Ricky Gervais: Demand for Christchurch theatre's tickets 'unprecedented'

A theatre set to host Ricky Gervais next week said it faced "unprecedented" demand for tickets for his two shows.

The award-winning comedian, actor and writer will debut a new show at the Regent Centre in Christchurch, Dorset, on Monday and Tuesday.

Scores of fans queued for tickets at the charity-run theatre on Friday, only to be told most had been sold online.

The theatre said more than 77,000 people tried to buy tickets online and it had received more than 57,000 calls.

In a statement, it said while most people were "very understanding of these exceptional circumstances", it was also "disappointed by the level of abuse" directed at staff and volunteers by some others.

Ricky Gervais
Ricky Gervais will perform his latest work-in-progress show on Monday and Tuesday [BBC]

Fans started to queue outside the 500-seat theatre at 04:30 BST on Friday and its box office "got through as many of these people as possible" before tickets sold out, it said.

Despite the massive demand, the theatre said more than 90% of tickets were bought by local people.

The work-in-progress show Ricky Gervais and Friends will see the star joined on stage by fellow comedians.

Fan Ian Woolley queued from after 09:00 on Friday. He said there were about 200 "angry people" left without tickets.

Gervais later tweeted in reply: "That's annoying. They should have held back a number of tickets for box office only."

The art-deco Regent Centre, a former cinema in Christchurch's High Street, dates back to the 1930s.

Gervais is also due to perform his new material at London's Leicester Square Theatre and Watford Palace Theatre in Hertfordshire.

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