NATIONAL: Punch and Judy show whacks out at political correctness '˜do-gooders'Â who are '˜killing fun'Â
A Punch and Judy man has whacked political correctness after a school cancelled a booking over fears that the show glorified domestic violence.
Brian Llewellyn claims that he was asked to make sure Punch did not hit Judy during his show by a Middlesbrough school.Â
He says they also told him that his performance should include police officers rather than a policeman.Â
Mr Llewellyn, who is from Darlington,Â took over the Punch and Judy show from his father in 1977.
The 64-year-oldÂ said another school had asked him to drop a minstrel character.
But Mr Llewellyn insists it is actually a black puppet, rather than a white one dressed up as a black person, and that it has featured in Punch and Judy shows for hundreds of years.
In a Facebook post, he said: '˜It is just a silly little puppet show with lumps of wood. 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'.'
The Punch and Judy puppet show traces back to the 1660s being first performed in its earliest incarnation in Covent Garden, London.Â
It features the character of Mr Punch,Â Â who wears a colourful jester'sÂ motleyÂ andÂ sugarloaf hatÂ with a tassel and speaks with a signature squeaky voice.Â
Mr Llewellyn added: '˜Mr Punch goes round hitting everyone.
'˜He hits Judy, the baby, he hits the clown, the crocodile, the policeman and he bats the judge.
'˜Nobody is exempt. In the end the policeman locks him up and the kids all shout that Mr Punch has been naughty.
'˜It's a silly little morality play.'
According to Mr Llewellyn if anyone shouldÂ Â be damaged by Punch and Judy shows it should be his family - a his father had been performing the act since 1952.Â
But hisÂ brothers and sisters are a retired police officer, a pub landlord, a child minder and a radiologist.
'˜We have all grown up with Punch and Judy, we have seen the violence, the wife-beating, the child-beating,' he explained.Â
'˜I followed my father for six weeks every summer - and it hasn't affected us."
Mr Llewellyn said children continued to love the show and they clearly see that Mr Punch is in the wrong.
'˜They all know Mr Punch is naughty, give them some credit,' he added.Â
The children's entertainer 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.'