc.co.uk.

ED YPAM Online

 

Steven Hill - November '04
I recently stumbled over a brief episode of James Young after an older recording my dad had made on videotape of a different program from years ago. I said to my dad how funny this man James Young was, and I was delighted when he told me that he had two of his videotapes in his collection. I immediately hunted them out and have just finished watching the both of them, laughing my head off!

Being only 18, I was obviously not able to see more of his early work, but I can definitely say he was a comedy Genius and that it would be amazing to see more of his work brought on to television, even for a brief spell, so that his genius could be seen once more.

And as far as favorite characters go, Mrs. O'Chondriac and Orange Lilly are brilliant!

Honora Cotrotsios - 24 August 2004
I have laughed and cried at James Young. I listened to his tapes and thoroughly enjoyed everything he did. I would like to get a dvd so i could actually see him at work, I live in Delaware, USA so it is difficult to get DVD’s that work in America. I really enjoyed this web site and enjoyed reading all the letters about James Young. Will come back and visit again.

William Caulfield - 24 August 2004
For some five years now, I have been doing a "tribute" show to James Young called "OUR JIMMY". I have each and every year been amazed and humbled at the response of the filled to capacity venues on each occasion. As i stand on stage (and indeed his very stage..the Group) the warmth and love that comes from the audiences is staggering.

30 years has not diminished the high level of humour in his sketches and the roar of laughter from the audiences combined with the quiet tear as I do his monologues is true testimony to the comic genuis he was.

Shame then on BBC NI when the 30th anniversary of his death passed without a mention.

William Hume-Nelson - 17 August 2004
Trying to choose your favourite James Young character is very hard, as you just loved them all, but I think it must be Derek or was it Mrs O'Chondriac . Saturday night was the one time we knew we would all be in the house to watch Jimmy on television. He simply was the best and is still loved. I was working down the Shore road for the Belfast council and was on my way home, for an unknown reason i turned left onto the Shore road instead of going right which i should have. I had only walked a few metres when I spotted small crowd and an ambulance, I thought someone had been shot. I walked on to have a nosey but it was not a shooting it was our jimmy on the ground and the ambulance men trying to revive him, with the pads trying to restart his heart. But it was not to be, the best loved person in Belfast was gone, but one thing is certain he would not be forgotten. I moved to England the following year (1975) and now have a family of 5 and they all have enjoyed watching his video and laughing at his sketches. They are convinced he got his material from their aunts in Belfast, ha ha, I hope they don't read this.

Jackie Coulter - 14 July 2004
My memories of James Young was as a young boy, my father was House Manager of the Harry Baxter Show and I was an usher. It played in the Town Hall, Portadown, every Saturday night. James used to appear at least once a month, along with a lot of other long remembered names such as John Davey, Pat Millar, Frank Carson, Edwin Heath, Ruby Murray, Gloria Hunniford, just to mention a few. In later years I had the privilage of performing with him at some shows, we had been booked to appear on the same billing.

He was a very nice gentleman with a cultured accent and pleasant to talk with.

Aaron Hill - 11 July 2004
It is about time James Young was back on our screens for 2 new generations to enjoy and for "older" ones to relive happy memories. Shame on BBC who seem to be only good at showing the miserable times from our history .

Michael - 6 July 2004
James Young was a really good person. I have mixed memories of my childhood in Belfast, most of them bad due to religious intolerance. James Young crossed the religious and sexist divides, not only did he make us roar with laughter, he also helped us to take a look at our very narrow minded attitudes towards fellow human beings.
James Young, thank you.

Ray Crew - 5 July 2004
Have been trying to get a video of James Young. I watched it at a cousin's home. Even though I was very down after wife's death I laughed til the tears came. If I remember right they were on a train trip to Dublin. If anyone can dig me up a copy I would be very grateful. I will pay all expenses via visa or money order. Please contact me through this website if you can help. Thank you.

Stan Sloan - from California
Before leaving for California in 1958, I worked in the Co-Op in Orby Drive and I used to take Jimmy’s messages up to him in the Braniel. He always had a bit of a joke to come off with. Always nice to me as a wee message boy, always asked “how's yer Ma and Da doing?” like he knew them. I have all of his LP,s here and a couple of cassettes. Of course if I had my Glentoran scarf on I'd take a bit of ribbin' from the wee blueman. Great Belfastman. They should have a statue of him by the City Hall.
Stan sloan ex Castlereagh man.

Website contributor:
His Cherry Valley lady was inspired and timeless. Okay, so Cherry Valley may not be as posh these days - but certainly people from humble beginnings putting on airs and graces and speaking in a plummy, ill-fitting, brittle accent is something that is uniquely Northern Ireland.

Who said we had no class?

Cinders:
Having read the recent contributions on James Young it brought back my memories of him. Back in the 50's he and his partner Jack Hudson had a summer revue in the British Legion Hall in Bangor. The show changed every week on a Wednesday to facilitate the weekly summer visitors, mainly Scottish, who then were able to attend twice in a week. The show was a series of sketches with some of Jimmy's monologues. He also had musical entertainment with Marie Cunningham and sometimes Derek Marsden on the piano. My younger brother's birthday was in August and for 'his' treat the whole family went to the show - uncles, aunts, cousins about 14 of us in all. Jimmy used to read personal messages and greetings from the stage and of course my brother was thrilled to hear his name mentioned and be wished happy birthday. He was only six or seven and I think the adults enjoyed the show better than he did.

Website contributor:
While it is very nice of the BBC to at last acknowledge the existence of James Young on their web site, it still falls far short of acknowledging his contribution to their success during the early seventies.
When is the last time we have seen even a glimpse of one of his routines on local television? Why are the BBC so reluctant to cherish one of their local heroes? Even Thames Television, who sacked Benny Hill because he became politically incorrect, could still find time to create a documentary in his honour in later years.

Please, please give James Young the recognition he deserves. If there was any justice he should have a large bronze statue outside the City Hall stating his role as an early precursor on the road to political unity.

Goodbye and
will yis for Gods sake "Stop Fightin"!!!

Emily Beattie:
I agree completely. What have the BBC got against James Young. They seem very happy to sell his video year in, year out but yet never seem to acknowledge his existence on mainstream TV. Nostalgia television is a big thing now with all these new digital channels. Why can't we have a retrospective of early BBC NI programs. There were a few happy moments during the 60's and 70's that would be nice to see again.

Website contributor:
I never saw him on stage but having an old LP record of his from the 60s I still chuckle etc., from listening to it 30 + years on. Likewise tho' without any recordings I recall the McCooey's and often wish that tape recorders had been more obtainable when the shows were transmitted. I sometimes see Jimmy available on tape but not the McCooeys.

Web Editor:
It is a shame that there are no recordings of the McCooeys available to purchase. As far as I know, only a few programmes from the series are now left. These are kept in safe keeping at the Ulster Folk and Transport Museum at Cultra, in Co Down. I borrowed one of these and copyright regulations allow us to play just under a minute from it. So go to www.bbc.co.uk/ni/yourplaceandmine/A783533 and have a listen. It'll hopefully make you chuckle as well as bringing back some good memories.

Dave Sloan:
I remember as a wee lad we would listen to James on the radio. I loved The McCooeys and especially remember the line, "Our Ernie's like Nelson Eddy." I never saw him in person but he lived just up the Castlereagh Rd. from us and my brother Stan has a few of his records. They are timeless comedies and will never grow old.

Mag:
I was glad to see people talk about some of the great things about N.I. James Young was surely one of these. My mum took me to see him in "the wrong foot" when I was a teenager and when she comes home she tries to get videos of him. They're still funny even after all this time.

kiwidave:
I now live in New Zealand. My uncle sent me a James Young tape just before he died. It has the story about the lion up at Belfast Zoo. I was a student in Belfast when James Young held concerts in the Ulster Hall. I am gald he is being remebered in this way, he was a brave commentator about the NI situation-- On the tape is also the poem about the man who died-- the famous last line For if we love one another there is no heaven or hell!! Thankyou.

skiboo:
SOME PEOPLE SAY THAT THE ONLY FAMOUS THING TO COME OUT OF BELFAST WAS THE TITANIC! I BEG TO DIFFER. FOR BELFAST PEOPLE THAT TITLE MUST GO TO "OUR JIMMY". WELL THAT MIGHT BE A MISNOMER, BECAUSE JIMMMY NEVER ACTUALLY "CAME OUT"OF BELFAST! THAT IS NOT A SEXUAL CONOTATION BY THE WAY! JIMMY KNEW HIS LIMITATIONS. HE WAS STRICTLY BELFAST! HE KNEW WHAT MAKES US TICK. HE UNDERMINED THE BIGOTRY, THE HATRED & THE MISTRUST. HE SAID THINGS THAT SHOULD HAVE BEEN TAKEN MORE SERIOUSLY, BUT THEY WERE USUALLY LAUGHED OFF! JAMES YOUNG WAS A BORN AND BRED BELFAST PSYCHOLOGIST. (I HOPE I SPELT THAT RIGHT!)I DON'T KNOW WHAT RELIGION JIMMY WAS & I DON'T KNOW WHAT SEXUAL PERSUASION HE WAS! BUT HE WAS ALL OUR'S!!! GOD BLESS OUR JIMMY

aiddybaby:
A tribute to James Young is long overdue. A monument yes or a website of his scripts and yarns for children and adults to share and enjoy in the future. He was a marvelous character who helped us take ourselves less seriously. What a gift and talent.

We also need an inspirational website of Ulster People as role models for our young people instead of our present set of sinister people. People like: Ferguson, Dunlop, Blair Mayne, Willie John, Mike Gibson. The list is endless and would serve to project our community more fairly.

Website contributor:
One of my favourite memories as a child was staying up late at the weekend to watch James Young's television show which was called "Saturday night". I recall that the only problem with the show was that Jimmy didn't appear enough in it, and kept getting interrupted by local singers and dancers ( I always hated Canticle, the vocal group). In recent years this early experience led me to, firstly design a web site dedicated to Jimmy (www.ourjimmy.com - it includes a detailed biography as well as downloadable audio clips from his albums) and now write his autobiography which will be published this autumn. Here are the transmission dates for Jimmy's show which I tracked down during my research....

  • 14th October 1972
  • 21st October 1972
  • 28th October 1972
  • 4th November 1972
  • 11th November 1972
  • 18th November 1972
  • 25th November 1972
  • 2nd December 1972
  • 9th December 1972
  • 16th December 1972
  • 6th January 1973
  • 13th January 1973
  • 20th January 1973
  • 16th March 1973 (St Patrick's Day Special)
  • 17th March 1974 (St Patrick's Day Special)

I would like to get the ball rolling and push BBC NI to release all the material they have on Jimmy onto DVD, in time for the anniversary of his death next year. If anyone agrees please join this conversation board.

For more info on James Young visit www.ourjimmy.com, the only website dedicated solely to Belfast's Greatest Comic Actor. It includes a detailed biography as well as downloadable audio clips from his albums.

Share your James Young memories and stories by filling in the form below.


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