New Host for Slapstick Gala 2013 Announced!

Well, what a week it has been behind the scenes at Slapstick Festival 2013 towers! Rather than rehash what’s already been written we may as well just reprint for you the press release that we’ve been feverishly sending round in the last few hours & which explains as well as anything what’s been going on for us these last few days.

“The volunteers who run Bristol’s annual festival of vintage screen comedy – Slapstick – are smiling again today after the multiple-award winning and multi-talented Victoria Wood agreed to take over as host of the January 2013 event’s biggest attraction and fund-raiser, the Slapstick Gala at Colston Hall on Friday 25 January.

Organisers of the internationally-acclaimed laughter-fest were untypically sad-faced on Monday when they heard that the Gala’s advertised master of ceremonies, Dara O’Briain, was having to pull-out because of an unexpected clash with filming commitments in Africa for next year’s Comic Relief.

Slapstick director, Chris Daniels, admits: “It was a serious blow. We all know how fantastic Comic Relief is at raising huge sums of money to relieve poverty and suffering overseas and in Britain so there was no way we would want to stop Dara from helping but it did leave us feeling seriously glum at the consequences for the biggest event in the four-day Slapstick 2013 programme, our Colston Hall Gala. So we were absolutely delighted when the very first person we approached, Victoria Wood, said she’d be delighted to step in, to introduce our other celebrity guests, including Barry Cryer and Paul McGann, and our bill of classic comedy films, being accompanied live by the Bristol Ensemble and European Silent Screen Virtuosi.”

He added: “The choice couldn’t be more perfect as one of the strands at Slapstick 2013 is called Funny Ladies – a salute to early silent film comediennes and a special event starring June Whitfield, whose comedy career spans six decades. And as many popularity polls and awards ceremonies prove, Victoria Wood is very widely recognised as one of our very funniest female talents, both as a performer and as a writer of hit television and live shows such as the BAFTA award-winners As Seen On TV and An Audience With Victoria Wood and the twice BAFTA-nominated Dinnerladies. Her involvement is also a coup for Slapstick and Bristol as she’s a warm and quick-witted personality and it’s been many years since audiences here got to see her in person.”

Colston Hall is offering refunds to anyone who has already bought Gala tickets on the strength of Dara O’Briain’s involvement but a box office spokesperson said: “We’ll be very surprised if many requests for refunds come in. The Slapstick Gala is always a joyful celebration of comedy, film, banter, laughter and music and in our view adding Victoria Wood to the mix is certain to make it even more of a treat.”

For those yet to book, Gala tickets are £20 (£17, concessions) or £8.50 for under 12s, bookable at Colston Hall in person, on 0117 922 3686, or via

Slapstick’s Gala is the centrepiece of a four-day festival programme, running from Thursday 24 January to Sunday 27 January and expected to attract more than 4,000 visitors. Other celebrity participants are Marcus Brigstocke, Tim Brooke-Taylor, Graeme Garden, Ronnie Golden, Instant Wit, Ian Lavender, Peter Lord, Bill Oddie, Nick Park, Lucy Porter, Colin Sell and Matthew Sweet while the featured on-screen stars will include, among many others, Charlie Chaplin, Marion Davies, Laurel and Hardy (and their lesser-known but no less funny female counterparts, Garvin and Byron), Buster Keaton, The Goodies and Harold Lloyd.”

The full updated programme can be viewed online at

  1. #1 by on January 28, 2013 - 4:01 am

    This is really the third blog, of your blog I actually went through.
    But I actually like this one, “New Host for Slapstick Gala 2013 Announced!
    Bristol Silents” the most. All the best

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