Jim Davidson (comedian)

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Jim Davidson
Birth nameJames Cameron Davidson
Born(1953-12-13) 13 December 1953 (age 58)
Kidbrooke, London, England
MediumStand-up, television
Years active1974–present
SpouseSue Walpole
(m. 1971–1972, divorced)
Julie Gullick
(m. 1981–1986, divorced)
Alison Holloway
(m. 1987–1988, divorced)
Tracy Hilton
(m. 1990–2000, divorced)
Michelle Cotton
(m. 2010–present)
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Jim Davidson
Birth nameJames Cameron Davidson
Born(1953-12-13) 13 December 1953 (age 58)
Kidbrooke, London, England
MediumStand-up, television
Years active1974–present
SpouseSue Walpole
(m. 1971–1972, divorced)
Julie Gullick
(m. 1981–1986, divorced)
Alison Holloway
(m. 1987–1988, divorced)
Tracy Hilton
(m. 1990–2000, divorced)
Michelle Cotton
(m. 2010–present)

James Cameron "Jim" Davidson OBE (13 December 1953) is a British comedian. Despite early recognition and winning many awards throughout his long career, Davidson has become known for his politically incorrect jokes in his stand-up act, which has made him a subject of negative media coverage and frequent criticism.



The son of a Glaswegian[1] father, Davidson was born in Kidbrooke, London and attended Kidbrooke Park Primary School, Blackheath and St Austen's School in Charlton. Having impressed some acquaintances of his father with impressions of celebrities, he was chosen to appear in Ralph Reader's Gang Show at the Golders Green Hippodrome aged 12 and appeared on television in the Billy Cotton Band Show. He also briefly attended a stage school in Woolwich.

Upon leaving school he was a drummer for pub bands and worked as: a supermarket shelf stacker, a messenger, air ticket clerk for a travel agency, a cashier for Wall's ice cream, for Rank Xerox (having trained as a reprographics operator) and as a window cleaner.[2]

Davidson found his way into show business, when as a regular in a pub in Woolwich, he undertook an act after the regular comedian hadn’t turned up. He then became a regular on the London comedy circuit, and first auditioned for Opportunity Knocks in 1975, unsuccessfully; he was told by Hughie Green to "go away". His audition for New Faces was more successful, and he proceeded to win the show by one point, and then to come second in the overall contest.[3]


His success was quickly followed by many more 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 Davidson the TV Times award as "Funniest Man On Television". He starred in TV sitcoms Up the Elephant and Round the Castle and Home James. His one man show for Thames, Stand Up Jim Davidson was recorded on stage at London's Royalty Theatre.[4]

In recent years, he is most famous for his television roles on Big Break and successor to Bruce Forsyth as host of the Generation Game. In September 2007, Davidson appeared in the third series of Hell's Kitchen in the UK, and in May 2008 he appeared in the BBCs Comedy Map of Britain. In 2009, he made a cameo appearance on Ant and Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway.

Touring show

Davidson's touring is developed from his original London Comedy circuit show, for pub and club audiences. Aimed at a very different audience from that of his television work, it contains a lot more blue language, which he promotes as Adult Entertainment. This has also developed into his Adult Pantomime work, including productions with titles such as: Boobs in the Wood and SINderella – both of which have played to sell-out audiences. He has also, for the first time in 14 years, in 2006, refused to play Great Yarmouth, stating that the resort was "full of overweight people in flip-flops and fat children of all colours and no class".[5] The inhabitants of the town took this as a personal affront, although he was referring to the tourists.


Davidson has also produced some musical pieces of work, mostly produced in conjunction with Greg Lake of the progressive rock group Emerson, Lake & Palmer, his favourite band. These include contemporary albums, as well as ballads and folk songs.

UK chart

A Davidson mock Jamaican accent, most developed and widely-known in his 1970s comedy character Chalkie White, was featured as a vocal throughout the UK garage single "I Don't Smoke", complementing a sample from a Marcus Brigstocke comedy sketch. Released in 2000, the single by DJ Dee Kline, was popular on the underground scene before crossing over to reach No. 11 on the UK Singles Chart.[6][7] Davidson had earlier appeared in the same chart under his own name with the double A-sided "White Christmas" / "Too Risky". It peaked at No. 52 in December 1980.[8]


Davidson also has several business interests. He set up a company which either bought or leased several seaside theatres or piers, including the Winter Gardens building in Great Yarmouth, converting it into a nightclub. After losing £700,000 on a pantomime production of Dick Whittington and a meeting with the Inland Revenue in 2003, he has sold the company.[9] He has also been quick to take advantage of the video and DVD age, and all of his works are available on back catalogue.

Forces and charity

Davidson has put much effort into entertaining the British Armed Forces, and set up a charity to fund shows to provide entertainment for British soldiers living abroad. As well as touring extensively, he has starred in a number of his own TV specials for ITV and BBC, including one from HMS Invincible, Homeward Bound for Christmas and in 2002 he made the Jim Davidson Falklands Bound which was screened during the 20th Anniversary of the end of the hostilities. During the Iraq conflict he was trapped on a cargo plane to entertain the British soldiers for no fee, and in 2003 Jim Davidson Basra Bound was screened on BBC One and further BBC TV Specials of his live stand-up show followed. He has made five visits to the Falkland Islands, twice to the Republic of Macedonia, and at least six times to Iraq. He is presently the Chairman of The British Forces Foundation charity, which aims to promote the well-being and esprit de corps of service personnel. Davidson was awarded the OBE in the New Year's Honours List 2001 for his services to charity.[10]

A former Master Freemason of the Chelsea Lodge (resigned),[11] Davidson was the founding Master of British Forces Foundation (Lodge) No. 9725.[11][12]

Personal life

In Davidson's first autobiography The Full Monty[13] (1993), he frankly talked about his violent and abusive behaviour towards his wife in a light-hearted manner: "We’re like a couple of boxers. On the first occasion, I poked her in the eye by accident. I actually went for the mouth. Thank heaven I missed, I’d have fallen in. I just took a playful punch. Unfortunately I caught her completely wrong. The second time I gave her a shiner. I threw a bunch of keys which whacked her in the eye. Just for a giggle she kept blackening it up to make it look worse."

In his second autobiography Close to the Edge[14] (2001) he writes tales of his four marriages and six year battle against alcoholism. His ex-wife Alison Holloway's new husband Burt Kearns had plotted to have Davidson knee-capped as a result of his confession of battering Holloway.[15]

Davidson's numerous marriages spurred Sir John Mills to send a Telemessage on the occasion of his fourth, which read simply: "Will It Last?".[16] The marriage ended ten years later. Davidson subsequently returned the compliment to Mills and his wife on their 60th wedding anniversary, with a Telemessage bearing the same wording.[17]

Davidson was quoted in July 2004 as saying, in light of footballer Ray Parlour's expensive divorce: "As much as I love my girlfriend, I will not be making her my fifth wife."[18]

In March 2004, Davidson, a self-professed Conservative, publicly left the United Kingdom for the tax-free haven of Dubai in protest at the Labour Party government. At the time, he declared that "I may as well go to Dubai and be an ethnic minority there than wait five years till I become one here."[19] He has subsequently been quoted as attributing his move as being motivated primarily by the tax-free status afforded him. He returned to live in Britain in the summer of 2010.

Davidson is a supporter of Charlton Athletic, the local club in the area where he grew up.

Spouses and children

Taxation and bankruptcy

On 27 August 2003, after a meeting with the Inland Revenue Davidson claimed he spent £10,000 a week on back taxes, commission to agents, maintenance and school fees, and a £2.2 million mortgage: "My problem is money – I used to earn five times as much as I do now, but I still pay the same maintenance, school fees and commission to agents," he told Radio Times magazine.[9]

On 6 July 2006, after failing to keep up payments on £1.4million back tax bill he had reduced to £700,000, Davidson was eventually declared bankrupt by the court.[9][20]


Davidson has been known to make offensive jokes about ethnic minorities, homosexuals and disabled people in his stand-up act, which has made him a subject of negative media coverage and frequent criticism. The Shropshire Star reported that much of it has focused upon his divorce payments, income tax bills, and court orders for cancelled shows.[21] He once refused to go on stage in Plymouth because some disabled ticket holders were in the front row; he was quoted as saying, "I've got nothing against disabled people but part of my act is taking the piss out of the front row. Just imagine if I had have ripped it out of them? The papers would have had a field day. Instead I asked them to move, but they wouldn't budge an inch." The disabled people in question responded that they had bought front row tickets and were aware of the nature of his act and, on that basis, saw no reason why they should move. Some critics later said that a feature of a great comedian is to be able to tailor his act to suit any audience.[22] Laurence Clark, himself a wheelchair user, in response performed a show called 'The Jim Davidson Guide to Equality' at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 2004. Clark refused to perform the show if Jim Davidson was in his audience.[23] Martin Fletcher describes Davidson as "extraordinarily foul-mouthed, racist, and sexist" and a "throwback";[24] whilst quoting Garry Bushell describing Davidson as a "family entertainer". In a Channel 4 poll of the 100 Worst Britons, Davidson came in at #20.[25]

In 2002, Davidson was escorted from the grounds of the Marriott Bristol Royal Hotel, England, after it was alleged that he had become confrontational and abusive to staff.[26]

In 2004, comedian Jimmy Carr threatened legal action against Davidson, accusing Davidson of having plagiarised some of his comic material. Davidson responded by saying the claims were 'ridiculous', and no further action was taken.[27]

In October 2006, he was again accused of making insensitive jokes about cancer sufferers, blind people, a woman in a wheelchair, and the recent trial over the murder of Damilola Taylor, prompting a woman to walk out of the show in disgust. Davidson vehemently denied the charge, claiming that jokes about blind people and cancer sufferers would have merited a "mass walkout". He also said the comments about the Damilola Taylor trial were taken out of context: "My actual remark was that I thought the killers should be locked away forever. And if she objects to that then that is her prerogative."[28]

In 2007, Davidson was called on as a character witness to drug trafficker Brian Brendan Wright. Despite Davidson's testifying to Wright's character, the judge concluded that Wright was in fact "a master criminal, manipulative, influential and powerful," and sentenced him to 30 years in prison.[29]

In September 2007, on celebrity reality TV programme Hell's Kitchen, Brian Dowling mentioned comments made by Jim Davidson about his homosexuality. Davidson asked Dowling, "Are you on our side?" when referring to whether or not he would be participating for the boys or girls team, mentioned the word "shirtlifter" in front of him, and repeatedly asked if he'd like to try on one of John Virgo's lovely waistcoats, of which he is still in possession. Davidson later described himself as a "homophobic arsehole". The programme was aired on ITV on 4 September 2007.[30] On 10 September 2007 Davidson asked to leave Hell's Kitchen following further problems with Dowling.[30]

After Davidson's exit from the programme, the BBC reported that the broadcasting watchdog Ofcom had received 46 complaints over Davidson's "bullying" of Dowling. Ofcom concluded that nothing unacceptable had happened. ITV1, the channel which had originally broadcast the programme, issued a statement, regretting the Big Break presenter's "unacceptable remarks".[31]

In December 2007, Davidson again courted controversy when he chose to make a joke about rape victims, while on stage at Newark Palace Theatre, in Nottinghamshire. The local paper, the Nottingham Evening Post stated that: "there were moments when he did stray too far over the line (most notably with a routine on rape)."[32]

In May 2010, Davidson was found guilty at Newton Abbot magistrate's court of a driving offence.[33] In September 2011, Davidson was once again accused of behaving in a rude and unacceptable fashion, after he was banned from performing at Norwich theatre Royal. It was alleged by the Chief Executive of the theatre that Davidson had made derogatory comments about their policy for customers in wheelchairs, and had also insulted staff working at the theatre.[34]

DVD releases

YearTitleRelease dates
1992"Something Old, Something New,
Something Borrowed, Something..."
TBA[35]1 June 1992
1993The Truth, The Whole Truth...TBA[36]1 November 1993
1996"Jim Davidson and 'The Boys'"3 November 2008 [a]1 October 1999
1997"Xposed"3 November 2008 [a]1 October 1999
2000"Red, White & Very Blue"[37]13 November 2000 [b]13 November 2000
2001"Uncovered and Uncensored"[38]12 November 200112 November 2001
2002"Jim's Silver Jubilee"[39]11 November 2002 [b]11 November 2002
2003"Vote for Jim"[40]10 November 200310 November 2003
2005"Full On!"[41]7 November 20057 November 2005
2006"In Your Face!"[42]6 November 2006 [b]N/A
2007"The Devil Rides Out"[43]5 November 2007N/A
2008"On the Offensive"[44]3 November 2008 [c]N/A
2009"If I Ruled the World"16 November 2009N/A

a. ^ Only available in the "Bulging Package" box set which was released on 3 November 2008.
b. ^ Also available in "The Collection" box set which was released on 6 November 2006.
c. ^ Also available in the "Bulging Package" box set.






In 2011 Davidson toured with a new play, called "Stand up.. and be Counted". The play was about the failing career of a washed up racist comic. This caused controversy and links made in the media with similarities between the main character and Davidson's own career.[45] However, on 18 March 2011 Davidson announced the show was being cancelled because of poor ticket sales. It had visited only four of the 12 planned city destinations. Davidson added that he was still in talks to bring the show to the West End at a later date.[46]


  1. ^ Custom byline text:  Brian Beacom (29 November 2010). "Face to Face: Jim Davidson". Herald Scotland. http://www.heraldscotland.com/life-style/real-lives/face-to-face-jim-davidson-1.1071391. Retrieved 9 May 2012. 
  2. ^ Jim Davidson (1 August 2002). Close to the Edge. Ebury Press. ISBN 0-09-188312-1. 
  3. ^ Jack Kibble-White and Steve Williams. "Part Eighteen: I Heard a Seat in the Stalls Go "Gerdonk!"". THE GLORY GAME – THE RISE AND RISE OF SATURDAY NIGHT TELLY. Archived from the original on 14 September 2005. http://web.archive.org/web/20050914012959/http://www.offthetelly.co.uk/lightentertainment/glorygame/part18.htm. Retrieved 23 September 2005. 
  4. ^ Proboards104
  5. ^ missingauthor (24 April 2004). "Davidson ready to make Tories laugh". The Daily Telegraph (London: missingpublisher). http://www.telegraph.co.uk/opinion/main.jhtml?xml=/opinion/2004/04/24/dp2401.xml#4. 
  6. ^ http://www.discogs.com/DJ-Dee-Kline-I-Dont-Smoke/release/36357 http://www.songfacts.com/detail.php?id=12251 Ex.inf Marcus Brigstocke interviewed by Graham Norton http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dYWgPDEs5AY http://www.discogs.com/DJ-Dee-Kline-Pixie-RAT-001/release/22998
  7. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 159. ISBN 1-904994-10-5. 
  8. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 142. ISBN 1-904994-10-5. 
  9. ^ a b c missingauthor (27 August 2003). "Davidson "nearly made bankrupt"". BBC News. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/showbiz/3184883.stm. 
  10. ^ [1][dead link]
  11. ^ a b Our "Black Sheep"
  12. ^ http://www.ugle.org.uk/masonry/famous-masons.htm UGLE's "Famous" page
  13. ^ Jim Davidson (6 October 1994). The Full Monty. Time Warner Paperbacks. ISBN 0-7515-0737-7. 
  14. ^ Jim Davidson (1 August 2002). Close to the Edge. Ebury Press. ISBN 0-09-188312-1. 
  15. ^ missingauthor (missingdate). "missingtitle". missingpublisher. http://www.tabloidbaby.com/Book/Updates/kneecap.htm. 
  16. ^ missingauthor. "missingtitle". missingpublisher. http://marriage.about.com/od/entertainmen1/a/johnmills_3.htm. 
  17. ^ "Sir John Mills renews wedding vows". BBC News. 16 January 2001. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/1119790.stm. 
  18. ^ missingauthor (missingdate). "missingtitle". Daily Mirror (Mirror Group). http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/tonyparsons/tm_column_date=12072004-name_index.html. 
  19. ^ "Jim's not laughing any more". The Times (London). 23 May 2004. http://property.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_style/property/article431598.ece. 
  20. ^ missingauthor (missingdate). "missingtitle". BBC News. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/5153936.stm. 
  21. ^ Rous, Nathan (22 August 2005). "Still space for a blue comedian?". Shropshire Star. http://www.shropshirestar.com/show_article.php?aID=36439. 
  22. ^ missingauthor (missingdate). "missingtitle". missingpublisher. http://www.funny.co.uk/news/art_75-1276-Davidson-Refuses-To-Perform-For-Disabled-People.html. 
  23. ^ "Interview". Disability Arts Online. http://www.disabilityartsonline.org.uk/laurence-clark-jim-davidson-guide-to-equality. Retrieved 13 December 2011. 
  24. ^ Martin Fletcher (6 June 2005). "Voyeurism, sexism and non-celebrity: reality TV eats itself". Socialist Democracy. http://www.socialistdemocracy.org/RecentArticles/RecentRealityTVEatsItself.html. 
  25. ^ missingauthor (missingdate). "missingtitle". Channel 4. http://www.channel4.com/entertainment/tv/microsites/G/greatest/britons/results.html. 
  26. ^ "Hotel boss asks comic to leave". BBC News. 12 December 2002. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/england/2566275.stm. 
  27. ^ "Stand-ups square up over fat joke". BBC News. 5 August 2004. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/entertainment/3539246.stm. 
  28. ^ It's strife, Jim... : News 2006 : Chortle : The UK Comedy Guide
  29. ^ "Cocaine baron jailed for 30 years". BBC News. 3 April 2007. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/england/london/6520543.stm. 
  30. ^ a b "And Brian Thought His Biggest Challenge Would Be Learning To Cook!". Brian Dowling's Official website. September, 2007. http://www.briandowling.biz/newsfeed/show_news.php?subaction=showfull&id=1188955963&archive=&template=HomepageHK. 
  31. ^ "Davidson exits after TV gay row". BBC. September, 2007. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/entertainment/6988676.stm. 
  32. ^ "REVIEW: JIM DAVIDSON, NEWARK PALACE THEATRE". Nottingham Post. December, 2007. http://www.thisisnottingham.co.uk/displayNode.jsp?nodeId=133942&command=displayContent&sourceNode=244910&contentPK=19147348&folderPk=103546&pNodeId=244911. [dead link]
  33. ^ "Comedian Jim Davidson escapes driving ban after being caught at 96mph". Scottish Daily Record. May, 2010. http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/showbiz/celebrity-news/2010/05/26/comedian-jim-davidson-escapes-driving-ban-after-being-caught-at-96mph-86908-22286148/. 
  34. ^ "Jim Davidson banned for unaccpetable behaviour". Yahoo News. 2 September 2011. http://uk.tv.yahoo.com/news-extra/article/177299/jim-davidson-banned-for-unacceptable-behaviour.html. 
  35. ^ "Something...". jimdavidson.org.uk. http://shop.jimdavidson.org.uk/index.php/dvds/something.html. Retrieved 29 August 2012. 
  36. ^ "The Truth, The Whole Truth". jimdavidson.org.uk. http://shop.jimdavidson.org.uk/index.php/dvds/the-truth-the-whole-truth.html. Retrieved 29 August 2012. 
  37. ^ "Red, White & Very Blue". Internet Movie Database. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1177914/. Retrieved 11 September 2010. 
  38. ^ "Uncover and Uncensored". Internet Movie Database. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1177915/. Retrieved 11 September 2010. 
  39. ^ "Jim's Silver Jubilee". Internet Movie Database. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1176115/. Retrieved 11 September 2010. 
  40. ^ "Vote for Jim". Internet Movie Database. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1176116/. Retrieved 11 September 2010. 
  41. ^ "Full On!". Internet Movie Database. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1169145/. Retrieved 11 September 2010. 
  42. ^ "In Your Face!". Internet Movie Database. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1104697/. Retrieved 11 September 2010. 
  43. ^ "The Devil Rides Out". Internet Movie Database. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1176434/. Retrieved 11 September 2010. 
  44. ^ "On the Offensive". Internet Movie Database. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1513080/. Retrieved 11 September 2010. 
  45. ^ "Jim Davidson cancels theatre tour". BBC News. 18 March 2011. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-12784399. 
  46. ^ Published Thursday, 17 Mar 2011, 18:33 GMT (17 March 2011). "Jim Davidson 'Stand Up' play is cancelled – Showbiz News". Digital Spy. http://www.digitalspy.co.uk/showbiz/news/a309609/jim-davidson-stand-up-play-is-cancelled.html. Retrieved 9 May 2012. 

External links

Preceded by
Bruce Forsyth
Host of The Generation Game
Succeeded by