Sunday, 1 August 2004

"Whatever happened to Jimmy Nail?"

So asked Anna in her comment on my "Geordie Frustration" posting. It's perhaps a measure of the paucity of my writing inspiration that I decided to answer her here.

But it's a fair question. There was a time when Jimmy Nail was like horsemuck - he was everywhere.

(*Note to self: is it reasonable to go on using this simile? How much horsemuck have you seen recently?*)

But now he's slipped a little from the public view.

He was, of course, in the two most recent series of Auf Wiedersehen, Pet. The one where they dismantled the Transporter Bridge and rebuilt it on Native American land over a gorge like the Grand Canyon. And then the one supposedly set in Cuba, where Oz (Jimmy Nail) won the heart of a Cuban ballet dancer but gave her up for the freedom of his buddy, Barry.

Plausible plots as ever.

The interesting thing about these two series compared to the earlier ones is the change in Oz as a character and the greater prominence given to him. My suspicion is that the money Nail made from Spender and his relatively lacklustre singing career went into financing the two Auf... series. And for money, there has to be a payback. Hence more and better Oz.

But for all you really need to know about Jimmy Nail, you should go to
Sharon's Jimmy Nail Fan Site. It's all there. His charity appearances on the Sunday for Sammy charity gigs and even the fact that "A video of Jimmy on stage performing 'Why Aye Man' with Mark Knopfler is included on Mark's 'Ragpicker's Dream' album."

To which I can only add that Why Aye Man is a jolly fun kind of song and the theme tune to an excellent and scurrilous series called Breeze Block (by the writer of Rab C. Nesbitt) about scruffy folk in the Byker Wall .

For some reason it never moved from its tryout on BBC3 to mainstream BBC. Shame.

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