Issue Date: 04/09/2001
Issue Name: Punch & Judy
Producer: Buckingham Covers
You'll be as Pleased as Punch with this cover! Mr Punch and his wife, Judy have officially lived in Covent Garden ever since Samuel Pepys described the puppet show back in 1662, so our cover is postmarked at Covent Garden.
We hired a leading professor to give a Punch & Judy show right there on the day our cover was released! What's more, a few were signed by comic genius Ronnie Barker to raise money for his local hospice.
Punch & Judy
Punch and Judy is a traditional, popular, and usually very violent puppet show featuring Pulcinella (Mr. Punch) and his wife Judy. The performance consists of a sequence of short scenes, each depicting an interaction between two characters, most typically Mr. Punch and one other character (who usually falls victim to Mr. Punch's club). It is often associated with traditional British seaside culture. The various episodes of Punch and Judy are performed in the spirit of outrageous comedy — often provoking shocked laughter — and are dominated by the clowning of Mr. Punch.
The show is performed by a single puppeteer inside the booth, known since Victorian times as a "professor" or "punchman", and assisted sometimes by a "bottler" who corrals the audience outside the booth, introduces the performance, and collects the money ("the bottle"). The bottler might also play accompanying music or sound effects on a drum or guitar, and engage in back chat with the puppets, sometimes repeating lines that may have been difficult for the audience to understand. In Victorian times, the drum and pan pipes were the instruments of choice. Today, the audience is also encouraged to participate, calling out to the characters on the stage to warn them of danger or clue them in to what is going on behind their backs. Also nowadays, most professors work solo, since the need for a bottler became less important when busking with the show gave way to paid engagements at private parties or public events.
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Ronald William George Barker, OBE was an English actor, comedian and writer. He was known for roles in British comedy television series such as Porridge, The Two Ronnies, and Open All Hours. Barker began acting in repertory theatre and decided he was best suited to comic roles.