Sunday, 4 December 2016

Panto crisis, romantic disasters and bootleg booze: a tension-filled week in Ambridge

Ambridge panto rehearsals ‘in crisis’

The fate of Lynda Snell’s production of Mother Goose hangs in the balance this week amid rumours of dissent and rebellion in the cast.
'I’ve never known anything like it!’ said Mrs Snell. ‘Tom and Kirsty are meant to be our romantic leads, but frankly there is more chemistry in Bert Fry’s bathroom cabinet. And Lilian Bellamy and Justin Elliott, as the Good Fairy and Demon Squire, are meant to be rivals, but they can’t keep their hands off each other. Most unseemly.
‘Susan Carter also had to cry off rehearsals because of a "domestic incident". It appears she’d “borrowed” her Queen Eleanora costume, which is a glorious sunshine yellow, to wear to a photo shoot, and little Keira had been sick on it. So unprofessional!
‘But worst of all is Brian Aldridge. He marched into the last rehearsal demanding to change the plot. He’s written himself a part as Baron Vastacres, who wants to spend millions of pounds buying up the whole of Gooseland so he can ensure that all the golden eggs go to his children.
‘I tried to tell him that this is simply not in the script and even if it was, pantomime convention dictates that he will end up as Baron Stonybroke. But he insisted this was his destiny and broke into a rousing chorus of ‘The Impossible Dream’, accompanied by Nathan Booth improvising with his ping pong balls.
‘It was a shambles. If things get any worse I shall sign up for the FLOSS production of The Mikado. Tristram Hawkshaw has often said he longs to see my Yum-Yum.’   

St Stephen’s Christmas Appeal

The Rev. Alan Franks writes:

At this time of year, as we gather round the fire with family and friends, it’s fitting that we should spare a thought for those who will not experience the warmth of love this Christmas. 
People like Richard - rejected by the love of his life simply because she believes he still fancies her sister. Or Roy, a lonely divorcee whose system of dating apps and spreadsheets has completely failed him. This week, he was reduced to hiding from Tracy Horrobin in the gents at a 90s night in Felpersham.
And then there is Jazzer, whose bed-hopping lifestyle hides a deep spiritual void (are you sure? Ed).
With your help, St Stephen’s could fund a programme of wholesome activities – paintballing, hedgehog conservation, macramé – to distract these sad men from fruitless romantic pursuits and help them adjust to the single life. Please dig deep – the womenfolk of Borsetshire will thank you! Merry Christmas.

Police warn on illegal booze

Borsetshire’s Rural Crime Unit (PC Harrison Burns) issued a stark warning this week to anyone thinking of cooking up their own Christmas spirit. ‘It is illegal to distill any kind of spirit, even for home use, without a without a distiller's licence, which is required under the provisions of section 12 of the Alcoholic Liquor Duties Act 1979,’ he told a press briefing.
‘It can be tempting to try to save money by setting up a still at home, but be very sure the law will track you down,’ said PC Burns. ‘I was discussing this with Eddie Grundy over a glass of his delicious home-made apple brandy just the other day.’ 

Ask Auntie Satya

 With her unique mixture of warmth and forensic legal skills, Auntie Satya will sort out all your emotional and practical dilemmas!

Dear Auntie Satya,

It’s our wedding anniversary next week and I’d like to whisk my husband off for a romantic pamper break at a spa hotel, which has a gym staffed by elite body-builders and a Michelin-starred restaurant. I’m trying to rebuild trust after I cheated on my husband twice. Why do you think he seems reluctant? Adam.

Dear Adam,

In your longer letter you say your husband is a chef. If you were planning a break to undermine his confidence and confirm his fears about your wandering eye, you couldn’t have made a better choice. As it is, I’d suggest a trip to the Ambridge pantomime – close to home, and no chance whatsoever of any erotic titillation.

Dear Auntie Satya,

My dad and my grandmother are being simply horrid to me, all because my boyfriend made a silly mistake about installing an illegal still to make bootleg gin in our cottage.  He’s ever so sorry about it and swears he’ll never get caught again. But Gran in particular is being really nasty to me. How can I change her mind? Pip.

Dear Pip,

It must be difficult, but trust me when I say that at your age, one boyfriend is very much like another. In fact I seem to remember only a few months ago you wrote to me because your heart had been broken by a peripatetic dairy hand. Does your boyfriend have a brother – maybe one who is just as good-looking, but who knows the difference between right and wrong? Perhaps you could transfer your affections to him. Alternatively, why not arrange a surprise trip for your Gran and your boyfriend to the hotel Adam talks about in his letter? You may find they get on like a house on fire!

Dear Auntie Satya,

My daughter Helen has invited a friend to stay with us after Christmas. They met when Helen was… well, when she went away recently. I know that Kaz was a great support to Helen but I am a little nervous about having a … well, an ex-offender in our home. Am I right to be concerned? Pat.

Dear Pat,

I am sure you have no need to worry Pat. But to make Kaz feel at home why not have a party and invite Ambridge residents who have found themselves on the wrong side of the law? Wayne Tucson, Roy Tucker and Susan Carter – not forgetting of course your own son Tom, and that nice Kirsty Miller – immediately spring to mind.  They will have so much in common you can safely serve the mince pies, leave them chatting and concentrate on counting the spoons.  


  1. A welcome delight, as ever! Thanks, Christine. Some weeks, the TA plot is certainly improved by this version of events.

  2. 'Baron Vastacres' ha, it.....