Last week, a Manchester performance of the musical The Bodyguard was cut short and scrapped after riot police were called due to members of the public breaking the rules and singing. The dramatic scenes, first reported in the Manchester Evening News, quickly made headlines around the world, with police having to shut down Friday night’s performance after “fights” broke out among the audience.
The decision to ban members of the public from singing previously sparked a debate on This Morning as, with Holly Willoughby out for the Easter holiday and Phillip Schofield taking a break, it was left to alternate hosts Alison Hammond and Dermot O’ Leary to take the reins last week. But the presenting duo found themselves inundated with complaints about their discussion on The Bodyguard.
The presenting duo, alongside Vanessa Feltz, were accused of ‘shedding light on the situation’ when discussing the audience singing on the program last week. The show, which aired on Wednesday, saw the presenters discuss the producers’ decision to ban the public from singing, with Alison saying: “The staff take this very, very seriously and impose these rules and they walk regularly in the aisles before the performance and during intervals with no sign of singing,” while Dermot chuckled, “That’s great.
READ MORE: Woman describes when ‘prison guard’ security guards ‘dragged’ partner out of Bodyguard show at Palace Theater
Alison continued, “I mean, I can’t believe it. I’d be devastated I’m not even going to go to that show now.” And Vanessa said, “Isn’t that the point of going to a musical, you know, that you sing along to all the tunes you know and when you don’t know the words you make them up? N isn’t that what everyone does very very hard while eating ice cream?”
But, following the ‘disgusting’ scenes at the Palace Theater days after the ITV show aired, thousands of viewers complained on social media about the This Morning segment, while theater veterans like Dame Arlene Philips and Melody Thornton of the Pussycat Dolls supported the artists. and clarified that the behavior was unacceptable.
Now Dermot O’Leary has responded to the backlash. And he has a “polite request” for his detractors.
“Evening everyone… Lots of people are commenting on a reaction to a story we covered this morning about the ‘Bodyguard’ show and the singing crowd.
“May I politely urge anyone passing judgment on the clip to watch the entire interview…because I was actually arguing AGAINST people singing too loudly in theaters.
“Nothing but love and respect for those who walk the boards. Peace and love to all. Now back to those Easter eggs. Dx.”
One of Dermot’s followers wrote: “I saw it and understood the whole story. Alison was just saying that she likes to sing a lot, so some people have gone completely crazy about it. Take control of people .” A second nodded: “EExactly that. People need to put the whole conversation into context.”
A third Dermot fan said: “YYou literally didn’t say anything bad, what the hell!!! Surely no one has had time to create something out of nothing, again people should use their energy for more productive positive hobbies.” Someone else agreed: “yours and Alison’s comments were completely exaggerated as if you were solely blamed for the bad behavior of the adults. You both spend years on This Morning being this channel’s most progressive and compassionate presenters and supporting theater, new music and young artists.”
Someone else said: “Never think you have to explain your point of view. It’s your right.” Another wrote, “I watched the show, I’m totally with you Dermot, we can sing in our polite way, without annoying people around us and not in the volume of moans of a cat choir.”
Dermot’s ‘polite request’ comes after Alison Hammond apologized to fans for her comments in reaction to The Bodyguard’s row of chants on ITV’s This Morning. On Sunday, Alison wrote: ‘After reflection and the comments I made on Wednesday’s show, I would like to apologize to anyone I have offended, especially the incredibly talented theater artists, for whom I have the greatest respect. I had no idea the level of disruption the public was causing and tried to shed some light on the matter on Wednesday’s show, and for that I am truly sorry.”
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