Following on from yesterday's article about Nanny's chumps in the Scottish Executive banning smoking on stage, it seems that Nanny's English lackeys have realised how stupid that is. Nanny is now trying to implement changes to the anti smoking laws that will allow smoking on stage in England.
Actors will escape a blanket ban on smoking on stage, after West End theatres led a revolt against the move.
The revolt warned that many plays would be difficult to stage if characters, such as Sherlock Holmes or Winston Churchill, had to stop smoking.
Nanny, doubtless realising how daft the Scottish Executive looks, has revealed a plan to exempt live theatrical performances and film and television recordings from the ban, where smoking is "integral to the plot or storyline".
Funny that explicit sex, violence, murder, wife beating etc are all happily allowed; yet smoking was about to be banned!
The decision comes after some pressure was put on Nanny as to the impact of the smoking ban, due to come into force next summer, on current West End hits such as Who's Afraid Of Virginia Woolf? and Billy Elliot and future productions such as The Graduate.
Nanny's Health minister Lord Warner said:
"The Government are considering a specific exemption to ensure that smoking can take place on stage during live theatrical performances,
or during film and television recording,
where smoking is integral to the plot or storyline."
He said that Nanny's public health minister, Caroline Flint, was writing to theatre groups, film directors and TV producers to set out Nanny's "intention" to exempt actors from the smoking ban.
Needless to say it will be a bureaucratic mine field to deal with this. Ministers expect extensive consultation on the details of the special consent for actors to light up, including who would be allowed to do so.
Some argue that such an exemption would be impossible to police. Theatres which allowed smoking on stage, where it was not permitted, could be fined 2,500.
I find it quite ridiculous that so much time and effort is being wasted on this, when common sense dictates there should never have been a ban in the first place.
Tory health spokesman Earl Howe said:
"Many plays would be rendered artistically impossible, indeed risible, if the actors were prevented by law from smoking.
Current examples of smoking on the London stage include
Who's Afraid Of Virginia Woolf? and, notably,
In some plays smoking is required, for example,
in all plays by Ibsen except one,
almost all plays by Noel Coward,
in all plays by Simon Gray and, perhaps most notably,
in John Osborne's Look Back In Anger."
Another example being Carmen, Carmen's opening scene is set outside a cigarette factory with many chorus girls, and Carmen herself, lighting up.
In other words, smoking is part of our cultural heritage. Nanny, by trying to ban it, is trying to mess with our cultural heritage and change who we are.