Grumpy or jealous?

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Grumpy or jealous?

Postby Chris » 16 Aug 2012, 23:39

Prof James Arnott has been gleaning some publicity today with a Punch's 350th special show commisioned by TV Gold. Apparently he's already had some flack from the "keep Punch traditional" brigade. The trouble is that their idea of keeping Punch traditional is to keep it firmly in the 1950s. They seem unaware that the true tradition is to be topical and to keep Punch fresh, within a traditional format. Respecting tradition does not mean preserving in aspic.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FaPQROLGlnU&feature=youtube_gdata_player

Here's some publicity blurb - thank goodness they've had the sense to have a real Punch and Judy prof on the team -

PUNCH AND JUDY REBOOTED…

Seaside show given a 21st Century makeover
to mark 350th anniversary



• It’s Punch the benefits cheat and Judy the wannabe WAG with new arch enemies Longa the Loan Shark and The EU Sausage Inspector
• “Starring”Prince Harry, Nick Clegg as ‘Cleggy the Clown’, Judge Simon Cowell and bumbling policeman Boris Johnson
• Covent Garden Premiere starring Shaun Williamson as the bottler – national beach tour August 2012
British comedy channel, Gold, is celebrating 350 years of the iconic seaside show, Punch and Judy, by inviting comedy fans, families and anyone up for a laugh to its national beach tour starting in London’s Covent Garden on Thursday 16th August!
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Re: Grumpy or jealous?

Postby Nick Jackson » 17 Aug 2012, 06:33

It looks superbly done. Not sure about the chavvy Punch – too many like him in my local Tesco. And Judy should be wearing large curlers, a fake tan and pyjamas.

Does the "keep Punch traditional" brigade have a point? While I would love to hang Cameron thrice daily, I would have problems doing this with a well-known living person – despite everything he's done – and, yes, I know Marwood and Ketch were still well-known when they first went to Punch's gallows.

But anything which keeps Punch in the public eye has to be a good thing. Well done to James Arnott and good luck with the tour.
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Re: Grumpy or jealous?

Postby Dan » 17 Aug 2012, 07:20

Yes well done James, can't wait to see it on Gt. Yarmouth beach next week. This is fantastic PR for Punch wether you like the idea or not. This seems to have had more press coverage in two days than the birthday celebrations have had in 6 months.
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Re: Grumpy or jealous?

Postby lesclarke » 17 Aug 2012, 11:06

I enjoyed the section shown, liked the puppets, and glad they got a good swazzling Pof, ...have fun James, glad you are there to present a balanced view.

... and I'd say it was well within 'The Tradition' ...and as has been said it will get publicity, and get people thinking.

..but those responsible are over are really over-claiming what they have done ie 'coming up with a 'possible blueprint for future shows', from what they say, it appears to be not a lot more than a show entirely of topical characters and references, I hope they kept in some traditional bit of business, especially bits of ACTION, as one can only take so many clever topical verbal references.

It's understandable why they did it, and an interesting exercise, but without pre-judging what I haven't fully seen, I'd guess that this approach to developing a 'new 'recipe for Punch' may well drop too many key 'ingredients' and so lack the 'full flavour' of the Traditional Recipe.

Once a year I will buy a M&S savoury ready meal, a vegetable bake or similar, I always enjoy the first mouthful or two, it awakes my taste buds, but after that every mouthful tastes a bit 'samey.'

Lets keep the 'full fat' Punch recipe!
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Re: Grumpy or jealous?

Postby Chris » 17 Aug 2012, 13:56

Well of course they are over-claiming Les, that is the nature of publicity. And no, they won't inaugurate a new form of Punch. As for its admitted shortcomings, let us not forget it is TV based and using comedy scriptwriters. Doubtless James will have a fight on his hands to keep in some typical business - but does it matter? It will all be forgotten within a few months and Punch will happily continue for years to come. Shakespeare plays survive being done in modern dress with scaffolding scenery, being presented as a musical or even a cartoon version of one, and if Punch can survive despite Bertwistle or even the performances of some contemporary Punchmen, then I'm sure he will not be phased by Punch and Judy Rebooted.
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Re: Grumpy or jealous?

Postby Richard Coombs » 17 Aug 2012, 20:46

Ooooh tricky one ...
And I probably shouldnt touch it with a ten foot slapstick.


For me , that James Arnott is involved neither adds nor detracts from my gut feeling that this is not on balance a wonderful thing for Punch and Judy.


The problem I have with it ( and no neither grumpy nor jealous) ...is that the clip seems to suggest that Punch and Judy is only ever going to be any good in the coming century if television companies and their publicity seeking organised 'Roadshows' , two comedy Writers and a 'recognised' front man are involved.

The underlying message is that Punch and Judy performers alone cannot come up with anything that will keep adults and children entertained.


..... I humbly beg to differ !
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Re: Grumpy or jealous?

Postby Chris » 17 Aug 2012, 22:57

the clip seems to suggest that Punch and Judy is only ever going to be any good in the coming century if television companies and their publicity seeking organised 'Roadshows' , two comedy Writers and a 'recognised' front man are involved.


Richard I do really doubt if the general public would pay enough attention to imply such a complicated message. I watched the clip twice yesterday - and trying to recall now all I really remember is that it was mentioned that Punch was 350 years old, that there was a very funny puppet of Boris, that two writers, unknown to me, weren't very coherent, that the actor fronting it lacked any charm or pleasing personality, that James came over fairly well and briefly explained slapstick. I honestly don't think the man in the street will get any more.

But of course I agree with you that this isn't "a wonderful thing for Punch and Judy". I don't really think I said, or suggested that it was. What I do think is that Punch will survive being used by Gold TV for its own purposes. I also think that it is a very positive thing that we have a representative at Court rather than being totally at the mercy of ignorance and misconception. I think James' point of view runs along the lines of :"It is best to be on the inside of the project doing it, and able to influence it rather than see a weak, pc dull slapstick-free show, as was the original script". (nb that's my paraphrase, not James' words.)

Like you, I know there are other Punch profs who won't like the show. That's fair enough. We all have our own tastes. I didn't like Spittin' Image for example while many of you loved it. My point about this Gold TV effort is that it isn't going to damage the 'tradition' one jot. What I do think damages us are the shows that some of our own ranks inflict on the public, but that's another story.
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Re: Grumpy or jealous?

Postby James » 19 Aug 2012, 09:19

Thanks for the comments. I'm surprised this story has had such widespread coverage, with lots of local tv, and national radio and newspapers. The PR company were surprised too. Ironically it's the Punch Profs complaining that have made this into a big story. If they'd left it alone it would have gone unnoticed. But those that rang up local radio stations ranting and raving have made the client very grateful for all the press coverage!

I think the people complaining so publicly would have benefited from seeing the show first, or at least from reading the press release. This was never intended to be a non pc, slapstick free show, and it isnt in performance. I'm not sure what show they thought I was doing!!

On a similar note, when being interviewed some Profs could do with a basic media briefing. We've already had Neenagh Watson from Puppetlink being interviewed at a Punch festival saying that it's a horrid show, and there have been a few clangers this time round too. I'm bored of hearing Profs talk about violence. They're doing themselves, and the show a disservice. Much better talking about the slapstick nature of physical comedy and of pantomime.

The performance  keeps the traditional elements and has added new scenarios and topical characters. It's not going to be a blueprint for shows for the next century, but it stood up to the ultimate test on Thursday and held 200 people's attention for 35 minutes and made a lot of children laugh. 

Punch has always been used to advertise products (I wonder what the Punch community would say if he went back to advertising cigars?!) and there have been a few projects like this recently (O2, Skoda etc) and I thought it would be better to be involved, and able to shape the project, making sure traditional elements were kept, that Punch swazzled well, that he had his stick and knew how to use it to comical effect etc, than to see a watered down, boring show by someone who didn't care for Punch and the Punch tradition. 
Still haven't had my copy of the Evening Star, the delivery service is terrible!
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Re: Grumpy or jealous?

Postby Professor Eek » 21 Aug 2012, 10:27

Have to agree with you James about how we describe the show - using the word 'violence' ourselves does us no favours - 'slapstick' and 'fun' are words I tend to use very frequently.
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Re: Grumpy or jealous?

Postby Trevek » 21 Aug 2012, 18:20

I agree with both James and Eek, here. The term "knockabout comedy" is a lot better than "violence".

The whole thing looks like some jolly fun. Boris as a kind of Commedia il dottore-style policeman looks good (I think he'd do well as a Beadle, but it's not up-to-date).

Funny thing, at the beginning my hearing (which is dogy at the best of times) made me hear, "Punch re-booth-ed"
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Re: Grumpy or jealous?

Postby Dan » 24 Aug 2012, 19:49

Went to see Punch and Judy REBOOTED yesterday in Great Yarmouth and I wasn't disapointed. James and his bottler really did Punch and Judy proud. It had plently of slapstick and traditional elements that you would normally find with the added well know character (Boris was especially good). There was plenty of families watching and it was great to see a few Punchmen there too all enjoying the show.
I have attached todays local newspaper article and link.

This hasn't done the Punch and Judy 'tradition' one bit of harm and if anything it has probally boosted and reinforced its popularity once again. :D

http://www.edp24.co.uk/news/punch_and_j ... 1345812563

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Re: Grumpy or jealous?

Postby Dan » 31 Aug 2012, 20:04

Spotted this photograph. Even Gus Wood thought about updating his show even back in the early 50's.

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Re: Grumpy or jealous?

Postby Chris » 31 Aug 2012, 23:11

Am quite intrigued by the coffin shaped booth
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Re: Grumpy or jealous?

Postby Dan » 01 Sep 2012, 14:16

Here it is now.

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Re: Grumpy or jealous?

Postby Chris » 01 Sep 2012, 15:09

Nice sanitized picture. It's lost the big hips look.
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