Scores of children enjoyed the Punch and Judy Show on Penarth Pier at last year's Summer Festival

Scores of children enjoyed the Punch and Judy Show on Penarth Pier at last year’s Summer Festival

Concern has been expressed in Penarth Town Council’s Leisure and Amenities committee as to whether the  traditional seaside Punch & Judy show is still appropriate entertainment for children at the annual  Summer Festival.

Cllr Clive Williams (Conservative Plymouth Ward)

Cllr Clive Williams (Conservative Plymouth Ward)

When councillors were reviewing the plans for this year’s Festival, Cllr Clive Williams (Conservative Plymouth Ward) noted that a Punch and Judy show was booked to be on Penarth Pier .

Cllr Dr Ian Johnson (Plaid Cymru, Buttrills Ward, Barry)

Cllr Dr Ian Johnson (Plaid Cymru, Buttrills Ward, Barry)

Cllr Williams noted that  Vale of Glamorgan Councillor Ian Johnson (Plaid Cymru) had been interviewed on radio saying that  he was against any form of Punch and Judy because it represented “physical abuse” and was attempting to get ban imposed on all such  performances at council events.

Cllr Williams said he had found Cllr Johnson’s remarks “farcical”. He said he thought the children could “realise the difference between a wooden puppet and the squeaky voices” and  “actual physical  abuse ”   – which he personally would be very much against.

Cllr Rhiannon Birch (Labour Cornerswell)  – in the chair – invited questions on the festival arrangements but then Cllr Gwyn Roberts (Labour St Augustines)  intervened and wanted to comment on what Cllr Williams had said about the Punch and Judy show.

Cllr Gwyn Roberts (Labour St Augustines)

Cllr Gwyn Roberts (Labour St Augustines)

Cllr Roberts said “I understand how farcical it sounds – but at every one of our council meetings we ask a police officer to report on cases of domestic violence and the absolute horror of it.

Cllr Roberts said “The simple fact is that the male is beating the female  at a puppet show. “ He said he did not think children could necessarily differentiate between [the puppet show and reality] .

Cllr Roberts said he did not want to sound like a “spoil sport” but he did have a concern. It was, he said,  a matter of “moving on from the days when there used to be a number of terms which people used which they did not think were harmfully racist – but they simply were”.

Cllr Roberts said the council should not dismiss the matter out of hand. He was not suggesting anything be done now [ in respect of this year’s Summer Festival] but “in future perhaps the council should think twice about it”.

Deputy Town Clerk of Penarth Keri Hutchings

Deputy Town Clerk of Penarth Keri Hutchings

The Deputy Town Clerk Keri Hutchings – who organises the Summer Festival – moved to reassure  Cllr Roberts, telling him “We don’t have that kind of Punch and Judy show” .

Keri Hutchings recalled that there had been a similar conversation to this about five years ago. He assured members of the committee that the Penarth Summer Festival Punch and Judy Show – as currently produced –  featured lots of interaction between the crocodile and the policeman” – and was not the kind of show which Cllr Roberts had in mind.

Local children roared with laughter at the antics of Punch and Judy  on Penarth Pier

Local children roared with laughter at the antics of Punch and Judy on Penarth Pier

The Deputy Town Clerk’s report said that activities in this year’s Carnival Day would be distributed around eight different venues so avoid any overcrowding on the Esplanade itself.

This year there will be new format for Carnival Day July 16th – the Saturday of the Summer Festival and there will be a new route for the Festival parade.One new feature this year is a a “petting Zoo” in Windsor Gardens at which donkey rised will be available.

The only flying displays this year will be by the Coastguard or Police helicopter . No aerobatic displays have been arranged.

The only flying displays at this year’s Carnival Day will be by the Coastguard or the Police helicopter . In contrast to last year’s 50th anniversary event  – when the Vulcan nuclear bomber was the star of the show –  no  aerobatic displays appear in the plans for 2016.

Two free bus services will serve the event –  a shuttle service running every ten minutes form the Town Centre to the Pier  and a service from the Cliff Top to the Town Centre via Cliff Top Car Park, Cliff Parade, Raisdale Road, Augusta Road Castle Avenue, Beechwood Drive, Dinas Road, Redlands Road, Hastings Place , Wordsworth Avenue, Grove Terrace , Stanwell Road, Hickman Road , Windsor Road , Stanwell Road, Archer Road, Victoria Rd, Lavernock Road, Augusta Road, Raisdale Road, Cliff Parade and Cliff Top Car Park.

Most of the traditional events like the Downhill Derby are included in the programme and there will be demonstrations by the Police helicopter, RNLI and Penarth Coastguard . Full details will be published shortly.





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  1. Christopher David says:

    WOW, I’m so glad to see the councillors making best use of their time. Punched in on the dot for a Judy-icial review.

    • Ron Foxton says:


    • Philip Rapier says:

      Not sure “That’s the Way to Do it”!!?? Thank you PDN for raising this matter.
      By astonishing coincidence in my capacity as Cardiff and South Wales Branch Secretary of the Actors Equity Union (inc. Variety Artistes Federation) I am attending the Annual Conference. in Bristol this weekend. I will certainly raise the matter of- Municpal Banning of Punch trends- from the platform and with the Circus Committee. Please be assured I will not be recommending “strike “action of any kind anywhere within my member’s catchment area and will of course report back my findings before giving advice on any local employers policies and practices.

  2. Ron Foxton says:

    Highlighting the issue of domestic violence is absolutely right and proper of course for our impressionable toddlers. However, what of the horror of a ravenous, free-running crocodile horrifically consuming a squeaky, pointy-nosed chap with an obvious upper back disorder and the ensuing police involvement, bordering on brutality, when dealing with the abhorrent and chaotic situation?


  3. 249ers says:

    That’s the way to do it??

  4. pompousfruit says:

    I never saw a Punch and Judy show as a child but in my 30’s saw my first one at a summer park event and enjoyed it but the kids were either bored or frightened. Maybe they should be for over 12’s only.

  5. Martin Coffee says:

    What a waste of time. If they’ve got nothing better to do they should disband themselves.

  6. Tom says:

    Where to start? In Little Red Riding, the wolf (a predatory male preying on elderly females) swallows the grandmother whole and the woodcutter cuts open the wolf (a symbol of physical male supremacy and violence towards animals) , In Rumpelstiltskin (a child trafficker) the King shuts a young girl in a tower with threats to cut off her head (male in authority threatens vulnerable young female). Do Batman and Superman need to stop overcoming their enemies for fear of endorsing superior physical strength? Plenty for ‘Cllr Dr Ian Johnson’ to get his teeth into…
    Meanwhile, education in Wales continues its slide into the abyss.

    • Martin Coffee says:

      Don’t forget the antics of Arthur Ransome’s children roaming the countryside without an adult in sight for days on end. How the do gooders never caught up with them I’ll never understand.

  7. gary petherick says:

    wot is the world cummin 2

  8. whatsoccurin says:

    It is easy to get on the “nanny state gone mad” bandwagon but times change-many of us can remember “enjoying” the usually wet and dismal “Whit Monday” (no change there) by watching on TV, the “Kelvin Hall “Circus-dignified animals being coerced into unnatural routines, and the “hilarious” Brian Rix farces where people ran in and out of rooms and one unfortunate chap always ended up losing his trousers-sometimes change is for the better!

  9. EH says:

    Well, at least we can still see the police beating a crocodile…or might it be the other way around ?? Either way, Alun Michael will not be amused…

  10. Kevin Mahoney says:

    I feel that it’s rather disturbing that there are actually idiots like this making decisions of any note.

    If they can’t differentiate between a harmless puppet show that has been delighting and entertaining children for centuries and the realities of life then you really have to question what grip on reality they actually have.

    The wider implication of course is that these councillors troubled by the premise of Punch and Judy shows are applying the same logic to many areas of life that they are voting on in the council chamber that affect all residents of Penarth, Barry and the wider Vale.

    • john64 says:

      Why bother with puppets? Why not have our erstwhile councillors stage their own version? Scene 1. Judy played by Cllr. Burnett (Labour, St. Augusine’s Ward) is horrified that Punch,Cllr. Williams (Conservative, Plymouth Ward), has left a post it note on her car. Horrified by this attack and feeling so very, very vulnerable she calls the policeman, Cllr Roberts (Labour, St. Augustine’s Ward).
      Scene 2, next local elections. The crocodile (played by randomly selected PDN readers from the St. Augustine’s Ward) give Judy a, metaphorically speaking, punch on the nose.
      No real violence and everybody happy!

    • Barrie Howell says:

      Right on the nail

  11. AK says:

    Nice to read that our Councillors are concerning themselves with important matters.

    If the decide to ban Punch and Judy, I suggest we get some PTC stocks instead, and throw rotten fruit at whoever voted out Mr Punch !

    I’ll throw the first tomatoes.

  12. Ann Other says:

    it’s the cruelty to sausages that worries me, just flung about on strings and used as weapons – you can bet your life nobody even asked the individual sausages whether they wished to be deployed in that way.

  13. Lindsay says:

    The real surprise is that anyone thinks Punch & Judy, with or without violence, is relevant to today’s children.

    • Ann Other says:

      Well, it is terribly funny for children when done well – they love outrageous, rule-breaking abandon, don’t they, as long as it is contained in an obviously fictional framework. The carpers miss the point completely, I’d say, and misunderstand and undervalue children. The point is, of course, that we do not approve of Punch and Judy’s behavior. They are clearly in the grip of ridiculous, extreme passions. It is a very funny lesson in how not to behave, or how we humans behave at our very worst, full of passions and unreason. Children know this, for goodness sake, and enjoy having their intuitions consolidated by the funny theatre going on … and the politically correct are actually doing the opposite of what they think they are doing by banning it: they are not educating children but hampering their development and their happiness.

      • Tom says:

        You seem to be implying that being outdoors, laughing at Punch & Judy – as illustrated in the photograph accompanying this article – is not ‘relevant’ to ‘today’s children’, so what are you suggesting, Lindsay?

    • Tom says:

      That’s right Lindsay, let’s encourage them to stay indoors, plugged into an Xbox.

      • Lindsay says:

        Why Tom? Is that the only alternative?

      • Andrew sarchus says:

        Tom- don’t waste your time on Ludicrous Lindsay. I’ve made that mistake and have discovered he’s just dim. He’s nor really following what’s going on. He always fails to get the Punchline 😉

      • Lindsay says:

        Your alliteration is worse than your jokes, Christopher. Stick to the abuse.

  14. Christopher David says:

    Toulouse or not Toulouse- that is the sausage. Expense claiming nutters.

  15. Andrew sarchus says:

    I see as usual its all gone over the head of little Lindsay. He / she must be a councillor.

    • Lindsay says:

      Unlike you, eh Christopher? Your name is Punchinello, you’re such a clever fellow.

  16. David Davis says:

    Their is a saying that goes ” you get what you deserve” , do we really need such pathetic, sour faced , nonentities running the Council and making such stupid suggestions? All my life ive heard of a man like being called Jesus being nailed to a wooden cross, after being brutalised , and when I was a child I watched such horrors as Bill and Ben on TV, who could not even talk properly doing mischief to someones garden. And if that wasn’t traumatic enough we used to watch Sooty on TV who was very naughty most of the time , a really bad example oh and Dennis the Menace and the Bash Street Kids showed children how to be naughty . As for Punch and Judy the children in the photo printed on here look terrified and shocked !! As for those Council members who complained the following words apply , “shut up and grow up”.

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