Is this the new head bouncer at the Hippodrome Casino?

Is this the new head bouncer at the Hippodrome Casino?

A few weeks ago, our attention was drawn to a curious advert. The Hippodrome Casino in Leicester Square, home to Boom & Bang Circus and The Soho Burlesque Show – was advertising for new staff. Not croupiers, nor bar staff or new performers for their Matcham Room but for something else entirely.

“Hippodrome is seeking to create a team of Britain’s smallest bouncers – Door Dwarfs – for its new entrance in Cranbourn Street, Leicester Square. Duties include door control and customer relations. We welcome applications from those under 4ft 10 inches.”

A thousand puns sprung to mind and one serious question: why would one of the biggest casinos suddenly choose to hire an army of short bouncers other than as a PR stunt or  lost bet with Peter Jackson? Being hardened investigative journalists, we rolled up our sleeves and turned to Google. And this is what we found.

The Hippodrome Casino's advertisement

The Hippodrome Casino’s advertisement

Joe Lycett is a British comedian. He has appeared on TV shows including Celebrity Juice, Never Mind The Buzzcocks, 8 Out Of 10 Cats and as the announcer on Saturday BBC One show Epic Win. He is also a prank letter writer who has previously tried to wind up Phones4u, Birmingham City Council and The Sun but his latest target proved to be more than a match.


This is the message Lycett sent to the Hippodrome Casino under his alias of Paul Wenbridge.


 I recently visited your casino and found it to be a shoddy establishment with an ugly interior and uglier patrons. What’s more, my wife was left in the cold as she was deemed unfit for your premises and I was robbed by the house.
I was and am so furious about my treatment in your casino that I am considering spending some of my considerable wealth on annoying you. I recently inherited hundreds of millions of pounds from my uncle who passed away recently and who invented a unique and ubiquitous type of bottle cap. I find wealth to be unappealing and I am a petty man with a lot of spare time, so think rather than waste my uncle’s money IN your casino feel that waste it IRRITATING your casino may be preferable.
Some ways I may annoy you:
– Employ hundreds of dwarves to stand outside your doors shouting ‘we used to be tall before we gambled in this casino’.
– Release a van full of cats with gastroenteritis induced diarrhoea onto your doorstep.
– Purchase neighbouring properties and turn them into casinos where the house always loses.
– Employ undercover people to enter your casino and release swarms of locusts at regular intervals.
– Bribe government officials to persuade them to change gambling laws that will put you and your horrid premises out of business.
I should make it clear that I am not threatening to do this I am just making it clear that, should I wish, I could do this. An apology from you may rectify the matter completely.
Paul W
It is worth bearing in mind that this was no random jape from the stand-up comic. Lycett’s letter was a reaction to a visit he had made to the casino when “they were properly horrible to my friend and something dodgy went on at a blackjack table with a missing chip.
The casino’s response is nothing less than brilliant and provides a reason, if only jokingly, behind the new door dwarfs.
Dear Sir,

Thank you for your letter concerning your experiences at The Hippodrome Casino. We have only been open 9 months and whilst already the busiest and most popular casino in the country, we appreciate any feedback, good or bad, recognising that there are bound to be areas that we can improve on.

Firstly your comments on the building. Many people love the exterior and it is said to be one of the finest buildings designed by Frank Matcham over 100 years ago, but in any case it is listed so we are limited in what we can do to it. As to our patrons, we are proud of all our customers, ‘beauty is in the eye of the beholder’.

Secondly you say your wife was left out in the cold when you visited. Our sincere apologies for this. We shall immediately look to create a suitable refuge outside The Hippodrome for your wife on your next visit.

With regards to the numerous punishments that you have lined up for us and the use of your enormous wealth to carry them out:

The dwarves: Perhaps a little bad taste given the history of dwarves in the building. As you may know when The Hippodrome opened over 100 years ago, it was an indoor circus with a large water tank in the middle of the ground floors. They had show’s with elephants swimming in the tank, and other shows with dwarves high diving from the Minstrels gallery 60 ft above the water tank. All went well until they tried to combine the shows and the rest is history, certainly for 2 of the dwarves anyway. But in any case if you get an army of dwarves we would have no choice but to get our own army of dwarfs to combat them and we could have a ‘small’ battle in Cranbourne St.

The cats; please don’t, we have only just got rid of the last lot.

The neighbouring property route. We like this idea, so please go ahead; it will give customers more money to come and enjoy themselves with at The Hippodrome which is by far the best property in the area.

Your locusts: It makes us smile just thinking about the poor chaps coming in with a swarm of locusts under their coats. It could be a tad uncomfortable for them.

Government officials: Any chance of getting the government officials to carry the locusts in? It would make us smile even more.

 So in short we would dread to think of you carrying out any of your ingenious plots, so naturally unreservedly apologise for any offence caused, knowingly or unknowingly. Please do introduce yourself on your next visit (with or without wife); we will make sure you are well looked after and will happily buy you a drink for the pleasure you have given us.

Yours sincerely,

Paul Mettam 

Well played, Mr Mettam, well played. Meanwhile, Lycett can be found touring the UK with his show If Joe Lycett Then You Should Have Put A Ring On It. No dates at the Hippodrome Casino have yet been announced.
Image credits: starrynight_012 under Creative Commons Licence for Snow White, Simon Wan for advertisement