Ann Widdecombe and I have done around 50 or 60 of our theatre shows up and down the country, but never has a member of the audience got up, shouted to us to 'F' off and stormed out of the theatre. Until last night in Chelmsford, that is.
It was near the end of the second half when an Agnetha Faltskog lookey-likey asked Ann about equality laws. She explained why she had voted against most of them and then started talking about the Chris Grayling episode and how it's supposedy impossible to express Christian viewpoints especially on gay issues. Normally in these evenings I regard my role as a prompt rather than an aggressive interviewer, because, after all, people have come to see her rather than hear from me. But once or twice I like to have a bit of a row with her on stage as the audience seem to like it. So I then ripped into her but, as you would expect, she gave back as good as she got.
At this point a young guy in the audience, who had already heckled during an earlier question on the coalition, got up and shouted, "F*** off" and started to walk out. He then turned again gave us the finger and shouted "F*** off you homophobes" before flouncing out, followed by his very embarrassed friend.
The only heckling we have ever had before was a couple of years ago when a woman in a box turned out to be blind drunk.
On both occasions, it was the audience who turned on the heckler. As compere, I didn't really have to so anything.
At the end of the show a man came up to Ann and he said: "I'm a Christian and I'm gay and I agree with what you said." There's always one!
Our next show is in Salisbury on Saturday 19 June.