IN the middle ages if everyone leant on the table with their elbows it would collapse.

Today that inconvenience has manifested into a rule which is considered impolite to put your elbows on the table.

Interesting facts like this, and many many more, can be heard on William Hanson’s latest tour – Tiaras and Teacups – where he will teach polite behaviour, and enlighten the audience with the history of customs, tastes and manners.

William was a precocious child living in North Somerset. His grandma gave him a book on etiquette, which he enjoyed and then eventually started reading more.

He said: “When I was 16, I was asked by my school to teach the 12-year-olds how to set a table and I started to realised that not everyone knew the things I knew.

“I didn’t expect it to become a career. When I was a child I wanted to be the Archbishop of Canterbury (I wasn’t particularly religious, I just liked the robes).

“But I am grateful that people have responded well to what I do.”

Now William has written two etiquette books himself, The Bluffer’s Guide to Etiquette and The Bluffer’s Guide to Entertaining, in which he explores etiquette and decorum at all stages in our lives.

He has worked with VIP households, coached diplomats, businesspeople, schools and colleges and advised multi-national brands in countries as varied as China, India, Monaco and Russia.

Since 2018, he has also co-hosted the podcast Help I Sexted My Boss with Jordan North.

This is The West Country:

“I was talking to a friend with a production company, and this was when podcasts were becoming more popular” William explained.

“I had a friend called Jordan and we are cut from different cloths as people used to say to us, but we really get along.

“So, we decided to start a podcast to talk about the things I can’t talk about on Radio 2 - things that would make the Vicar blush, so to say.”

As an etiquette coach, you may think that William has had a few negative reactions to his advice – but he admitted that the response has been quite positive, and nine times out of ten, he change the minds of disgruntled audience members.

He added: “My most difficult student was when I was teaching 12-year-olds to set the table (when I was 16) and I was told that one child was difficult.

“He threw plates and so on at me, but he was the worst student I have had and I taught him first.

“If you want to learn, you will. Just come with an open mind.

“There are a lot of rules that just make sense and although there are some that you can disregard, some work. Once you learn why we have certain rules, it can tell you a lot about the country.

“It makes much more sense when you learn the history behind rules too, such as why you should not put your elbows on the table.

“If you come to the tour I will tell you a shocking revelation about sticking out your little finger, all to do with Sexually Transmitted Diseases.”

William’s tour, Teacups and Tiaras, is his first solo tour and won’t be like his past tours with Jordan and the podcast.

He added: “The show is more ‘info-tainment’ I would say, a pop-up finishing school where people are ‘voluntold’ to join me on stage and brush up on their etiquette.”

The tour is coming to Bridgwater on Friday, March 6 at 7:30pm.

When asked of his memories of Bridgwater, William admitted that he used to love Sedgemoor Splash and explained that it will be nice to visit again.

To book visit mcmillantheatre.com or call 01278 556677.