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Friday, 6 December, 2002, 17:30 GMT
Comedian banned by councillors
Bernard Manning
The veteran comic is shrugging off the council ban
The comedian Bernard Manning has been banned from performing in a seaside town.

Councillors in Weymouth in Dorset fear they would breach race laws by letting the comedian play at the town's Pavilion.

Mr Manning, 72, is famous for cracking jokes at the expense of women and ethnic minorities.

Officials voted to cancel the show at the council-run theatre on Thursday night after some 200 residents signed a petition against it.


This is not about political correctness. We are talking about a comedian who is on the edge

Tom Lane, campaigner
Around 120 tickets had already been sold for the performance on 1 February 2003.

Ticket holders will now get a full 12.50 refund.

Tom Lane, a youth worker who started the campaign to ban Mr Manning, said: "This is not about political correctness. We are talking about a comedian who is on the edge.

"Racism is one of the most despicable aspects of society and can have horrendous consequences."


This is denying someone freedom of speech

Ted Raker, Bernard Manning fan
Mr Manning said: "I'm sure my fans will be upset, but never mind. It doesn't bother me."

Councillor Andy Blackwood said: "Bernard Manning's brand of humour is deliberately designed to breed hatred among racial groups."

He said: "I believe it is wrong and potentially illegal for us to offer the Pavilion as a venue for his material."

Brian Ellis, a council tourism spokesman, said Weymouth's small ethnic minority made it especially important to promote racial harmony.

Racial equality

Ted Raker, a Bernard Manning fan from Bournemouth, said he was outraged at the decision.

He said: "It is a disgrace and proves political correctness in this country is spiralling out of control.

"This is denying someone freedom of speech. I'm gutted that I will not be able to see Bernard perform."

Under the 2000 Race Relations Act local authorities have a duty to promote racial equality.


Click here to go to Southampton
See also:

29 Aug 02 | Entertainment
31 May 02 | England
06 Sep 01 | Politics
11 Jan 00 | Entertainment
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