Theatre world rocked by the revelation that Extinction Rebellion arrestee is starring in ‘Jack and the Beanstalk’, the new pantomime by former Blue Peter presenter, Peter Duncan
** It is recommended that you get children involved by cheering every mention of Peter Duncan, Extinction Rebellion/XR and Julian Assange and booing any mention of Boris Johnson, Priti Patel or The S*n.
The Murdoch-owned tabloid, The S*n**, has this morning broken the story that one of the stars of a new filmed pantomime is no less than, Katharine (‘Kate’) Medhurst, an Extinction Rebellion** (‘XR’) activist (and she doesn’t play either the baddie or an ugly sister!)
Jack and the Beanstalk (JATB), which opens in Everyman and Showcase cinemas across the UK this weekend, was filmed in the south west London garden of Peter Duncan**, who was a presenter on BBC’s Blue Peter from 1980 to 1986.
Panto insiders are said to be furious that security protocols failed to weed out Medhurst (55) and that her involvement may undermine the strong climate change messages contained in the pantomime. Signs such as “There is No Planet B” and “I’m in Greta’s Gang” feature prominently, underlining the important contribution being made by theatrical types through Culture Declares Emergency (a growing international movement of individuals and organisations in the cultural sector declaring climate and ecological emergency).
Medhurst was arrested on 1 September in Parliament Square for sitting in the road, just days prior to filming, as part of XR’s ‘September Rebellion’ campaign of civil disobedience. XR** demands that government and the media #TellTheTruth about the climate and ecological emergency (Oh, yes they do!)
A spokesperson for Peter Duncan** denied that he had ignored a warning by one of the cast, who had recognised Medhurst waving out of an upstairs window with a “There is No Planet B” placard, by shouting “She’s behind you!” explaining, “He simply thought it was part of the performance!”
Civil servants and ministers are holding secret talks at the Home Office about how to respond. The Home Secretary, Priti Patel**, who recently threatened to designate XR as an organised crime group, fears that news of a climate rebel in pantomime this Christmas could unleash a surge of support for Extinction Rebellion**.
“It is fair to say banning ‘Jack and the Beanstalk’ is on the table” one government source told The S*n**, on condition of anonymity, “But we don’t want to make this pantomime another The War Game, that would be the ‘nuclear option’, boom, boom!”
I was a little puzzled and they had to explain: “Geddit? The NUCLEAR option! The War Game? The 1965 BBC docudrama about the horrors of nuclear war which we didn’t dare allow the British public to watch? Why do I bother?” (Groan!)
Shadow Secretary of State for Digital Culture Media and Sport, Jo Stevens, said banning a pantomime would be seen by many as an attempt by Priti Patel** to bully the creative industries and, if she tried such a thing, the opposition would convey a very strong message: “Oh no, you can’t!”
Right wing libertarian groups have recognised the danger of traditional Christmas celebrations being hijacked by the XR** activists. “Why can’t these busybody environmental activists adopt a laissez-faire approach to everything like we suggest?” they asked. “Sure, the way rich people live in wealthy countries threatens the futures of our children and grandchildren (and is destroying lives in the Global South)…but what about the stock market?”
We doorstepped Medhurst outside her smart home in Earlsfield, SW London asking if she was a “hypocrite” and “middle class” (which the tabloid media like to suggest, so we thought “why not?”) But she was actually very nice and explained the months of planning it took to land the role in JATB!
“For several years now I’ve been part of SingSWell — a community choir in SW London—singing at school fêtes, church carol concerts and even to the Wimbledon queue…waiting for my chance” she explained, “Then the COVID19 pandemic hit, Peter (Duncan)** decided to do an online pantomime and asked for several SingSWell’ers to join the cast. Bingo!”
As we listened to Medhurst, it was clear that recent revelations had been something of a relief:
“I’m glad The S*n** has exposed me as I feel I’ve been living a double life”, Medhurst confessed. “Many people who know me would consider me completely respectable, but they don’t know how sometimes I can be spotted at a rally for Julian Assange, or shouting outside Parliament with XR** for Boris Johnson** and Priti Patel** to #TellTheTruth. I’m just surprised it took so long after my bloody husband tweeted the moment of my arrest in September.”
She was referring to the well-known troublemaker, Andrew Medhurst, who inadvertently risked destroying months of planning by tweeting a photograph of his wife’s arrest on 1 September just days before the filming of Medhurst’s scenes in JATB. “Had Peter Duncan** seen that tweet or spotted me being released from Wandsworth Police Station at just after 3am the next day, I’m sure I would’ve been sent packing!” said Medhurst.
We hope to ask Peter Duncan** and other cast members for comment at the World Premiere of JATB in Kings Cross on Friday 4 December. It is not yet known whether the Medhursts will be banned from walking down the red carpet.
Tickets for Jack and the Beanstalk can be purchased online here or you can still experience the magic of pantomime at cinemas across the UK with Everyman Cinema and Showcase from 5 December. Review in The Guardian.
Extinction Rebellion is an international movement that uses non-violent civil disobedience in an attempt to halt mass extinction and minimise the risk of social collapse (and save pantomime for future generations!)
#ActNow #TellTheTruth #RebelForLife #ExtinctionRebellion