BBC Three Counties presenter blasts Herts Ad review of Harpenden panto

PUBLISHED: 08:28 13 December 2017 | UPDATED: 09:11 13 December 2017

Ernie Almond will appear in Harpenden 2017 pantomime Dick Whittington

Ernie Almond will appear in Harpenden 2017 pantomime Dick Whittington

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Ernie Almond is rubbish! Oh no he isn't! Oh yes he is!

A BBC Three Counties presenter launched a furious Twitter tirade after a radio colleague was criticised for his performance in this year’s Harpenden panto.

Ernie Almond returned to the town’s Public Halls to play the Sultan of Morocco in Act One Pantomines’ production of Dick Whittington, his latest role in a long run of appearances.

But when Herts Ad group editor Matt Adams reviewed Saturday’s matinee, he suggested Ernie should take a break from next year’s show, as his performance “seemed forced and flat, lacking any real charm”.

The comments provoked a late night Twitterstorm from Jonathan Vernon-Smith, who presents 3CR’s JVS Show, after he tweeted: “What a shame Matt Adams has felt it necessary to be so unkind to my dear friend @Erniestheatre in his amateurish little review of the Harpenden panto. Ernie is a much loved and seasoned pro and deserves respect. The 3CR family do not respond well to bile!”

Matt responded: “I’m sorry the 3CR team can’t take criticism. I stand by my review, especially as I’ve seen him do much better in previous years.”

But Jonathan hit back: “That man has done and achieved more in his life than you could ever hope to. How dare you belittle and embarrass him. I will never forget this!

“It’s a pantomime that Ernie loves doing. He gives his all and looks forward to it. You have been rude, unkind and disrespectful when you probably have never set foot on a stage in your life. I think that deserves calling out!

“Don’t expect to be a nasty, unkind ageist without being being challenged.”

He also criticised anyone who dared to defend the review or question whether he had seen the show, telling @BobBurrows1: “He was unnecessarily unkind. You are just as bad!”

Matt, who has reviewed the Harpenden panto for several years, responded to the furore: “I thought the BBC was all about freedom of speech, but obviously that doesn’t apply when you dare to criticise one of their presenters.

“I’ve enjoyed Ernie’s performances over the years, but he just didn’t deliver the goods in Saturday’s show. I thought I was being kind in my review, which could have been a lot worse and had nothing to do with his age.

“Unlike Ernie I don’t claim to be an actor, but that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t be allowed to comment on shortcomings in his performance.

The cast of Jack and the Beanstalk outside the Eric Morecambe Theatre. The Fairy Sally James, Simple Simon Chris Law, Panto Dame Richard Aucott, Jack Hayley Cutts and Evil Fleshcreep Ernie Almond.The cast of Jack and the Beanstalk outside the Eric Morecambe Theatre. The Fairy Sally James, Simple Simon Chris Law, Panto Dame Richard Aucott, Jack Hayley Cutts and Evil Fleshcreep Ernie Almond.

“Maybe in future years we should have a proper local radio presenter taking part rather than a regional Beeb presenter - someone like Danny Smith from Radio Verulam would be my choice!”

Simon Nicholas, Ernie Almond, Luke Roberts, Honey Fine and Jess Robinson in pantomime Cinderella at Harpenden Public HallsSimon Nicholas, Ernie Almond, Luke Roberts, Honey Fine and Jess Robinson in pantomime Cinderella at Harpenden Public Halls

Andrew Willis (Emperor), Ernie Almond (PC Pong), Rochelle Knowles Gadd (Aladdin), Simon Nicholas (Widow Twankey), Chris Law (Wishy) and Peter Dean (Abanazar) in Aladdin.Andrew Willis (Emperor), Ernie Almond (PC Pong), Rochelle Knowles Gadd (Aladdin), Simon Nicholas (Widow Twankey), Chris Law (Wishy) and Peter Dean (Abanazar) in Aladdin.

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