Funny Girls in administration, but the show will go on

The company behind Blackpool's iconic Funny Girls showbar has collapsed into administration.

A spokesman for Funny Girls Ltd today confirmed the move was taken to allow Blackburn family run beer business Thwaites to take over running its venues and save around 100 jobs.

Funny Girls. The show will go on but the firm behind the popular Blackpool venue is in administration

Funny Girls. The show will go on but the firm behind the popular Blackpool venue is in administration

The gay-friendly clubs and bars, Funny Girls. Flamingos, Flying Handbag and Whippet Inn, will remain open and all bookings will be honoured.

The move comes in a week where the company faced high court action from the the taxman. But a company spokesman said owner Basil Newby had also suffered a recurrence of a long term illness and was forced to step aside.

HMRC had filed to take the company to court in August over an unpaid tax bill. At the time Mr Newby said an agreement has been reached between the company and HMRC which would mean that the business would continue trading.

The entrepreneur also faced difficulties in July when the council took away the licence for the Flamingo Club after the licencing committee described management there as "chaotic" following complaints by the police about the behaviour of some customers.

An appeal against the suspension of a drinks licence for the Flamingo club was due to go ahead at Blackpool Magistrates Court.

But at the hearing on Wednesday Blackpool Council lawyer Sharon Davies told magistrates: "Funny Girls Ltd which owns the Flamingo went into administration yesterday. Thwaites have taken over their licence. I have spoken to them and they did not know of this appeal.”

Magistrates agreed to adjourn the hearing so that Thwaites can consider its position.

A spokesman for Funny Girls Ltd confirmed the company was in administration but could not comment on financial issues.

He said: "Basil is not very well at the moment and as a result he has asked Thwaites to step in. He will continue to be involved but he is having to step aside. He will look at the situation again when he is feeling better.

"When you take over a new business you want a clean slate and so the company had to go into administration. Thwaites has been incredibly loyal to us over the past 20 years and they are stepping in now to safeguard more than 100 jobs and keep the business going.

"The doors will still be open and the show will go on. All bookings will be honoured."

A spokesperson for Thwaites said: “Funny Girls has been an iconic part of Blackpool’s night-time economy for a long time and we will make sure it stays that way.

“We have a long standing relationship with Basil Newby going back over 20 years and Basil has asked us to step in to support and protect the business and the livelihoods of people who work there.

“Our license will allow the Funny Girls outlets to operate without disruption for the next few months and together with Basil we will resolve these issues. As far as we are concerned, it’s business as usual for Funny Girls and the customers should see no difference."