Actor and queen of the pantomime dames Christopher Biggins is said to be in a stable but serious condition in an Oxfordshire hospital after being chased and caught by the Heythrop Hunt and attacked by hounds while wearing a Widow Twanky outfit and very heavy make-up.
It is the most high-profile incident since the fox hunting ban was introduced in 2004, and replaced with draghunting, which makes it legal for hunts to pursue thick-set men of a certain age who dress as women for the entertainment of small children.
‘We picked up his scent just south of Foxberry Wood at about 8.30 this morning,’ said Master of the Heythrop Hunt Simon Lawrance. ‘I then spotted him on the ridge above Kite Grove. He was leaning against a tree and cooling himself with an oversized fan, and I thought “well, that’s either Grayson Perry out for walk, or we’ve found our dame”.
‘We finally caught him trying to squeeze into a foxhole, shrieking and caterwauling, and displaying a large pair of red polka-dot bloomers. We set the dogs on him.’
Anti-draghunt protestors tried to help Biggins escape by laying the scent of Roy Hudd to confuse the hounds, and shouting ‘He’s behind you’ to try and slow the hunt as it passed, but to no avail.
‘Boxing Day is the biggest date of the hunt calendar,’ said Lawrance. ‘Last year we were disappointed when Colin Baker and Melvyn Hayes escaped right under our noses dressed as a pantomime horse, so this year we were intent on some serious celebrity bloodletting. Besides, they’re a notorious countryside pest.’
‘It’s barbaric,’ said anti-draghunt activist Polly Havelock. ‘The dames are lured into the countryside with promises of marriage to handsome young men, and then forced to run for their lives in full pantomime costume until they’re exhausted.
‘Their instinct is to try and seek safety with a theatrical agent, but of course they’re nowhere to be found as the dames become increasingly panicked and try last ditch life-saving manoeuvres like doing a comedy striptease while wearing fifteen different outfits or pulling a twenty foot long feather boa from their ample cleavage. We believe that Christopher knew he wouldn't be able to fit in the foxhole, but tragically thought it was funny enough to save him from the attack.
‘For people who have spent many years as serious actors, it’s a humiliating end.’