South East Wales

Barry Punch and Judy cut over 'trivialising violence' fears

Punch and Judy Image copyright Getty Images

A Vale of Glamorgan seaside resort has dropped plans for a Punch and Judy show over fears it trivialises domestic violence.

The traditional puppet show was pulled from the Barry Island Beats, Eats and Treats event on 4-5 June.

Barry council asked the county council organisers to ditch it, with one town councillor saying it had "inappropriate" elements.

But Vale of Glamorgan councillor Audrey Preston said it was just "a fun thing".

The Conservative member for St Brides Major said she had nothing against the popular seaside attraction.

"I can't see that it can possibly be associated with domestic violence, and children have watched it for years," she added.

'Overwhelming support'

Punch and Judy has proved controversial for councils in the UK for more than a decade, with some suggesting the show can be misogynistic and out of step with modern times.

But a group called The Punch and Judy Fellowship supports the tradition and says "the British public has given Mr Punch overwhelming support".

The town council agreed to give £2,500 to support the festival in Barry, which gained wider fame as the setting for the BBC's Gavin and Stacey.

But several councillors spoke out against Punch and Judy and urged the council to think again.

Ian Johnson, a Plaid Cymru councillor, told BBC Wales Barry council had passed a motion opposing domestic violence and both UK and Welsh Governments had agreed legislation.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Punch and Judy is believed to be more than 350 years old, with famous diarist Samuel Pepys writing of a London version in the 1660s

"I was concerned that a traditional Punch and Judy show will go against these aims," he said.

"The issue was that it was treading a fine line between entertainment and recognising that some of it was inappropriate.

"I don't know what the exact content of the show would have been, but it has elements of hitting people and that is not something that we would want to promote."

Vale of Glamorgan council said it did not have a general policy on Punch and Judy.

A spokesman said: "While planning events for the weekend, a host of traditional activities have been considered to ensure the event caters for everyone. The Punch and Judy show that had been considered will not be taking place."