Hall in a day’s work for funnyman John

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Dunkirk Hall in Leyland has welcomed many different guests since it was built nearly 400 years ago.

But next month the former manor house is set to host its first TV and stand-up star – funnyman John Thomson, who was brought up in New Longton.

Landlord David Holt took over Dunkirk Hall, which was built in 1628, in June last year.

He started running comedy nights in October and has provisionally booked the Cold Feet actor for a headline performance some time next month.

He said: “It’s a 17th century building, so I know some people might not expect it to be the sort of place that runs comedy nights.

“At the end of the pub, where we have a vaulted ceiling, my son who is a joiner has built a stage for me, with a big backdrop.

“I used to go to a comedy event in Preston in a pub since closed down, the Fox and Grapes in Fox Street, so I thought it was something that was missing and decided to try it here.

“It’s worked very well – we’ve had local acts as well as acts who have supported the likes of Johnny Vegas and Lee Evans. We’re very excited about having John here.”

Thomson, 44, studied at All Hallows Catholic High School in Penwortham, before leaving Runshaw College in Leyland in 1987, after getting four A-levels.

He went on to study drama at Manchester Polytechnic, where he met Steve Coogan, before landing roles in Spitting Image and in Coogan’s shows, including Knowing Me, Knowing You... with Alan


He won critical acclaim for his roles in The Fast Show and Cold Feet and has also appeared in soaps, including Coronation Street and Waterloo Road.

Dunkirk Hall, which was turned into a pub/restaurant in the 1970s, is awaiting final confirmation of the date for the show.

But it is expected to take place on either February 20, 21 or 22.

The comedy night is usually held on the third Thursday of each month. However, there is no event in January.

David, 35, said: “Since we’ve taken over the pub it has gone exceptionally well, thankfully.

“We’re getting renowned for good food and we’ve got a chef who used to work on the QE2, Nick Woodcock.

“Hopefully, I’d like to think we’ll soon be just as well renowned for our comedy nights.”