National News

Supplied by

School cancels Punch and Judy show over fears it glorifies domestic violence

4:26 pm, 17th July 2018

Brian Llewellyn said he refused a request from a Middlesbrough school to make sure Punch did not hit Judy, and that his performance should include police officers rather than a policeman.

The 64-year-old said another school had asked him to drop a minstrel character – one he insisted was actually a black puppet, rather than a white one dressed up as a black person – which has featured in Punch and Judy shows for hundreds of years.

“It is just a silly little puppet show with lumps of wood,” he said.

“It does not glorify violence, there are no hidden agendas, no hurtful intentions, and no racism.

“It is, simply, slapstick humour. Do-gooders are killing fun and laughter in the name of being ‘PC.'”

Mr Llewellyn, from Darlington, took over the Punch and Judy act from his father in 1977.

He insisted the show is a “silly little morality play” and Mr Punch “goes round hitting everyone”.

“He hits Judy, the baby, the hits the clown, the crocodile, the policeman and he bats the judge,” Mr Llewellyn said.

“Nobody is exempt. In the end the policeman locks him up and the kids all shout that Mr Punch has been naughty.”

Mr Llewellyn said he and his brothers and sisters used to watch his father perform Punch and Judy and they were not damaged by the show.

He added: “We have all grown up with Punch and Judy, we have seen the violence, the wife-beating, the child-beating – I followed my father for six weeks every summer – and it hasn’t affected us.”

Mr Llewellyn had to remove the Punch and Judy element from his act to perform at the recent Armed Forces Day in Redcar.

Carl Quartermain, cabinet member for culture, tourism and communications at Redcar & Cleveland Borough Council, said it would have been “inappropriate”.

He said: “The business was still booked for its face painting and balloon making entertainment, and the Punch and Judy show will be considered on an event-by-event basis in future.”

Becky Rogerson, from Middlesbrough domestic abuse charity My Sisters’ Place, told the Northern Echo: “Some may get the positive message behind Punch getting punished but that may not be the message every child takes away.”