Paula Vennells school censors sock puppets' Post Office musical | Luckily her links with Bedford School will remain secret, jokes creator

Paula Vennells school censors sock puppets' Post Office musical

Luckily her links with Bedford School will remain secret, jokes creator

A daft comedy musical about the Post Office scandal has been cancelled by the school where the company’s beleaguered former boss used to be a governor.

The show was scheduled to be performed by sock puppets at the Bedfringe comedy festival in July. However, the event takes place at the Quarry Theatre, which is owned by the school where Paula Vennells was a governor until 2021. She quit after 39 former postmasters had their convictions quashed. 

According the website Bleeding Cool, which broke the news, ‘representatives of the school have told Bedfringe that they simply cannot put on the Post Office scandal play’ by the Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppet Theatre.

And the £44,000-a-year boarding school told the website that the show was replaced ‘to respect widespread sensitivities at the current time’.

However, if their aim was to avoid embarrassment about their links to the former governor, it seems to have backfired spectacularly, with the news of the cancellation making the national press.

The Socks – the pun-loving creation of comic Kev F Sutherland – will now perform their 2018 Superheroes show at the festival instead.

Sutherland told British Comedy Guide: ‘I'm sorry not to be performing the show there, and especially sorry for the people who'd already bought tickets for it.

‘Obviously having a comedy show all about the Post Office Scandal performed at a school whose governor was a key player in the Post Office Scandal would be embarrassing to the school. Luckily, having nipped it in the bud and, to all intents and purposes, covered it up, there's no danger of anyone making any association between the Post Office Scandal and Bedford School. Phew.’

Post Office Scandal The Musical is next scheduled to be staged  at the Ludlow Fringe on June 16. Here's an extact:

Nor is it the only show about the affair. Make Good: The Post Office Scandal is set to tour small venues in the Midlands this autumn. It is based on interviews with two post office operators from Shropshire whose lives were ruined when Fujitsu’s flawed computer software Horizon made it appear there were shortfalls in their accounting.

Jim Fortune, who wrote the music and lyrics. is hoping post office operators might join the  show’s choir.

During the scandal, the Post Office's conduct under Vennells’  leadership was described as ‘appalling and shameful’ – and she handed back her CBE in January when the ITV drama Mr Bates vs The Post Office put the affair back in the spotlight. A million people signed a petition calling on the executive – who was paid up to  £718,300 a year by the Post Office – to be stripped of the honour, 

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Published: 31 May 2024

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