Lighten up! Jim Davidson banned by theatre and forced to perform in the dark

Jim Davidson
Jim Davidson

Jim Davidson was left in the dark at a recent gig after falling out with a female lighting engineer.

The comedian claims that during a show at the Assembly Halls in Tunbridge Wells the lighting engineer "had a strop" and turned the stage lights off, leaving the 61-year-old "stood in the dark for most of the performance".

And to make matters worse, the Kent venue never wants to see him again. 

In a statement on his website, Davdison wrote: "Outrageous, banned from the venue for slagging it off. I knew it, in fact I told the audience that [this] is what would happen.

"I stood in the dark for most of the performance while the lighting girl had a strop, she then put all the lights on and blinded me and the audience and refused to turn them down for 10 minutes. The stage manager sent me on while the house lights were up and then vanished."

Director of the Tunbridge Wells venue, Brian McAteer, shone a rather different light on the situation, however.

"The Assembly Hall Theatre is a professional venue that hosts sell-out gigs for some of the best known names in comedy," he said. "Irrespective of Jim Davidson's rudeness to the theatre staff and negative comments about the venue, for commercial reasons it is unlikely the theatre management would have booked him for future dates." 

Addressing McAteer's accusations of "rudeness", Davidson, who is on his nationwide Charlton Nil tour, claimed: "I never spoke to one person from the management from the minute I got there to the moment I left. The audience loved the show and when I asked for a show of hands to ask if the audience believed the theatre staff were taking the p--s they all put their hands up."

He added sarcastically: "They [the audience] are wrong though, how dare they agree with me and not the arrogant people running their council theatre with the audiences [sic] council tax. They [the council] have let you down. Please feel free to write to them." Davidson then provided McAteer's email address.

But Davidson wasn't finished there. In another blog post, published just hours later, he continued the personal criticism: "I got a call from an old friend today. He is a manager of touring shows. He is so p---ed off with the apathy that the theatres have developed. He's right. No posters, no management and an arrogance that needs to be seen to be believed.

"I think I know the answer. Staff that are c--p but can't be sacked and subsidies from the councils... Stick to sorting out road sweepers and give the theatre to [ticketing company] ATG."

Davidson's fans have been voicing their support on Twitter:

Davidson has a history of unfortunate clashes with theatres and their staff. According to the website Chortle, he was banned from the Theatre Royal in Norwich in 2004 because he was "very rude to staff", while earlier this year, three pantomime performances were pulled in Glasgow amid similar accusations.  

Meanwhile, after a gig at the Guild Hall in Preston this year, Davidson said: "Preston looked boarded up. There were more people of Asian appearance than white people. I found the gig. It looked like a Russian fall-out shelter."