Alison Hammond issues apology and Dermot O’Leary breaks silence following The Bodyguard singing backlash
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Alison Hammond has issued an apology after she joked about theatre-goers singing along during shows after a ‘riot’ broke out at a production of The Bodyguard in Manchester on Friday night (April 7). Police were called to the disrupted production at The Palace Theatre after brawls broke out among audience members.
Chaos broke out after “disruptive” ticket holders refused to stop singing along during ‘I Will Always Love You’, the closing number of the show. The performance was then forced to come to a halt 10 minutes early and police were called.
One surprised audience member said: "Just been to watch the bodyguard at The Palace and a mini riot erupted during the big ending. Show cancelled, people being physically removed and fights in the aisles. All because you can’t sing along!!!!! Police at the scene!!! Utter madness."
Ahead of the disturbed performance, This Morning presenter Alison, her co-host Dermot O’Leary and guest Vanessa Feltz discussed how The Palace Theatre had asked audiences not to sing along with the touring production of the musical due to “anti-social behaviour” .
Alison said: “I can’t believe it. I’d be devastated, I’m not even going to go to that show now.”
Vanessa replied: “Isn’t the whole point of going to a musical you know, that you sing along to all the bits you know and when you don’t know the words you just make them up?”
On Sunday night (April 9), Hammond released a statement on her Instagram account about her comments in the wake of Friday’s events. “I want to apologise to anyone who I offended, especially the incredibly talented theatre performers, who I have the utmost respect for,” she wrote.
“I had no idea the level of disruption audiences were causing and tried to make light of the topic on Wednesday’s show, and for that I’m truly sorry.”
The new Great British Bake Off presenter went on to add she had recently been to watch the musical adaptation of the baking show on Thursday (April 6) night, which had been a “magical experience”.
She said:“I want to use my platform for good as always and want to stand up with the performers, front of house and theatre staff, especially after seeing what happened at The Bodyguard which has made me sick to my stomach.
“Once again, I am truly sorry but trust me, I will do better in the future.”
Despite the apology, Alison has since received backlash from Dame Arlene Phillips, who has directed and choreographed many West End and Broadway stage shows. Arlene said: "Alison thank you for your apology but I would just like to say, you have no idea what it is really like for those performers in the shows where the songs are popular hits and certain members of the audience feel entitled to join in."
The former Strictly Come Dancing judge added: "Performers are unsure what to do. They are not trained when audiences get out of control and arguing with each other. It’s so distressing. Let’s hope this behaviour stops and normality returns."
Dermot O’Leary responds to The Bodyguard singing backlash
Following Alison’s apology, fellow This Morning presenter Dermot O’Leary broke his silence on the matter. The presenter laughed as Alison said she was ‘devastated’ about the new theatre rules on Friday’s episode of This Morning.
Dermot has now issued his own statement about the controversial comments. He said on social media: “A lot of people commenting about a reaction to a story we covered on This Morning about the ‘Bodyguard’ show and audiences singing along. Could I politely urge anyone passing judgement on the clip to watch the whole interview... as I was actually arguing AGAINST people singing too loudly in theatres.
“Nothing but love and respect for those treading the boards. Peace and love to all. Now, back to those Easter eggs... Dx.”