Karaoke, angry swans and a dangerous club sandwich - Radio 4 at the Fringe
Clive Anderson called Edinburgh the Athens of the North during Saturday's recording of Loose Ends (and not just to lead into a gag about Greece's economic collapse). For a few weeks in August Edinburgh becomes one of the cultural capitals of the world with thousands of shows taking place at the Edinburgh Fringe - including over 100 BBC shows.
If you come down to Fringe Venue 25 at the corner of Potterrow, you will find a tented village where you can experience the best of the BBC under one roof, including Radio 4 shows and workshops.
Festival-goers queue to see Just A Minute outside the Blue Tent.
The Blue tent is being used almost every day in August for radio and television recordings and has been hosting Radio 4 shows such as The Unbelievable Truth, Just a Minute, Front Row, Dilemma and the Today programme. The tent seats 300 people and Jim Naughtie confessed during the Today recording that being in the Blue tent was much more luxurious than his usual surroundings in the Today programme's London studios.
Live performances take place in the Pink Tent
You can hear music and comedy in the Pink tent, where there are free live performances happening every day to keep you entertained while you look around the site or wait to see a show. If you are very lucky, you might even be able to join The Horne Section in a bit of Band-a-Oke (like karaoke, but with musical backing from the famous band).
There is also an opportunity to learn more about Radio 4 by attending the workshops '45 Years of Just a Minute' and 'Radio 4 and the Fringe', which give you a behind-the-scenes glimpse of how we make programmes. At the Information Point you can book an appointment to see BBC staff in action in the working on-site radio studio. You may even be asked to paricipate in a programme. We asked people on site to tell us their dilemmas just before the recording of Dilemma. Here is what the crowd (including Radio 1's Scott Mills & Radio 4 Extra's Arthur Smith) told us they were worried about:
If you don't get into the recording of your favourite Radio 4 show, there is still plenty to do in the BBC Venue. There is a big screen which has broadcast moments from the festival, including Nicholas Parsons discussing 50 Shades of Grey on Just a Minute and Mark Watsons' short story about a disasterous club sandwich on Comic Fringes. You can also have your photo taken in front of our green screen and we will put your picture in a scene of a BBC show of your choice.
Mark Lawson told the audience at Wednesday's Front Row recording that if the BBC at the Edinburgh Fringe was the Olympics, then Front Row would be beach volleyball. And we like to think the Olympic spirit is being kept alive (in a small way) by the on site ping-pong table, which is in near constant use by competitive festival-goers.
It's not just Radio 4 at the venue, there are more BBC shows here than ever before with seven radio networks on site in total. Plus BBC Three hosted an all-night comedy marathon in the Blue Tent which was broadcast live on Red Button.
Entry to the site is free, so if you are in Edinburgh, why not come and see us on the corner of Potterrow and Marshall Street? If you are not in Edinburgh, then you can catch up with the highlights of the festival in our Edinburgh collection.
Great highlights from Edinburgh Festival this week include:
- Sex in Ambridge from Beatboxer Tom Thum on Front Row.
- Jane Godley's menopausal meditation in Just a Minute.
- George Wendt (Norm from 'Cheers') tells Sue Perkins how he wrestled a swan.
- Poet Kate Fox ponders The Great North Run in the Wondermentalist Caberet
- Hear Ross Noble, Mitchell and Webb and more from Radio 4 Extra Comedy Club all week on Radio 4 next week.
Plus there's still plenty more of Radio 4 at Edinburgh yet to come, including Mark Steel's in Town, the Horne Section and The Kitchen Cabinet.