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Have you met the man?

Tell us about the experience, good or bad...

My name is Clare Blacklock and I’d like to take this opportunity to thank Jimmy for helping me get my life back on track.

I have been a fan ever since the Spender series was first aired on the BBC and have followed Jimmy’s subsequent career ever since, have all his albums, and have seen him in concert numerous times, the first time in April 1995 at the Edinburgh Playhouse.  He made both mine and my Gran’s night when he smiled at me from the stage while I was dancing like a mad thing in the fourth row to “Ain’t No Doubt”. In the same year, I also got a signed photo for my 20th birthday which I still have - Gran called his record label and asked them to send one to me.  What a lovely surprise.

I have been through difficult times personally and took great inspiration from Jimmy’s autobiography, “A Northern Soul”.  After reading about the things he had been through, I thought that if he could turn his life around and make a success of things, there was no reason why I couldn’t either.  The first thing on the agenda was getting my independence back, so after 10 years of giving up on driving lessons, I decided to give it another go in early 2005.  It was during this time I remembered how much I loved the car used in the Spender series, the Ford Sierra Sapphire RS Cosworth, and wondered if I might be able to own one.  I found an online community enthusiastic about keeping these cars going, the Ford Sierra Owners Club, and joined. This spurred me on even more, buying my own Sierra Sapphire (a 2000E example with RS Cosworth styling) in the October and passing my driving test in February 2006.

It was at a club monthly gathering in December 2005 that I met fellow member and Sierra owner, Paul Lucas.  We started as good friends and after a few months we arranged to go on a “date”.  Ever since that day we’ve both been blissfully happy with Paul proposing to me during a trip to Venice in November 2006 and after moving in together, are planning to marry in autumn 2009.  Since then, we have bought our very own RS Cosworth which is our pride and joy and we exhibit it at Ford car shows round the country as part of the Ford RS Owners Club.

Jimmy’s work has brought a lot of pleasure to many people and I’ve enjoyed all his TV shows, films and music.  Our song is “Between a Woman and a Man” because we’ve both been through some rough stuff and the words just sum it up perfectly for us – not a dry eye when we listen to it, but in a good way.  This will be our first song at our wedding and we’ll both be drinking a toast to Jimmy.  If it hadn’t been for him, I would never have bought my car and Paul and I would never have met.  In a roundabout way he’s made two people VERY happy and perhaps one day we’ll both get the chance to say “thank you” in person :o)


Claire and Paul

Alan Davidson
I knew Jimmy. We were friends from school so I new Jimmy (a.k.a. Bradford) for about 15 years. I used to go to watch Newcastle in the 70's with him in a big crowd of lads (the Newcastle 'bender' squad) who are all now in their 40's and settled down with a wife and family. My best memory of Jim is sitting in a transit van with him and about twenty other Geordies going to watch 'the Toon' play at Old Trafford. He remarked on the size of my boots (11) as they were one size bigger than his. The last time I saw him in person was in a pub in Newcastle around 1982, when he was with Miriam, his then girlfriend, and I asked him how he was doing. The next time I saw him was on Central's A.W.P. in 1984, which was a real surprise! I preferred Spender to Crocodile Shoes, as I used to look out for all the Tyneside landmarks. My brother is also an actor and he played a 'gum-chewing thug' in the episode about Kenny Cooper, the Newcastle player who went missing. He didn't have any lines so you will probably have missed him. If Jimmy uses a particular record label could you tell me and I will send a letter as I am sure he would be happy to meet up again. Thanks.

Caroline Kemp
Well, we got to the Northampton concert on sat evening. I managed to get a large publicity poster from the theatre. The concert was excellent we were four rows from the front, which is the nearest we've ever been. After the concert we went to wait at the stage door just in case JN made an appearance! We were lucky he signed autographs as he was leaving. I had my copy of the Spender novel and a copy of the book Croc Shoes 2, he kindly signed both. He was surprised when I asked him to sign the Spender book, I said that I had been looking for a copy for some while, his reply was a humourous " I've got lots in my garage!" We found JN to be very relaxed both on stage, and at the stage door. We look forward to seeing him in Ipswich in December.It will be interesting to see if he changes any of the concert format before then, we found it quite a good mix of songs and stories. He tells a good story in that wonderful Geordie accent!!
Jayne Cole
Lisa and myself went to the Croydon concert last night which was fantastic and actually met Jimmy afterwards. He was really friendly and let us touch him. (We're not worthy!!!!!) but wouldn't give us a kiss as he's married! We are going to Newcastle in December so we hope we'll meet him again.
Maria Kaspersson
A friend of mine - a Geordie - met Jimmy Nail in a bar at the premiere of the film "Gregory's Second Girl" in London in September or October (don't remember exactly when it was). Jimmy claimed he was from Sunderland, so my friend had to play along, chatting away in the Geordie accent for a while.