Blog: Dave LeggettPunch & Judy - saved by Chevrolet

Dave Leggett | 13 August 2008

Well, it is summer (though you would hardly believe it with the weather here) and I guess some car company PRs are having some fun while it is quiet. Chevrolet in the UK has issued an eye-catching press release today. Chevy wants to save the quaint old British beach puppet-show theatre known as 'Punch & Judy'. For the benefit of non-Brits, P&J's history is ancient and it's a fairly crude one-man ('professor') operated thing employing some very loose narrative, very few characters and - I seem to remember - one of them hitting the other one on the head with a hammer rather a lot.

It's designed for young children who enjoy the timeless amusement to be had from one character hitting another hapless one on the head with a great big hammer. It's what kids relied on in the days before X-Box and Playstation when they went on the annual pilgrimage to 'The Seaside'.

Anyway, Chevrolet's release made me smile (some pics to follow):


The once familiar sight of a red and white striped booth is in danger of disappearing from British beaches with over one in three children (37 per cent) saying they have never experienced a Punch & Judy show.  In comparison, 78 per cent of adults used to watch at least one show a year when they were children. 

In an effort to save the show, Chevrolet, the car maker synonymous with value for money, has created the world’s first in-car Punch & Judy theatre.  The custom-made booth fits onto the side of a Chevrolet Captiva allowing Punch & Judy Professors to perform from the back seat of the car.  The free mobile show will tour up and down the country this summer bringing the fun of old-fashioned entertainment to a new generation of beach goers.

The research of over 1,000 UK families revealed that as well as the Punch & Judy show falling out of favour, other traditional beach entertainment is also in decline with 41 per cent of today’s children have never been on a donkey ride (compared to 26 per cent of their parents) and 73 per cent have never taken part in a sand castle competition.

UK parents will take at least three trips to the British seaside this summer, but with a day’s beach entertainment costing an average of £73 it could be an expensive outing.  Indeed, three quarters (74 per cent) of parents say they feel anxious about the cost of keeping the family entertained over the summer holidays.

Susan Kalair from Chevrolet comments:
“Parents are feeling the finanicial pinch more than most this summer so it’s a shame to see traditional, value for money entertainment disappearing from our beaches.  Hopefully our specially-created mobile Punch & Judy car will bring back fond memories for parents and create new ones for the huge number of children who have never even seen the show.  As Punch would say: “that’s the way to do it!”


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