Lionel Blair has revealed that he now refuses to work with children, because he’s so afraid of false child abuse accusations being levelled against him.
The showbiz veteran, who has a career spanning over seven decades, has said that earlier in his career he used to love working alongside children, but now refuses to because he feels like he can no longer be tactile with them.
In a new interview with The Mirror, Lionel reveals: “One of my favourite things in pantomime was getting the kids up on stage with me. With little girls, I’d say: ‘Can I have a kiss, please?’ and with little boys I’d shake hands.”
Describing an incident which occurred when he was starring in ‘Chitty Chitty Bang Bang’, he goes on to say: “There was this one little boy who used to come up to me every night to give me a hug and in the end I had to say to the matron, ‘I love him but will you please stop him doing that?’
“It only takes one stagehand to say ‘Lionel Blair is touching the kids backstage’ and that’s your career over. So I had to stop it. It’s awful, so sad, because I adore children.”
He later discusses the recent Operation Yewtree investigations, which have seen a number of prominent TV stars questioned over child sex abuse allegations, telling the newspaper: “What is awful is that because there were so many things that were so long ago, you don’t actually know who’s saying things that probably aren’t true.
“Going back 30, 40 years - how do you know what you did? Do you know what you did 20 years ago? No. But then there are people to whom awful things did happen, and that’s terrible.”
“I’m probably quite lucky I’ve been married for so long I have been left well out of it all.”