A THEATRE manager has said the show must go on despite the great-nephew of Larry Grayson claiming the play is a false portrayal of the late TV comedian.

The production, Three Days and Three Minutes with Larry, written by Chris Mellor, opens a UK tour on Thursday (March 24) at the Royal Hippodrome Theatre, Eastbourne, where it will be playing until Easter Saturday.

But Grayson’s great-nephew and the heir of his estate, 66-year-old former journalist Mike Malyon, has slammed the show.

Mellor wrote the play with Mr Malyon’s willing agreement, and Malyon accepted a down-payment from the playwright for the performing rights of his 2015 biography of his great-uncle, Seems Like A Nice Boy, for which Mellor found him a publisher.

But sight of Mellor’s script shocked and dismayed Mr Malyon.

The play focuses on the ageing comedian preparing - with the help of a young psychic healer - for his last-ever public appearance before the Prince of Wales in the 1994 Royal Variety Performance,

Mr Mellor said: "I’m very disappointed. I feel to concentrate on a fictitious account of him supposedly preparing for his final performance does not do him any justice.

"In no way does the script portray the nature or character of such a warm, kind, talented person who was and remains one of the nation’s iconic showbiz personalities”.

Mr Mellor said he wanted his script to be a celebration of the life of Larry Grayson and realises that Mr Malyon "obviously hates it."

"Originally he was going to be working with me as a creative consultant but we had to go our different ways because his version wasn’t my version. They were different," said Mr Mellor.

"Sexuality and gender were important for Larry. He has big issues with them and needed constant reassurance.

"Larry’s friends have been to see the show in London and they absolutely love it. It was all about the person they knew."

Darren Weir, the Hippodrome’s pre-show director, said he had received an email from Mr Maylon indicating he did not support the project.

"It is a shame that it could not be put together with his blessing. We hope though that this does not stop people who are interested from coming to see the production when it visits the theatre on its tour," he said.

"I also understand that the workshops that were carried out as part of the Arts Council funded project with people from the older gay community in Eastbourne were successful and worthwhile."