End of an era as Funny Girls is put up for sale

Funny Girls up for sale as Basil Newby speaks out on the "end of an era"

Thursday, 6th September 2018, 5:22 pm
Updated Thursday, 6th September 2018, 5:26 pm
The Funny Girls complex at the former Odeon building in Blackpool

The owner of Funny Girls, Basil Newby, has spoken of his sadness after his company went into administration.

Administrators KPMG have said they were considering a sale of the business and its premises but for the present it is being run by Blackburn-based brewery Thwaites.

The showbar and other venues in the resort will stay open, but the move could see the entrepreneur’s involvement with the Blackpool icon brought to an end.

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On stage at Funny Girls

Mr Newby said a long term health problem had forced him to step aside. His company, Funny Girls Ltd, was being chased by the taxman over an unpaid bill and was due in court this week.

Thwaites, which has loaned money to the company in recent years and has supplied beer to the venues, will take over Funny Girls. Flamingos, Flying Handbag and Whippet Inn.

The company’s latest accounts, up to April 30 2016, showed debts of £4.34m secured by legal charges over the properties by Thwaites.

Mr Newby issued a statement on social media, in which he said he was suffering ill health and it was time to stand aside. He said: “I contacted Thwaites brewery who I have been with for 20 years and they have been amazing with me.

“They have liquidated the company and are going to run it under licence for three months so I can sort my health problems out and then decide if I definitely wish to go.

“I want to thank you all for such fantastic times and supporting me over the past 40 years and I’m still about for the next three months so a Diet Pepsi on the rocks is there to share with me. Guess it’s the end of an era but the show goes on and nothing will change.”

The news emerged at a hearing in Blackpool, which was due to hear a challenge to a recent decision by Blackpool Council to take away the drinks licence for Flamingos after complaints by the police.

Blackpool Council’s solicitor Sharon Davies told magistrates the company had gone into administration and the hearing was adjourned.

Paul Dumbell and Howard Smith from KPMG’s Restructuring practice have been appointed joint administrators to Funny Girls.

Following the appointment of the joint administrators, a licence was granted to Daniel Thwaites plc, allowing the business to trade across all venues while the joint administrators explore interest in a sale of the business and assets.They said Funny Girls Limited employed approximately 100 staff, all of whom transferred to the licensee following the grantin g of the licence.

Commenting on the administration, Paul Dumbell, director at KPMG and joint administrator, said: “In recent times, this popular chain had suffered from significant creditor pressure.

"We are therefore delighted to have reached the agreement with Daniel Thwaites, which protects jobs, while affording us the opportunity to seek a buyer for the business and its assets.”