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Comic farmer's last show

PUBLISHED: 15:01 14 May 2008 | UPDATED: 10:19 07 July 2010

It's the way he tells 'em … funny farmer Keith Loads has tickled the festive funny bones of more than half-a-million people.

But now, after six years of having audiences rolling in aisles with laughter at his Norfolk yokel jokes, Keith has been axed from this year's Thursford Christmas Spectacular.

It's the way he tells 'em … funny farmer Keith Loads has tickled the festive funny bones of more than half-a-million people.

But now, after six years of having audiences rolling in aisles with laughter at his Norfolk yokel jokes, Keith has been axed from this year's Thursford Christmas Spectacular.

Comic Keith confirmed that he will not be appearing in his popular end of the first half slot in the show that has been running for more than 30 years.

“I realise that nothing is set in stone, but I absolutely loved being in the show and in my heart thought that I might be doing it for another 20 years. I have appeared in costume as a different character, including a postman, farmer and country yokel to ring the changes and I each year have always put together a collection of new jokes for my eight-minute routine,” said Keith, who farms at Hindringham, close to Thursford where the show is staged.

He was made aware that he would not be in show a few weeks ago following a private meeting with the show's director John Cushing.

Keith explained that being in the Thursford show fitted in perfectly with his farming schedule because it was a quiet time and it was convenient because he lives so close to Thursford.

He is now faced with the prospect of finding more entertainment work to fill the November to December period that the show is running.

“I can't tell you how much I loved being in the show and I would like to think that the audiences liked my routine. I usually had to wait for the applause to finish when I first appeared on the stage before I could start my act. I am aware that people attending the show have asked why I can't have two slots so they must like my act,” he said.

Keith said that it was wonderful for him that he was appearing before capacity audiences every night. “Every night after the show I would be on such a high, it was a tremendous feeling and I really feel disappointed that I will not be on the stage for the 2008 show”.

Thursford show management has defended their decision to axe Keith's comic routine by saying that they have to keep the show fresh each year and introduce changes. He is to be replaced by another comic-style but “different” style of act.

While admitting that Keith was very popular with Thursford audiences, he was only one small element of the overall show in which there were no main stars.

“Everyone one of musicians, singers and dancers have to audition for their parts each year and we just felt that it was time for a change this year after Keith had appeared for six consecutive years. We are not saying that he will never be back, but surely it is better for him to end on a high with people asking for more,” said Geraldine Rye, personal assistant to show director and devisor John Cushing.

Miss Rye said that the show is always evolving with every piece of music, musical number and dance routine being in a new format each year in a show which is totally personally devised by its director John Cushing.

Miss Rye said that there were already 129,000 advance booking for his year's show which starts on November 8.

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