Icons of England
  • Introduction
  • The Icons
  • Nominations
  • News
  • Learn & Play
  • Your Comments

Punch and Judy

Punch and Judy
PUNCH AND JUDY SHOW Meols, Merseyside © TopFoto.co.uk / ArenaPAL

Not so long ago, no visit to the seaside was complete without seeing a Punch and Judy show. The characters are familiar to many of us who grew up in England, and the story is loved by children and adults alike.

But isn't it strange, when you think about it? How did we end up becoming so attached to this violent couple? (Not to mention their companions the hangman, the crocodile, and so on.) Is it any wonder that attempts have been made to ban it, and that feminist groups have spoken out against it?

So where on earth did Punch and Judy come from? Mr Punch himself has family all over the world with countless European cousins but how did it all start? And why has it lasted so long? Explore the heritage of this peculiar tradition, meet a Punch and Judy man, watch a show and try to understand Punch and Judy's unusual grip on England's imagination...

Find out more about Punch and Judy...