A curious case of Snow White and the seven asylum seekers

A panto called Snow White and the Seven Asylum Seekers has been banned from being performed in a Devon village hall unless it is re-written, it emerged last night.

The seven asylum seeker characters in the production include one called Chemical Ali.

The show was due to be performed at the village hall in Merton, near Great Torrington, in January.

The chairman of the village hall committee, Tim Horner, said they took the decision after taking advice from the Devon and Exeter Racial Equality Council, the Community Council and the Commission for Racial Equality.

But the panto's writer and producer, 55-year-old Bob Harrod, has branded the decision "a load of old rubbish".

Mr Horner said the panto would not go ahead unless there was a re-write, but he did not think Mr Harrod would be willing to do that.

"We heard about it three weeks ago, took advice and asked him to change the title," said Mr Horner.

When Mr Harrod refused, the village hall committee - which is a charity - held a special meeting and decided on the ban.

But Mr Harrod said last night:" It is not racist at all. So we cannot talk about asylum seekers now. The script is not racial."