Page last updated at 14:28 GMT, Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Paul Merton criticises Bristol festival director

Paul Merton
Paul Merton said he was presented with a "fait accompli"

Comedian Paul Merton has criticised a Bristol film festival director after he was dropped from this year's event.

The star has posted a letter to fans on his website attacking the "self appointed director" Chris Daniels.

For the past five years Mr Merton has introduced the Bristol Slapstick Silent Festival with a Gala event.

In his letter Mr Merton says: "I'm sorry that Chris Daniels doesn't share other people's faith in my continued ability to attract audiences."

Mr Merton said: "The continued loyalty of the Bristol audience was very special to me and was matched by my loyalty to them.

'Very saddened'

"At the end of every exceptional Gala evening, I've stood on the stage and promised to return with more delights the following year.

"So you could have knocked me down with a custard pie last August when Chris Daniels emailed my agent to say he was dropping my Gala Night because he believed that we would struggle to sell tickets!!

"This was presented to me as a fait accompli. No discussion, no debate. Your Gala Night isn't happening. I suppose I was 'sacked'."

A statement provided by the volunteer-run festival's steering group said: "The Slapstick steering group is very saddened by the letter posted on Paul's website.

"Paul has been a generous supporter of silent film events in Bristol for many years and we all recognise, and value, the great help we have received from him in attracting new and younger audiences."

This year's Slapstick Festival runs from 21-24 January.

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