I had thought that the worst excesses of political correctness at Christmas time had finally been tempered by common sense over the last couple of years. But I am disappointed to learn that this is still not the case, despite the understandable reaction to ‘Winterval’ and other such nonsensical allegedly neutral variations that were foisted upon us in the past.

I recently attended a ‘Frost Fayre’ which I suspect was a Christmas Fair in disguise, named in order to offer no offence – to whom? Avoiding offending people in this patronising way can end up offending them even more. Do we still believe that any offence is caused by any cultural group celebrating its own traditional festivals?

The latest assault on common sense is to be found at that wonderful old theatre The Bristol Old Vic where someone has decided that Sleeping Beauty would be a story better told when the sleeping element is male and the wake-up kiss is administered by a female. This is all to do with avoidance of gender stereotyping. The director says “Our fairy-tale heroine is able to save herself and other people. Both the hero and the heroine can be vulnerable and brave. We don’t pigeonhole.” Pigeonhole? Oh dear, I do hope that the same creative team doesn’t see the need to adjust other well-loved stories.

In a genre where role reversal has been present traditionally for decades, when key characters are played by members of the opposite sex, does that mean that the sleeping Prince Beauty will played by a girl playing a man? Isn’t the traditional way of telling these well-loved stories already complicated enough without adding this unnecessary twist?

I think you hear all you need to know when it appears that the Fairy Godmother has been ousted in favour of Wise Women from the Women’s Institute. Presumably the initial curse was administered by a W.I member whose jam was considered unworthy of mention at the Midsummer Merriment.

It might have worked as a comedy post-Christmas show but not in the traditional panto schedule.

It may well be that the Theatre Royal in Bath – where I spent Christmas in a delightful traditional pantomime some years ago – could well be the beneficiary of this bizarre experiment. I anticipate with dread hearing about Bristol’s production next year of Lady Jane Silver in Treasure Island and maybe Joe White or Jackie and the Beanstalk.