Comedian charged over pitch stunt
A BBC comedian will appear in court charged with going on a football pitch ahead of a big Premier League match.
Dressed as a top footballer, with blonde highlights, shark-fin haircut and designer stubble, Simon Brodkin's disguise was convincing enough for him to dupe security and get on the pitch ahead of Manchester City's crucial away game against Everton at Goodison Park on Saturday.
He stretched and limbered up in a full Man City match kit, blending in expertly alongside the likes of England's Joe Hart and Gareth Barry ahead of kick-off. But bemused looks from some of City's galaxy of international footballers soon alerted security that the mystery "player" was not in fact yet another multimillion-pound signing by the world's richest club.
Match stewards were called and the prankster was hauled off the turf and into the hands of waiting police officers.
Brodkin, 35, the star and host of his own BBC3 series titled Lee Nelson's Well Good Show, plays a character called Jason Bent in the show - a send up of the bling lifestyle enjoyed by professional footballers.
Merseyside Police failed to see the funny side and he was carted off to the local station and subsequently charged.
A spokesman for the force said: "Merseyside Police can confirm that a 35-year-old man from London has been charged with going on to the playing area, Football Offences Act, after he went on the pitch before the Everton versus Manchester City game on Saturday. Simon Brodkin, 35, of London, will appear before the Liverpool Community Justice Centre on Wednesday, April 3."
In the corresponding fixture between the two sides last season, a man ran on to the field and handcuffed himself to a goalpost. He had been protesting about Ryanair's recruitment policy after his daughter was denied a job by the airline.
Everton won Saturday's game 2-0, all but ending City's hope of keeping the Premier League title.
A BBC spokeswoman confirmed later that Brodkin was not filming for BBC3. A spokesman for Everton said the club will not comment as it is now a police matter.