Jim Davidson banned from playing at Grand Theatre after parking chain drama

Comedian Jim Davidson has apologised to the people of Wolverhampton after he revealed he will no longer be able to perform at the city's Grand Theatre following an incident where he cut a chain stopping him from moving his car.

Jim Davidson jokes around with a Grand Theatre t-shirt in 2011
Jim Davidson jokes around with a Grand Theatre t-shirt in 2011

The 67-year-old stand-up comedian revealed in a YouTube video that he has been stopped from playing at the theatre after he parked in the wrong spot when he last performed – and cut through a chain to move his car.

He added that he paid for the damage caused by cutting the chain – but he has now been told that he can no longer perform at the theatre due to the trouble caused with neighbours.

Meanwhile Wolverhampton Grand Theatre said in a statement that Mr Davidson "due to issues which will remain confidential" will not return to their stage. But they added they remain grateful for his generous donation to the theatre in the 1970s.

Mr Davidson last performed at the Grand Theatre in January last year – and had hoped to bring his latest tour to the venue this autumn.

In a YouTube video posted on October 5, Jim said he wanted to "make a public apology to the people of Wolverhampton".

He revealed that there had been no parking when he arrived to perform at the theatre last year and instead parked in a nearby yard which didn't belong to the theatre – but returned to his car after the show to find it had been chained up. Theatre staff tried to contact the owner of the yard to no avail – so they used a saw to cut the chain so he could leave. He later paid damages for the chain – but has now been told he can't play at the theatre.

He said: "Sadly, I will now no longer be able to play at the Wolverhampton Grand Theatre. Firstly, the Wolverhampton Grand and I go back a very, very long time. There was a man called Humphrey Stanbury who used to run the trustees and run the place way back in the late 70s. He came to see me in Bristol and he said he wanted me to come to panto in Wolverhampton – I said yes who's top of the bill, and he said you. And I stayed there and had a fabulous time. I loved the theatre, loved the crew, loved the people of Wolverhampton.

"So much so that I kept going back to do my stand-up stuff there and when the theatre was in trouble of going bankrupt I gave them some money, I did a show there and gave them all the money, and then offered to do the pantomime for nothing.

"But it turns out after 40 years of playing Wolverhampton Grand I can't play there now. And before you all start saying cancel culture, I believe this is my fault. About 18 months ago I was back to do my stand-up show, so I turned at the little stage door around the back and there a stage door person I said 'where do I park?' He told me to park over there we will give you a little brochure thing, and I said 'there's no room, leave it with me'. So I went out and next to the stage door there's a yard there, it's about the size of a lay-by and you can park the nose of your car there.

Jim Davidson

"Afterwards I came out and found that the car had been chained up. So this little car park did not belong to the theatre, it belongs to their neighbours. They said they would phone up the person – the person was phone and there was no answer, so what do I do. So I said to the stage door manager 'is there a hacksaw anywhere?' and he went and got me one – so I went and sawed the chain and moved my car. I said to the stage door man please tell next door we will pay for any damages, we tried to call and sorry. I think we got bill for £200 for sawing that thing up.

"But it now turns out 18 months later when we call up to say we would like to come back to the theatre. They said we can't have him, I said why, and they said he caused so much fuss with the neighbours that they are arguing with."

He added: "So to the people of Wolverhampton, I am really really sorry that can't play your play this year, or next year, or ever again. I am not going to leave my car there all night, I am not going to walk home so I did what I did and I am sorry that I won't be playing.

"But there's always Dudley Town Hall – so come along."

He also urged his fans not to blame the management of the Grand Theatre – as they "did their best to keep me there".

Wolverhampton Grand Theatre

Associate director of development and communications, Vicky Price, said on behalf of Wolverhampton Grand Theatre: “For clarification, Jim Davidson’s 2022 tour has NOT been cancelled at Wolverhampton Grand Theatre.

“The show was not programmed to play here and therefore a performance has never been on sale.

“Mr Davidson last performed here before the pandemic and due to issues, which will remain confidential, Mr Davidson will not be returning to our stage.

“We continue to grateful to Mr Davidson for his generous donation, which we believe he made to the theatre in the 1970’s following his appearance in pantomime.”

Deputy leader of the Conservative Group in Wolverhampton, Councillor Simon Bennett said: “It’s a shame to see that Jim Davidson will no longer be performing at the Grand Theatre. Jim has been welcomed by audiences in the city for years and it is sad that this will no longer be the case.

“Without knowing the details of what has gone on, I’d strongly urge the Grand Theatre to welcome Jim back in the future so that residents can continue to enjoy his performances.”

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