Nanny Knows Best

Nanny Knows Best
Dedicated to exposing, and resisting, the all pervasive nanny state that is corroding the way of life and the freedom of the people of Britain.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

At The Circus

At The CircusNanny has always had a penchant for seeking publicity, and has rather an affinity for showbusiness and the sort of people who inhabit that world.

Therefore it should come as no surprise to learn that Nanny is now sticking her nose into the world of circuses.

Nanny's new public entertainment licensing laws came into effect in November, you know... the ones that gave us 24 drinking, and are threatening to have a negative impact on the world of sawdust and the big top.

John Roberts, co-owner of Robert Brothers Famous Circus, was forced to delay the opening of his traditional Christmas spectacular in Milton Keynes because one of the seven bundles of documents he had been asked to submit to the council to obtain a public entertainment licence failed to arrive in time.

This was despite beginning negotiations in September, and setting aside seven days for meetings with council officers.

Roberts is quoted as saying:

"It was incredibly time consuming.

In the end we got the licence but the thought of having to do that in every one of the 35 towns we will be visiting next year is very worrying

Robert Brothers aren't the only show to be adversely affected by Nanny. The European Entertainment Corporation (EEC)...jokes about the EEC and clowns should be submitted in triplicate..., the largest circus operator in the UK, has decided not to put Cottle & Austin's Electric Circus on the road next year partly because of the expense of having to file separate licence applications with every local authority on a packed tour schedule.

Instead, the EEC will concentrate on moneyspinners like the Chinese and Moscow State Circus.

Nanny of course does not just interfere with circuses.

Punch and Judy artists now must take out £200 adverts before they pitch their booths on the beach, music venues must install expensive soundproofing and samba musicians have to apply for the correct £600 permit in order to perform at carnivals and street festivals

Mick Pycke, a member of the UK Samba Association and director of Bloco do Sul samba group based in Dorking, said:

"It's the low season for us now but come the spring and summer it's going to be chaos.

Most samba bands charge about £600 for a performance, which is the same as the cost of a licence

David Locke, who owns La Brocca, a restaurant in West Hampstead, stopped advertising jazz last month because he has to apply for a formal public entertainment licence from the local authority, which would be too expensive.


"Camden council told me my bar was unsuitable for live music and that if I wanted a licence I'd have to install soundproofing.

It just isn't viable. Jazz is a philanthropic thing - it doesn't make me money

You see folks, these new laws all came in with the Licensing rules in November. The media and politicians only focused on the 24 hour drinking part.

In fact the regulations require every small-scale entertainer, from folk musicians to street artists to charity carollers, to obtain a public entertainment licence before putting on a paid-for performance.

The only exemptions are for morris dancing (quite!), travelling fairgrounds and garden fetes.

Needless to say, Nanny's chums in the Department for Culture, Media and Sport claim that the law would actually provide "increased opportunities for musicians and other entertainers".


What Nanny can't control, she bans.

Nanny is in effect emulating the Puritans of the 17th century, who closed theatres and places of entertainment.

The British people had the good sense to get rid of them, I am more than sure that we will do the same now with the current bunch of "clowns" running the country.


  1. Anonymous11:45 AM

    There has always been a requirement to have a licence to provide live entertainment, although from memory I believe this only applied to acts of more than one person or any act using amplified sound.

    I thought there was always a requirement for Punch & Judy shows to have a licence too.

    Also, I know from personal experience that the new licences have always been granted unless there was some sort of opposition either from the authorities or local residents.

    But the temporary licence thing is daft - surely the circus owner should have a personal licence as for alcohol and the local authority should have agreed sites that can be used for these type of events.

    Maybe that wonderful Mr Cameron will sort it out when he gets in.....

  2. Im a member of the Circus Friends Association and am very pleased with your article on circus
    Circus owners and lovers all know about the new licensing laws and all the general public should also know that these licensing laws may make or break the traitional family run circuses like robert brothers or bobby roberts circus
    I am a bit unshore of the fact of the eec not running the cottle nd austin circus because they have made more money than the chinese and moscow state circuses
    The fact of them not running the cottle and austin circus is stpid and if the eec dont run it they will be unliked by many C&A circus fans
    This is a really great site and i think youve really excelled in the website making

  3. Anonymous9:19 AM

    How very psychic of you Ken. Yesterday I was passing a church hall and noticed above the door the words "Licensed for publice entertainment".

    It's quite an old sign and I remember thinking how very quaint it was probably a reflection of Cromwellian puritans.

    Still it seems we have new puritans in power, better watch out for unregulated fun in the near future.

  4. i have recently been to the chinese state circus
    What a show
    just wonderful
    keep it up the eec

  5. Anonymous2:18 PM


    I am writing an article about Circus and I wondered if I could interview you as I know you are a supporter and have worked for Bobby Roberts?

    If you would like to chat, please email me on


  6. Hey sorry at the moment my emails are broken down
    What would you like me to do,i have worked many times there,and am a great fan,what article are you doing

  7. Anonymous8:28 PM

    I was absolutely gutted when Larry de Wit of the EEC told me Cottle & Austen were off the road forever and that is no likely hood of it coming back. Dont get me wrong the other two are good but I mean the Circus Berlin is the tackiest circus I have been to, they can do better than that, they know they can. And whats the deal with the circuses ending the tour in June this year?

    Rather odd.