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'That's the way to do it' - bid to bring Punch and Judy back to Norfolk beach after 30 years

PUBLISHED: 14:11 25 April 2019 | UPDATED: 14:11 25 April 2019

Dan Hanton with his daugter Grace and Mr Punch. The 36-year-old wants to bring the puppet show back to Gorleston's sands Picture: supplied by Dan Hanton

Dan Hanton with his daugter Grace and Mr Punch. The 36-year-old wants to bring the puppet show back to Gorleston's sands Picture: supplied by Dan Hanton

supplied by Dan Hanton

Snapping crocodiles, scoldings over lost sausages, and the sounds of crying babies could again rise from the sands at Gorleston if an ambitious puppeteer has his hand in it.

Dan Hanton is in talks with Great Yarmouth Borough Council to bring Punch and Judy back to Gorleston Picture: Charlotte James PhotographyDan Hanton is in talks with Great Yarmouth Borough Council to bring Punch and Judy back to Gorleston Picture: Charlotte James Photography

Daniel Hanton's dream is to set up his candy-striped booth at Gorleston, entertaining crowds of children who may never have screamed back at Punch and Judy over the whereabouts of their baby.

If he gets his way the 36-year-old father-of-two will be following in the footsteps of Punch and Judy legends he saw as child, captivated by the raucous humour and the skill of the artist.

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A graphic designer who works as an education host at Great Yarmouth's SeaLife Centre Mr Hanton is also a regular panto performer - but the big gig would be inside the canvas hut at children's corner.

Dan Hanton wants to bring Punch and Judy back to Gorleston's sands Picture: supplied by Dan HantonDan Hanton wants to bring Punch and Judy back to Gorleston's sands Picture: supplied by Dan Hanton

Bringing it back after 30 years would offer “something different” for visitors who like Gorleston for its traditional, more sedate appeal, he said.

Mr Hanton, who lives in Bradwell, is in talks with Great Yarmouth Borough Council to find out what hurdles need to be cleared to make his dream come true and already he had been buoyed by the level of local support.

MORE: When will Gorleston's seafront splashpad reopen?

“It has all been really positive.

“It is a really nice feeling to get such a warm vibe.

“I have always wanted to perform on Gorleston beach because some of the legends have performed there, and this year I thought 'let's give it a shot.'

“I want to bring it back, especially to children's corner near the boating lake, and bring something different that probably a lot of children have not see before.”

Mr Hanton has been a Punch and Judy performer for four years taking his show all over Norfolk, but rarely in his home town.

Under his plans he would hope to perform around six times a year, possibly as early as Whitsun.

Performances start with a few warm-up magic tricks before he disappears into the theatre booth.

His show follows the familiar slapstick story of Punch and Judy, featuring a baby that is turned into sausages and eaten by a crocodile with a policeman and devil figure trying to sort out the melee.

As is traditional payment relies on his audiences putting a pound in a hat - a process known as “bottling.”

“There is a moral to Punch and Judy,” he said. “Do not be naughty. The thing about political correctness is a myth, Punch and Judy has never been banned in the UK.”

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