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Nom de naissance James Cameron DavidsonNationalité Royaume-uniNaissance 13 décembre 1953
Officier de l'ordre de l'Empire britannique
James Cameron "Jim" Davidson, OBE (born 13 December 1953) is a British comedian. His highest profile roles came on the television when he hosted Big Break and The Generation Game. He also is a stand-up comedian and writer, developing adult pantomime shows such as Boobs in the Wood and Sinderella, both of which have played to sell-out audiences.
Despite winning many awards throughout his long career, Davidson has become known for his use of controversial jokes about women, ethnic minorities, homosexuals, and disabled people, but he denies accusations that he is prejudiced against these groups.
The son of a Glaswegian 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.
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.
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 (1979–82) which ran for five complete series and won Davidson the TV Times award as "Funniest Man On Television".
Davidson appeared on an edition of the BBC1 series Seaside Special, shown on 20 August 1977, hosted by Tony Blackburn and David Hamilton. The Stage's reviewer, Martyn Wade, was not impressed: "comedian Jim Davidson had already won first prize for lack of taste with crude racist jokes tracing the adventures of a black man whose nickname was Chalky and whose other names included Toilet-Roll. "Day-light come and I gotta sign on" is a representative line from Mr Davidson's act."
He starred in TV sitcoms Up the Elephant and Round the Castle (1983-85) and Home James! (1987-90). His one man show for Thames Television, Stand Up Jim Davidson (1990), was recorded at London's Royalty Theatre.
Davidson became known for Big Break (1991-2002) and as the host of The Generation Game (1995-2002), as the successor to Bruce Forsyth. In September 2007, Davidson appeared in the third series of Hell's Kitchen (2007) in the UK, and in May 2008 he appeared in the BBC's Comedy Map of Britain.
On 2 January 2013, Davidson was set to become a housemate in the eleventh series of Celebrity Big Brother, but was arrested at Heathrow Airport by police officers working on Operation Yewtree. On 3 January 2014, a year after being arrested and with charges dropped, he became a housemate in the show's thirteenth series. On 29 January 2014, left the Big Brother house as the winner.
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 strong 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.
In 2006, for the first time in 14 years, he 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". The inhabitants of the town took this as a personal affront, although said he was referring to tourists.
Davidson is scheduled to go on a tour named "You Must Be Joking" in September 2013. In October the same year he is scheduled to go on tour with singer-songwriter Richard Digance, with whom Davidson has performed in the Falklands.
UK chart singles
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. 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.
Davidson has several business interests. He set up a company which bought or leased several seaside theatres or piers, including the Winter Gardens building in Great Yarmouth, which was converted into a nightclub. He lost £700,000 on a pantomime production of Dick Whittington and after a meeting with the Inland Revenue in 2003, he sold the company. Davidson has been quick to take advantage of the video and DVD age, and all of his works are available in a 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 entertained 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, two to the Republic of Macedonia, and at least six to Iraq. He is currently 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.
A former Master Freemason of the Chelsea Lodge (resigned), Davidson was the founding Master of British Forces Foundation (Lodge) No. 9725.
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.
On 6 July 2006, after failing to keep up payments on a £1.4 million back tax bill that he had reduced to £700,000, Davidson was eventually declared bankrupt by the court.
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