Pier show star Jim Davidson reflects on his ‘annus horribilis’

Jim Davidson

Jim Davidson - Credit: Archant

I have just read Jim Davidson’s book No Further Action. It’s about his annus horribilis in 2013. It started off with his beloved dog Benji dying and him being arrested at Heathrow before he went into the 2013 Celebrity Big Brother House.

Operation Yewtree was extending its branches far and wide. Davidson spent a year fighting the claims against him to prove his innocence. The book is raw, shockingly vulnerable and hilarious. The stage show of the same name which started in Edinburgh and will then tour the UK for 54 dates, promises to be all that and more.

No one can tell an anecdote and mock himself to get such robust laughter as Jim Davidson.

I first met him after I had surprisingly warmed to him in this year’s Celebrity Big Brother. He entered after this terrible year barely out of the shadow of his Yewtree horror. People still accused him of being racist and sexist and a generally unpleasant human being. But he won everybody over.

He became the father figure to some of the younger male celebrities, almost adopting runner-up Dappy Contostavlos. His reappraisal was meteoric. People love Jim again, and nothing could please him more.

“The two things that kept me going throughout that year were the support of the public and my friends and the fact I wrote down everything I was feeling, the facts as well as the demons.”

The writing was cathartic and he is not afraid to show just how low he got.

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“When I was arrested and the run-up to that arrest, when I knew that something was going on, it made me look inside myself. I had to look deep. I knew I had to defend myself. But at the same time there are many things in my life that I have done wrong. I didn’t do any of it on purpose, but I thought that no one really deserves to have me in their life.

‘When I was in a drinks clinic I learnt to write down problems. I went years back because I had got into the old Colombian marching powder and was drinking too much. I haven’t touched coke since. I gave up drink for seven years.

‘I still have a drink now, but as it’s Alcoholics Anonymous I drink under a different name.’ I laugh. He giggles.

The 60-year-old Jim before me now is irrepressibly jokey and happy. It’s hard to imagine the dark place that he got to, especially when he tells me of the interrogation by two policemen and a policewoman. He makes it uproariously funny, but at the time it couldn’t have been less so.

It was a terrible year where he questioned who he was and everything in his life, but he ended it with a triumphant win on Celebrity Big Brother.

Does he keep in touch with his adopted son Dappy? “Yes. I went to see him in concert and I also went to meet him outside a courtroom the other day where he was found guilty of assault, the naughty little sod. But I was there to support him as any father would.”

He recognises the vulnerability in Dappy just as he has had to recognise it in himself.

His treats now are not big nights out or holidays, but spending time with his two little white dogs, Bertie, a lhasa apso, and Oscar, is a coton de tulear.

“Bertie is very laid back. Oscar is a bit mad, a special needs dog, a postman biter.”

Jim Davidson appears at Great Yarmouth’s Britannia Pier on Friday, September 5. Tickets £18-£20, 18 plus only.