Jimmy Mulville is a former comedian and actor, starring in Alan Bleasdale's seminal G.B.H. and Jake's Progress. As a founder of Hat Trick Productions, he's now a man responsible for making the nation laugh more than most.
Hat Trick have brought to our screens both the the irreverence of Have I Got News For You and the drama of Case Sensitive alongside ratings hits Whose Line Is It Anyway?, Outnumbered and Father Ted.
Jimmy recently appeared on Desert Island Discs to select his 'favourite things' to be cast away with. We loved it. You can listen here.
As he talked we realised that there was a bigger story to be told than just his selections for easy island listening; there were some lessons we can all take from his experiences.
Jimmy set up Hat Trick Productions with Rory McGrath and Denise O'Donoghue in 1986 to get their own shows made but quickly realised that a forward-thinking and truly open company was also a perfect creative outlet for others. It was their then-unique and quick-fire attitude to making TV comedy that saw them build a reputation for originality and a queue of the best TV creatives beating a path to their door.
Becoming an actor was a boyhood dream- Jimmy's commitment and focus to this ensured he strove to get seen and heard by key players in the media. His decision to move into production in response to his own personal need to get things done shows that sometimes, waiting for others to make it happen isn't going to work. You just have to be brave and do it for yourself.
· LET YOURSELF BE INFLUENCED
As a child, Jimmy was encouraged in Latin and Greek by a teacher; his appreciation for this support informs his adult decisions, and he has in turn nurtured a supportive and creative environment in his business.
· SEIZE THOSE CHANCES
· He acknowledges that he had an enormous bit of luck when he was in a play purely because they needed a Liverpool accent – this led to his joining Footlights and enjoying great success and ready access to creative media minds. Getting this opportunity has made him take a gamble on people he's not known too well based on whether they meet his need, he meets theirs- and whether his instinct says 'Go for it'.
· YOU HAVE TO DO WHAT GETS YOU THROUGH
Jimmy sadly took to using drink and drugs in sorrow over his father's death. It was when he recognised this as a coping mechanism and acknowledged his own destructive behaviour that he was able to grieve properly and eventually use his experience to coach others. The investment he made in rehab taught him that overcoming adversity isn't just about being able to pay for it- it's the behavioural changes that are needed that make you really dig deep.
· His business partner in Hat Trick was also his wife, and when his marriage ended they realised quickly that there had to be compromise; agreements had to be made as so many other careers depended upon their leadership and focus.
· ACCENTUATE THE POSITIVE
Jimmy admits he is melancholic by nature and goes out of his way to put laughter in his life to balance it out. This understanding of his weakness shows his determination to counteract negativity and introduce positive action for greater success.