Happy headliners to show they care for EDP appeal

Seasoned newsgatherers on the local beat are ready to reveal a few tricks of their proud trade to raise laughs and boost funds for the EDP We Care Appeal.

A special show has been devised to prove how these gentlemen of the press, well versed in serious matters, can fill seats as well as columns. Happy Headliners! at Norwich Playhouse on Sunday offers them a perfect chance to relax, regale, reflect, ruminate and generally run on.

'It promises to be a unique experience,' said one of the panellists, EDP editor Peter Waters. 'A gathering of newspaper folk more interested in punchlines than deadlines. And we can get away with as many bad jokes as we like simply because they're being aired for such a good cause.'

He will be joined on stage by two of his most experienced district men, Richard Batson (Cromer) and Ian Clarke (Dereham), along with EDP Sunday columnist Keith Skipper. He came up with the idea to press old friends and colleagues into charitable service with a smile.

Keith masterminded a series of 'Aristosquits' concerts in the Grand Saloon of Wolterton Hall a few years back to raise handsome sums for the We Care Appeal. 'The great and the good of our county did their party pieces. Now the grim and the bad behind the headlines can have a go,' he quipped.

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Richard said he joined the EDP in 1975 when Rod Stewart, a recent visitor to Norfolk, headed the hit parade with Sailing. 'I've been sailing around Norfolk ever since, having worked at King's Lynn, Dereham, Swaffham, Diss and Great Yarmouth before finally weighing anchor in Cromer in 1992.

'It's been fun reporting on events that matter to communities in all quarters of the county from courts, councils, crimes and carnivals to pier shows and politics. I look forward to giving an insight into the world of the local hack in this panel game – but I don't know whether to grow my hair to be Paul Merton or have it shaved off to be Ian Hislop.

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'Anyway, come along because we certainly will have news for you.'

Ian – who was pounded the beat for the EDP and its sister papers since 1988 – revealed his penchant for puns in hoping the show would offer chances galore to spotlight places in and around his reporting patch.

'I'm going to stick my Nec (ton) out and say it will be all Wight-on the night. We'll be out to prove we are not yet over the (Ash) hill and we don't expect any Great Snoring from the audience.'

Appeal chairman Paddy Seligman said she was looking forward to 'moments of sheer madness' at the Playhouse. 'Being an unpaid carer may not mean a lot of fun, but this intriguing event is bound to raise lots of laughs and vital funds for people we're trying to help. EDP readers have backed us so generously over the years, she said.

'I hope many of them will now treat themselves and their friends to a great evening out.'

The show, packed with zany panel games and invitations to share favourite memories and yarns, will be 'refereed' by BBC Radio Norfolk managing editor David Clayton, a veteran in the chairman's role.

'These newspaper chaps are renowned for embellishing tales of derring-do, so I'll have to be on my toes to keep order. Radio Norfolk will record the Happy Headliners! in action and offer it to the county at a later date,' he warned.

Happy Headliners! At Norwich Playhouse starts at 8pm. Tickets �10 from the box office, 01603 598598.

All proceeds to the EDP We Care Appeal.

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