Getting rid of Punch and Judy is pointless – children are already exposed to so much violence

People watch a traditional Punch and Judy show on the beach ain Weymouth
A traditional Punch and Judy show is lighthearted fun compared to savage video games - Matt Cardy/Getty Images

Most of us would be reduced to blows after 362 years of marriage, but for Punch and Judy, it’s time for the physical violence to stop.

According to 20-year-old puppeteer Spike Lidington, who performs in Covent Garden, the famous four-century-old husband and wife duo needed to set a better example to kids, amid concerns Punch was throwing too many punches at his wife – and promoting domestic violence and misogyny.

To that end, Lidington has been working with the University of Exeter’s Judy Project – an investigation into the gender roles in puppet shows – to develop a new peace-and-love version of the show in which Punch and Judy work together as partners in crime, handing out punishment to police officers, devils and crocodiles, rather than each other.

I’d like to think we’ll see domestic violence figures slump over the next few months, but I’m hard-pushed to remember the last time I actually saw a Punch and Judy show being performed, so sadly, much like toffee apples or Penny Farthings – both of which I also love – I’m not convinced these ruddy-faced puppets hold that much weight in public consciousness.

Then there’s the fact that in other areas of modern life, children – if you’re not careful – are subjected to countless acts of mindless violence. When I was growing up, the only gore I witnessed was the Tom and Jerry kind. And to be fair, these two were variously blown up, flattened by steamrollers and inserted into waffle irons.

Today, children can chance upon the kind of graphic, depraved acts no human being of any age should ever witness online. They can play video games in which they decapitate their extremely lifelike opponents with samurai swords, when they’re not blasting them away with semi-automatics – and it’s pretty clear to me which of those things we should worry about more.