HUNDREDS of angry fans were left fuming after comedian Freddie Starr failed to turn up for his Blackburn show on Saturday night.
It was just a day after Starr publicly denied claims that he groped a 14-year-old girl in Jimmy Savile’s dressing room. Five media organisations over-turned a high court injunction brought by him to ban the pub-lication of the allegations.
Despite taking to the stage at Wolverhampton Civic Hall on Friday night, during which he cracked a joke about the Jimmy Savile scandal and called claims against him ‘lies’, he didn’t show up at King George’s Hall.
Organisers were given no indication that he wouldn’t appear and have been unable to contact him or his management for an explanation.
Around 250 £20 tickets had been sold for the event on Saturday evening and many of the audience were in their seats when they were asked to go home. Security, box office and bar staff were all in place.
Organisers at King George’s made several attempts to contact the 59-year-old entertainer throughout Saturday but received no response.
The show was part of a tour following Mr Starr’s stint on hit ITV reality show I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here.
A spokesman for King George's Hall said concerns were first raised when a production company hired by Mr Starr for sound and lighting failed to show at 2pm.
Repeated calls to the firm and to Mr Starr’s company PK Celeb Ents were made but not answered throughout the afternoon.
Two of Freddie's 'biggest fans' were women in wheelchairs who had been outside waiting with flowers from early afternoon.
They were spotted by Blakey's bar staff who invited them inside to wait when they opened at 5pm.
A spokesman said: “The sandwiches and hot drinks were ready for the production crew at 2pm, so from 2.30pm we were on the phone trying to get hold of someone.
“We hoped that Freddie would show as often entertainers can be very late and we couldn't cancel prematurely.
“At 6.30pm, that was the minimum amount of time for costume and makeup so we made the announcement then.
“If we had been given some idea the show was off we could have avoided bringing all the staff in and having customers come inside only to be disappointed.”
David and Irene Moss, from Burnley, said the lack of communication from Starr was disappointing.
Irene said: “It would have been decent of him to get in touch. We have paid £20 a head to be here and it’s a great let down.”
Another couple, Rita and George Firth travelled from Nelson.
George said: “We have seen Freddie before and he puts on a brilliant show. Obviously we’ve heard about the allegations in the papers but if he’s not guilty then he should have been here.”
Staff at the venue were just as bemused as the audience after Mr Starr’s no-show.
One worker, who didn’t want to be named, said: “People have travelled from as far away as the North-East and Anglesey for this gig.
“They have spent money on transport and hotel rooms and it’s pathetic that he’s cancelled without notice.”
The venue was offering refunds and alternative events to disgruntled customers.
The show was billed as: "Madcap legend Freddie Starr is back from Australia and will be thrilling audiences during the spring and autumn of 2012 with his BACK FROM THE JUNGLE TOUR, as he takes his hilarious new show to some of his favourite theatres.”
The Lancashire Telegraph tried several times to contact Mr Starr and his representatives yesterday without success.