Locals have hit back after stage and screen star Robert Powell described Eastbourne as a ghost town during his recent stay her.
The veteran actor, best known for playing the title role in Jesus of Nazareth, made the remarks during an interview with the BBC to promote his show Black Coffee at the Devonshire Park.
When asked about Eastbourne, the actor, who played Hercule Poirot in the play, said, “It is lovely but it is like a ghost town, it really is.
“But it’s a lovely place and the people are very nice.
“The pubs shut, that’s the problem – the pubs close at 11pm and we’re not used to this.
“We are looking for one that’s open after 11pm.”
His comments have been met with a good-natured rebuttal from tourism bosses.
And bar owner Mike Watkins was also quick to point out that had Powell taken the time to walk around the town he would have found plenty of hostelries to accommodate his needs.
“Eastbourne has advanced so much in the last five to ten years and there is a much younger population in the town,” said Mike, who owns the Loft Lounge in Station Street.
“Like a lot of places in Eastbourne we are contemporary and cosmopolitan not to mention the fact we are open every day until one or two in the morning.”
The council’s tourism member Carolyn Heaps said, “Robert Powell seems to be taking his latest role a little too seriously.
“I am sure Hercule Poirot would have found Eastbourne delightful, from the many restaurants at the bustling marina to the skaters along the palm tree-lined prom.
“Although I suspect the various bars and clubs in town and on the Pier, which remain open until 3am, may have been a little too much for him.
“The Devonshire Park Theatre is located in the heart of the hotel district, where late night bars are open to hotel guests, however with basic detective skills, he could have easily found a fantastic cool and relaxed vibe at a number of bars just a five minute stroll away.”