That's the way to do it! Punch and Judy story book puts Gorleston centre stage

Beside the Seaside by Daniel Hanton

Daniel Hanton's digital illustrations capture Gorleston on a sunny day. His book, Beside the Seaside, features a paddling donkey and a chip-stealing seagull. - Credit: Daniel Hanton

In the last year there have been few sausage-related skirmishes or crocodiles beaten by batons on the sands at Gorleston.

But for those missing their Punch and Judy fix there is now a full-colour book featuring all the famous landmarks - and a chip-stealing seagull to boot.

Puppeteer Daniel Hanton, who successfully introduced a new generation to the traditional seaside entertainment in 2019, has spent his time away from the holiday crowds penning and illustrating a children's book.

Beside the Seaside by Daniel Hanton

Punch and Judy man Daniel Hanton is bringing the traditional entertainment to life in his new children's book Beside the Seaside after performing at Gorleston for real was off-limits during the lockdown. - Credit: Daniel Hanton

Beside the Seaside chronicles a typical trip to the beach framed by the drama of a show, from the setting up of the striped booth to whooping crowds alerting Mr Punch to what is behind him.

Setting the action firmly in Gorleston the illustrations feature familiar landmarks like the Pavilion Theatre and the parade of shops selling rubber rings and sugary treats. 

There is also a cameo of artist John Applegate, who set up his easel on the beach to capture on canvas an image of Mr Hanton performing his first show almost two years ago.

"It has long been an ambition of mine to write and illustrate a children's book and when lockdown came it was the perfect opportunity," Mr Hanton said.

"Most of my gigs were cancelled last year - I got one in just before lockdown at a school and on in September.

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"Sadly 2020 was a bit of a write-off for entertainers.

"The book was something I wanted to do for my children to keep, and hopefully for the grandchildren to see in the future.

Beside the Seaside Daniel Hanton

Beside the Seaside is based on Daniel Hanton's experience of performing Punch and Judy at Gorleston. - Credit: Daniel Hanton

"It is a book based on Gorleston and my experience of doing the Punch and Judy show there.

"It is also about keeping Punch and Judy in people's minds: there hasn't been a book about it for 20 years so I thought it was about time."

Mr Hanton, 38, who lives with his partner Jo and daughters Grace, six, and two-year-old Elsie in Bradwell, is also known for playing the dame in the Beccles panto and for being an education host at the Great Yarmouth Sealife Centre.

During lockdown he has performed over Zoom and online but said he "can't wait" for the buzz of live performance.

The 28-page paperback book aimed at children aged 3-7 is available from Amazon, Etsy and his Facebook page from Wednesday March 3 priced £5.99.