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Last Updated: Monday, 17 October 2005, 12:37 GMT 13:37 UK
Snow White's dwarfs become gnomes
Snow White's new friends could look like this
Snow White's seven dwarfs have been replaced by seven gnomes in a pantomime script given to a Kent drama group.

The Coxheath Players said they were stunned when their scripts arrived with no reference to dwarfs.

The show's director said the players thought it was "just a giggle" and would not make much difference.

A spokesman for the Northampton-based publishers said the change had come from a wish not to offend - gnomes being fictitious.

The script, which the publishers said was a popular version performed by about 10 theatre companies a year, also sees some of the traditional dwarf names changed.

The omission of the word dwarf prompted front-page coverage in The Sun newspaper, the UK's biggest selling daily title.

A gnome is a fictional character like a giant or an ogre, it is not offensive
Jim Sperinck, Jasper Publishing

But Karen Birkbeck, who will direct the show for the Coxheath Players, said: "We have to go by the script and the script says gnomes, so they have to be gnomes, I'm afraid.

"We just thought it was a bit of a giggle and thought it doesn't really make an awful lot of difference.

"We've got a Bossy and a Basher instead of a Bashful and a Doc, but we've still got a Dopey - a very dopey Dopey."

Walt Disney, pictured in 1959
Dwarfs were good enough for Walt Disney in his film version

The script is published by Jasper Publishing, which was founded by Jim Sperinck.

Mr Sperinck, a director of the firm, said nobody had ever raised questions about the script before.

He said: "Obviously someone has got hold of the idea that the titles have been altered for political correctness and seems not to be aware that times change.

"There used to be a show on the television called the Black and White Minstrels which was withdrawn because it was politically incorrect, or felt to be.

"If you were 3ft 6in would you prefer to be called a dwarf in a pantomime or a gnome?

"A gnome is a fictional character like a giant or an ogre, it is not offensive."

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