Published: 00:01, 12 January 2019
| Updated: 08:06, 12 January 2019
Actor and comedian Julian Clary has had some strong words to say about one of our towns, saying a visit "scarred me for life".
In an interview with the magazine Velvet, published by KentOnline's parent company Iliffe Media, he was asked about audiences across England, and called Chatham a "s**t hole".
The 59-year-old, who lives in Aldington near Ashford, said: "The rumour used to be that they (audiences) are more extroverted up north, and they’re more sitting with their arms crossed in the south, but I don’t think that’s true any more.
"You never know how it’s going to feel.
"I don't play Chatham any more because it's a s**t hole.
When asked to explain why, he added: "They didn’t laugh. Fifteen years ago, it was. Scarred me for life."
Chatham Central ward councillor Vince Maple was quick to defend the town.
He said: "Julian Clary has had an amazing comedy career in the last years but we’ve got great theatres; he was probably having a bad night.
"Lots of comedians make jokes about the towns they play at so maybe he was doing that.
"Lots of other comedians have come to Chatham and have had huge laughs - he must have been having an off night" - Vince Maple
"But lots of other comedians have come to Chatham and have had huge laughs - he must have been having an off night.
"He’s totally wrong."
However, Kulwant Singh Patpatia, 74, who has owned El Toba leather shop in Chatham High Street for 44 years, can understand Mr Clary's point.
The Maidstone Road resident, known as Mr Pat, said: "Well, I have said before, I think Chatham is going downhill as a place.
"If he was at the Chatham Central Theatre there are homeless people who sleep out there and another empty shop where Mothercare was.
"If he went outside there and saw that, I can see why he would say that.
"We’ve got lots of beggars and druggies, but people who go to the theatre will have money and get dressed up.
"There are lots of very well-educated people here, it’s not all bad.”