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‘That’s one right s***house, that’ – actor playing famous Liverpool MP Bessie Braddock describes ‘Keith’ during performance

‘Grand Old Lady’ depicts life of Braddock and actor’s interpretation wins plaudits

At a performance of The Grand Old Lady last night at the Brindley Theatre in Runcorn, the actor portraying Bessie Braddock is reported to have referred to UK Labour Leader, Sir Keir Starmer as “Keith” and further added,

that’s one right shit house, that!

‘Bessie’s ad libs berating Labour’s ‘leader’ and his regime are apparently becoming a regular theme on the tour, much to the delight of theatre goers in Liverpool and the Mersey Region. In character, she went on to say, “the Labour Party is finished!”

Bessie Braddock served as Member of Parliament (MP) for the Liverpool Exchange division from 1945 to 1970 for Labour, now the Liverpool Riverside constituency frequently smeared by the Labour right.

The Grand Old Lady is written by Kenny O’Connell and the cast includes Jake Abraham and Speedo Mick.

Set inside the 1787-built Everton Lock-Up, two Evertonians have barricaded themselves inside in the hope of finding the lost gold of ‘Prince Rupert’. Their aim is to turn Goodison into a super stadium and thwart the club’s move to Bramley Moore, only to discover they are the only two fans who want to stay.

The Grade II listed ‘Everton Lockup’, or ‘Prince Rupert’s Tower’ (image: Rodhullandemu, Wikimedia Commons)

Inside the Tower, they stumble across a secret tunnel and unwittingly release the ghosts of Everton’s past: Dixie Dean, Molly Bushell, Prince Rupert, Maggie Magee and Bessie Braddock. Each spirit takes them on a historical journey where they discover the true meaning of being an Evertonian and the rich history that lies inside the heart of Everton’s badge.

The show’s popularity has resulted in an extra date being arranged. Tickets, where available, can be found at the links below in theatres in Liverpool, Wirral and Southport:

Wed 18th May –
Fri 20th May –
Extra Date – Wed 25th May –

Skwawkbox received no payment or benefit for this article.

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  1. Lots of wonderful names from the past and a pointer to the hopelessness of a former working class labour party thats reviled and laughed at as a comic tribute act itself…I would love to see the performance but I am afraid that without a Covid passport “my travelling days are over.

  2. Ah Bessie! Got keef down to a tee… If she was here now shed set the record straight!

    And the premise of the play sounds boss. I was one of those wanted to redevelop Goodison, not least because me dad was the ‘ganger’ (and crane operator) when the main stand was built in 69-71 just before I was born. Also, me mam & dad’s first home after they were married was on Village street…The street from where the photograph of the PRT (Prince Rupert s Tower) was taken.

    And a mention for Speedo Mick (Cullen) what an absolute star turn that lad is…But no honour/recognition for him from the establishment. Wouldn’t do to give a former drug addict with mental health issues and an unparalleled sense of community any sort of nod….He hasn’t got a huge garden to walk around**, And every cent he raised went to charity instead of seeing a slice of it disappear on managerial/consultancy fees 😙🎶

    ** I’m in NO way knocking the endeavours of Captain Tom; indeed the man deserved every one of the accolades he received – but when all’s said & done his fundraising total was as a result of one of these freak internet occurrences/fads.

    …And I doubt Mick would accept anything off those self-serving, entitled bastards anyway.

    I digress. Keefs’ still – and ALWAYS will be – One right shithouse. The Labour party (As once was and meant to be) IS finished.

  3. Any chance of a nationwide tour of this play? I
    would love to go but would be unlikely to
    get to one of the venues even there were

    As for “Grand Old Lady” who spoke her mind –
    its a pity we don’t hear from John Prescott in
    relation to Corbyn. He spoke up forcefully in
    the past ridiculing the accusations of antisemitism ..

    For that matter – I wonder what Prescott would
    have to say about Starmer. He has had problems
    in the past with respect to his speaking in public
    but a press article wouldn’t go amiss. I see one of
    his son works in Corbyns office – or used to ..

    1. Holby,

      Prezzer had a stroke not long back, not sure how sever it was. It could be that he hasn’t fully recovered.

  4. Bessie Braddock was a Socialist and a free thinker and would therefore be unwelcome in Starmers Labour. If she were alive today I have no doubt she would be denounced as an ” antisemite” ( the usual smear concocted by Starmers Labour against socialists and those capable of independent thought) She would then like so many others be suspended, expelled from the party or denied the whip.
    Bessie must be turning in her grave to see what Labour has become under Starmer and Blair, Brown and Kinnock before him.

  5. The challenge for those who support a Socialist Labour Party, what the hell are you waiting for

  6. A completely correct assessment.

    Starmer today at PMQs, banging on about his windfall tax, as if such a one-off measure is a panacea or cure all. The problem is the way UK energy is sold into the European energy market – where (limited) supply and rising demand has driven up prices when we buy back what is essentially only ‘own’ energy.

    As someone said yesterday on the BBC 2 politics show, Blair introduced a similar windfall tax in 1997, privately stating the reason was to deflect left’s attention away from wanting to renationalise them. Starmer’s semantics over the word ‘common’ his clear cut pledge is even worse than Johnson’s govt’s refusal to introduce a windfall tax, all things considered.

    5. Common ownership

    Public services should be in public hands, not making profits for shareholders. Support common ownership of rail, mail, energy and water; end outsourcing in our NHS, local government and justice system.

    – Keir Starmer

    When is a pledge not a pledge? When Starmer makes it.

  7. On the energy front, this is an area where I think the Labour 2019 GE manifesto was disjointed – we had a New Green Deal and a massive housebuilding scheme when the two things should have been part of a larger whole – creating houses that generate energy (solar/wind/geo-thermal as the site dictates) combined with storage and subsidised electric cars such that they attain various degrees of self-sufficiency and can also be holding reserves to sell back to the grid in times of high demand. Increasing supply to then, as Andy notes, buy back from the international market at retail prices when investment can create a domestic energy source that insulates us from the vagaries of the market and the desire to intervene militarily to stabilise supply.

    1. Johnson should call Starmer’s bluff and introduce a windfall tax. For a one-off tax doesn’t change the fundamental problems of ongoing high-energy bills due to the European energy market and supply and demand issues.

      Starmer is just trying to wriggle out of his common ownership pledge 5. As Skwawkbox has highlighted, in the Labour leadership TV debate the final candidates were asked to raise their hand if they favoured renationalisation of energy and up popped Starmer’s hand – pretty unequivocal.

      Starmer is just using this as a distraction to avert calls to renationise, much as Blair admitted he did in 1997. If Johnson does it what will Starmer have left?

      1. Cue ‘stealing our policies’. Like a windfall tax was beyond human understanding until Starmer started bleating about it.

      2. Aside from Blair doing it, didn’t David Cameron introduce a windfall tax on bankers’ bonuses? They were certainly talking about it. The Tories had something similar on energy in their 2017 manifesto, but it was dropped after they fell short of a majority.

        Point is, it’s not a bold new idea.

        Starmer is never going to do anything bold or radical, that is for sure.

      3. Stealing our policies me arse! The libtards and the SNP have shouted just as long and just as loud for the same.

        As for stealing policies let’s not forget who tried to claim the credit for young Marcus Rashford forcing the rags to u turn on the school meals… Sneaky, slimy wee shithouse that keef undoubtedly is.

  8. Notice how Johnson never truly goes after Starmer at PMQs, as if some establishment gentleman’s agreement or pact is in place..

    “He’s calling for a windfall tax yet he promised party members he’d renationalise, which is it? And how can anyone tryst his word on anything?” .. the lines virtually write themselves and would leave Starmer red-faced and floundering.

    The no.1 priority for people on the left should be Starmer’s removal. It’s amazing how Starmer makes Andy Burnham, look majorly better by contrast.

    1. Andy Burnham is at heart a good man,brought up on Blairs politics which took labour from nearly twenty years in the wilderness and many of us supported that “surge” in nineties especially after the death of john smith.we looked and found a brilliant young lawyer Tony Blair.who delivered on removing a tired corrupt Tory party from government.When I sampled Blair’s politics I left in disgust and didnt wish to carry on as a labour councillor in one of the most conservative seats in Britain.Now weve another lawyer in the driving seat and this time there’s no coming back from a head on crash.Andy Burnham is in a job back home in Lancashire and he should stay there or risk being infected again in amongst the parasites of parliament..I like Burnham but wouldnt trust him in parliament which seems to bring out the worst in people,especially hypocrisy from the labour party. “Do has I say not as I do” private education being a classic example for mps left and right its all the same to them when its little johnys education.?

      1. Joseph okeefe-

        He wouldn’t be my ideal choice either – and I agree with you that he was as timid as a dormouse in New Labour – hence why Corbyn thrashed him in 2015’s leadership contest.

        But away from Westminster, being mayor has given him a different political perspective; he’s repeatedly said he wants to see proportional representation introduced for Westminster, and wants the HoL abolished. He could be pinned down on his commitment to these and other things in any campaign hustings in a way Starmer wasn’t – basically because no one thought he’d be this unscrupulous.

        PR for Westminster could transform politics for the left. As I’m sure you know , currently a party needs to be polling 25%+ nationally to realistically have a chance of picking up any seats under FPTP on an evenly distributed spread of support. Unless support is concentrated in some area of the country a new party has no chance. However , under PR if as little as 10% support could produce 60 MPs (10% of 600 seats) (directly proportional example) it’d be a game changer for any new leftist party.

        And when have the Tories ever won 50%, yet they dominate for decades – proportional representation would transform politics. And far from locking in centrism as some claim it’d allow new parties to flourish.

  9. As has been said – there are many of Bessie’s
    equivalents being chucked out of the Labour
    Party right NOW .

    These are people (men and women) who have
    worked for their Communities in the Labour Party
    for years and years .. thrown out for spurious
    reasons ..

    One of those is Jackie Bird (I think is her name?)
    treated shamefully by her local Labour Party who
    should themselves have been thrown out. She is
    now in the Green Party who seem to be treating
    her OK for she is now a Councillor ..

  10. I see that the DWP are up to their old tricks again.

    DWP data shows 38,244 benefit sanctions were imposed on Universal Credit(UC) claimants in January this year – the highest for at least three years and numbers are climbing fast

    The number of people having their benefits cut or stopped has soared above pre-pandemic levels, raising demand on food banks………..
    This compares with just under 29,000 last October and around 16,000 in July. In January 2021 the figure was 488.
    It’s the highest figure since current records began in April 2019………
    The proportion of UC claimants carrying a sanction has risen above pre-pandemic levels.
    Among all UC claimants who are required to look, plan or prepare for work in order to receive benefits – and who can potentially be sanctioned if they don’t meet job centre demands – 3.9% were carrying a sanction in February 2022, compared to just 0.37% in July and under 3% during most of 2019.

  11. As forecast by yours truly at the beginning of lockdown…

    With all these so-called unfulfilled vacancies and the toerags’ doing f-all but mentioning this invisible £22bn ‘help package’ and them banging on about ‘getting better-paid work and/or doing more hours’, it’s as plain as the nose on your face the sanction (I DETEST that word) numbers will increase exponentially as they get their DWP/JCP capos to disregard reasonable barriers to work (Such as distance, unsociable hours, being no better off in work, caring responsibilites, etc) and coerce people into unsuitable and poorly-paid jobs under threat of stopping their entitlements.

    And then the DWP/JCP/PCS union capos will claim they’re the victims once the assault rates go up; and we know what’ll follow…They’ll give tasers to the G4s security goons..

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