Alison Hammond apologises for ‘making light’ of audience behaviour after The Bodyguard altercation

Alison Hammond has apologised for “making light” of theatre audiences singing along at musicals after police were called to a disrupted production of The Bodyguard in Manchester.

On This Morning last Wednesday (5 March), Hammond, her co-host Dermot O’Leary and guest Vanessa Feltz discussed news that the Palace Theatre had asked audiences not to sing along with the touring production of the musical due to “anti-social behaviour”.

“I can’t believe it. I’d be devastated, I’m not even going to go to that show now,” Hammond said, with Feltz asking: “Isn’t the whole point of going to a musical you know, that you sing along to all the bits you know and when you don’t know the words you just make them up?”

However, behaviour at the Palace Theatre reached new levels on Friday (7 March) night after a “riot” broke out among audience members at The Bodyguard, which stars Pussycat Dolls singer Melody Thornton.

After “disruptive” ticket holders refused to stop singing along during the closing number, the show was forced to come to a halt 10 minutes early and police were called.

On Sunday (9 April) night, Hammond released a statement, explaining that she’d been “reflecting” on her comments in the wake of Friday’s events.

“I want to apologise to anyone who I offended, especially the incredibly talented theatre performers, who I have the utmost respect for,” she wrote.

“I had no idea the level of disruption audiences were causing and tried to make light of the topic on Wednesday’s show, and for that I’m truly sorry.”

The future Great British Bake Off host explained that she’d since been to watch the musical adaptation of the baking show on Thursday (6 April) night, which had been a “magical experience”.

“I want to use my platform for good as always and want to stand up with the performers, front of hour and theatre staff, especially after seeing what happened at The Bodyguard which has made me sick to my stomach,” she added.

“Once again, I am truly sorry but trust me, I will do better in the future.”

Hours later, her co-host O’Leary shared an apology-free statement, which has been branded “disappointing” and “insincere” by fans.

In a clip shared on social media shortly before the production of The Bodyguard was cut short, a woman can be heard loudly singing along to closing number “I Will Always Love You”.

Another video shows security guards grappling with a fan in the crowd, while a third clip shows large parts of the audience applauding during what appears to be the altercation with security.

Speaking to fans on her Instagram Story on Friday night, Thornton thanked members of the audience “who respect the people on stage who want to give you a beautiful show”.

“I just am very, very sorry that we couldn’t finish the show. I fought really hard. It feels awful and I just hope that we see you again,” she said. “I thank everyone who was respectful of the performers and [feel] very, very sorry for those who weren’t.”

Her co-star Ayden Callaghan, who plays Kevin Costner’s role of Frank Farmer, tweeted: “Theatre pulled the show at the end tonight because of disgusting behaviour.

“We wanted to carry on but it had become a major incident. I’m really sorry to what was 99.9 per cent a brilliant audience that a few badly behaved individuals ruined it.”

A spokesperson for the Palace Theatre told The Independent: “We are disappointed that the last 10 minutes of the show needed to be cancelled due to disruptive customers refusing to stay seated and spoiling the performance for others.

“Future performances will continue as planned and we ask that customers are considerate towards the cast, fellow audience members and theatre team so that everyone can enjoy the wonderful entertainment on stage.”