Tarby's Yarmouth pier date
FOR decades his quick wit and cheeky Scouse charm have made him an enduring favourite. During a career of more than 40 years, Jimmy Tarbuck - or Tarby as he's affectionately known by his fans - has remained one of the country's top light entertainers, hosting numerous variety shows, chat shows and game shows.
FOR decades his quick wit and cheeky Scouse charm have made him an enduring favourite.
During a career of more than 40 years, Jimmy Tarbuck - or Tarby as he's affectionately known by his fans - has remained one of the country's top light entertainers, hosting numerous variety shows, chat shows and game shows.
Next month, he's coming to Norfolk for two live dates - one at the Britannia Pier in Great Yarmouth and one at Norwich Playhouse.
During the evening, he will be sharing anecdotes from his glittering career, from going to school with John Lennon to playing golf with Bing Crosby.
He said: “It's a trip down memory lane. We talk about my career; the audience asks me questions, which I enjoy immensely. You have to think on your feet. I've been made speechless on many occasions.”
The son of a bookmaker, Tarbuck was born in Liverpool. He left school when he was 15 and went to work as a garage mech-anic. But it wasn't until a few years later when he joined a touring rock-and-roll show followed by a stint as a Butlin's Red-coat that the path to showbusiness was set.
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“Well, I just won a talent contest and it progressed from there. From trying to be a professional footballer I ended up a professional comedian,” he says.
When he was 22, Tarbuck made his TV debut on Comedy Bandbox and some guest appearances on Sunday Night at the London Palladium. He went on to host the show in 1965.
The 1960s were the heyday of the summer season, when some of the biggest names in entertainment would roll up at resorts like Yarmouth and play to packed houses of fans for weeks on end.
And it turned out to be an auspicious place for Tarbuck.
“It was in Great Yarmouth that I got the news I was being made the compere of Sunday Night at the London Palladium. It was wonderful for my career,” he says.
That's not the only milestone that passed during Tarbuck's summer seasons in the town.
“Of course the biggest thing that happened to me there was that my son was born while I was there,” he says.
It was also in Yarmouth he discovered what went on to become one his great passions - golf.
“You would play somewhere like the ABC or the Windmill and you would do these long seasons of about 20 weeks. I first learned to play golf there. I can still play it, even though I'm getting an old man. It keeps you sane.”
And he's looking forward to returning to Yarmouth.
“I have such fond memories of it. Lovely memories. They were great days. I'm looking forward to going back and reliving some of them.”
Now 69, has he considered kicking back and taking it a bit easier?
“No, I love the buzz,” he says. “I hate the travel because the roads are so packed and you never know how long the journey's going to take. But the actual work, I love it. If it happened all over again, there's not a lot I would change,” he says.
Jimmy Tarbuck is at the Britannia Pier on August 24. Visit www.britannia-pier.co.uk for more information. The following night, he's at Norwich Playhouse. Box office: 01063 598598.