Showbiz names back axed Leeds theatre boss

SHUT OUT: Peter Sandeman.
SHUT OUT: Peter Sandeman.
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Theatre bosses are facing a showbiz backlash over the ditching of the stalwart general manager of the City Varieties Music Hall in Leeds.

Comic legend Ken Dodd led the criticism after news that Peter Sandeman was being made redundant broke in Thursday’s Yorkshire Evening Post.

Doddy, who has described the Varieties as a “jewel in Yorkshire’s crown”, said: “They are losing a very good man – he has been a credit to that theatre. It’s a stupid decision.”

Veteran actor and music hall expert Roy Hudd said: “Peter is a chap who’s seen the theatre through so many bad times and brought it out the other end.

“Anyone who is as enthusiastic as he is about his job should never be allowed to lose it.”

Much-loved comedian Norman Collier said: “Peter is a proper gentleman and a good friend. He will be missed and remembered as the person who brought the City Varieties back to life.”

Funnyman and ex-Crackerjack presenter Stu Francis told the YEP: “Peter has a knack of looking after everyone, artistes and public alike. What a shame he won’t be there any more.”

Dorothy Wallis, widow of Leeds comic and Varieties regular Peter ‘Machine Gun’ Wallis, said: “I’m glad my Peter can’t see this sad day.”

Leeds singer Caroline Fields added: “The Varieties will continue, but in what fashion? I am downhearted and feel it will never be the same.”

Mr Sandeman, 60, has spent 24 years at the theatre, which recently reopened after undergoing a £9.2m refurbishment.

Speaking in Thursday’s YEP, he said he was “gutted” by his ousting.

The Varieties is run by a council-controlled company which also manages Leeds Grand Theatre.

Andrew Macgill, theatres director for the firm, has said the redundancy decision is part of a “comprehensive restructure process”.

Saphieh Ashtiany, the equality and employment lawyer

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