Don’t be scared, kids – it’s only Simon Cowell…
Yes, as part of the 350th anniversary celebrations of Punch and Judy, the media mogul has joined the cast of Britain’s longest-running puppet show, which has been re-imagined for the modern age.
Since Samuel Pepys made the world’s earliest recorded reference to a Punch and Judy show in his diary of 1662, this peculiar form of live entertainment has never gone away, despite metamorphasising from something esoteric and intended for adults into a bit of fun for kids at the seaside.
But all that’s set to change again this year as Punch is getting a topical makeover. Instead of the Skeleton, the Baby and the Constable, audiences at Covent Garden and around British coastal towns this summer will get to see marionette dopplegangers of Cowell, Prince Harry and Nick “Cleggy the Clown” Clegg take their place in Punch and Judy Rebooted.
London Mayor Boris Johnson’s also got a role in the new show (left), which will cast Punch as a benefits cheat and Judy as a wannabe WAG, and features new hate figures in the forms of an EU Sausage Inspector, Longa the Loan Shark and an ageing female pop star who collects children.
The new show’s been penned by comedy writers from digital channel Gold in an attempt to re-capture some of the satirical bite of Punch and Judy shows from centuries past while omitting things like jokes about domestic violence, which don’t sit so well with modern audiences.
Steve North, General Manager of Gold said of the show: “Punch and Judy are quintessentially British and hugely important part of our culture.
“This project is all about preserving that culture and introducing it to a new generation. It’s important to note that this is not a politically correct makeover – indeed the new show is just as anarchic and funny as its always been, it’s simply a modern day version with modern day themes that we can all relate to.”
Punch and Judy Rebooted’s first performance took place in Covent Garden earlier today, and the show will tour the country over the summer with Shaun “Barry from EastEnders” Williamson acting as its compere.