19 October 2005

That's the way to do it!

On the auspicious ocassion of the first day of Saddam's trial, we discover that a British Punch and Judy man was banned from using Saddam Hussein and Osama Bin Laden puppets in his Kent seaside show this season. Thanet council told Brent Witts to take the characters out of his routine at Viking Bay, Broadstairs, after complaints from members of the public in August. "It was topical - it was a bit of fun, but someone did not care for that," said Mr Witts who cast Saddam and Bin Laden as the show's bogeymen. "We responded to those complaints by asking the puppeteer to remove the puppets," the council said in a statement. A spokeswoman said she was unable to say how many complaints were received. Mr Witts said he put Saddam in the show as the villain who stole Mr Punch's sausages. Osama Bin Laden was cast as the devil. "The devil would come up and say, 'Am I the devil, or do I look a little like Osama Bin Laden?," he said. Mr Punch dispatched the baddies in time-honoured fashion by bashing them with his stick and Mr Witts said most of the audience enjoyed the joke. Punch and Judy has traditionally poked fun at contemporary figures. "They used to have Mussolini in the show - they had Hitler in the show - that is the secret of Punch and Judy, it is topical," said Mr Witts. But Mr Witts said he was keen to get along with the council, which owns his pitch, and got rid of the characters when asked.
Is that the way to do it?