Press Office

Wednesday 24 Sep 2014

Press Release

Fringe benefits for BBC's Edinburgh Festival output

For the first time ever, this year's BBC Edinburgh Festival coverage will benefit from combining a wide array of talents under one roof for all its Fringe activities.

BBC coverage, as in previous years, will extend well beyond the Fringe, with the diversity of the Edinburgh festivals reflected in output across TV, radio, news and online.

But this year, BBC Radio, TV and Online comedy, Radio 1, Radio 2, Radio 4, Radio 4 Extra, 5 Live, BBC Northern Ireland and Radio Scotland will join forces along with BBC Learning for a string of live shows and acts in a special pop-up venue on Potterrow, near Bristo Square from Friday 12 to Saturday 27 August.

The annual sell-out BBC Comedy Presents stand-up show will come live from the BBC site twice daily at 5pm and 11pm with plans for transmissions online and on TV.

Here's a snapshot of just some of the entertainment that will feature across the two week period:

Radio 1 will be returning to Edinburgh for the third time this year. Scott Mills will be broadcasting his show (4-7pm) live from the city between Monday 15 August and Friday 20 August. Joining Scott will be Nick Grimshaw who'll be broadcasting his evening show (10pm-12midnight) from Monday 15 August to Thursday 19 August. They'll be showcasing the best of the Edinburgh festival talent with some special late-night shows. Keep listening to Radio 1 for more information.

Each weekday morning BBC Radio Scotland's MacAulay & Co will transmit from the venue in front of a live audience. Presented by Fred MacAulay with highlights and guests from the Festival and a one-off special of Off The Ball with Stuart Cosgrove and Tam Cowan, BBC Radio Scotland will also host The Festival Café, with Clare English and Janice Forsyth, chatting to some of the Festival's biggest names.

Elsewhere Penny Smith will host the Radio 2 Arts Show.

BBC Radio 4 will showcase a selection of its best comedy programmes including: The Unbelievable Truth chaired by David Mitchell; Just A Minute with Nicholas Parsons and Paul Merton; and, produced with BBC Northern Ireland, Colin Murphy hosts the brainiac comedy talk show Great Unanswered Questions.

Alongside these established crowd pleasers will be brand new comedy commissions, including Richard Herring's Objective And Life: An Idiot's Guide With Stephen K Amos. Radio 4's arts programmes also join the line up with special fringe editions of Front Row with Mark Lawson, Loose Ends with Clive Anderson and Broadcasting House with Paddy O'Connell. Radio 4 will also present Comic Fringes, in which three leading comics perform specially written short stories. BBC Radio 4 Extra will make its Edinburgh debut with What's So Funny? offering an eclectic mix of banter and news from the world of comedy at the festival.

Masterclasses will take place most afternoons, with comedy greats including Ricky Gervais and Warwick Davis discussing the making of the new HBO/BBC comedy Life's Too Short, written and directed by Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant.

And there'll be an ambitious and rich programme under the banner of the Comedy School to complement the broadcast content across the two week run at the Fringe. Funded by BBC Learning, the Comedy School will offer attendees and participants the opportunity to take part in a variety of masterclasses, Q&A sessions, comedy writing and performance workshops led by BBC producers and performers. There will also be a chance to test out new-found skills in the BBC Three Funny In 15 video booth. All this activity will be supported by the online team with broadcast partners BBC Three and BBC Radio.

Mark Freeland, Head of Comedy said: "Edinburgh Festival Fringe is one of the highlights of the UK's cultural calendar and gives the BBC an unparalleled opportunity to nurture and showcase the best of the UK's creative talent. In the past, the BBC across many genres, has discovered the stars of the future at The Fringe and has started many success stories there. With many areas of the BBC performing so strongly, particularly both TV and Radio Comedy, 2011 feels as if it's the perfect moment for us to all come together under one roof to maximise our involvement in the world's largest arts festival."

Donalda MacKinnon, Head of Programmes at BBC Scotland, noted: "The BBC has a long-standing association with the Edinburgh festivals, reflecting as we do the sheer diversity of the many great shows on offer every year. Combining the talent and comedy of the Fringe in tandem with high-quality coverage elsewhere across the range of festivals on TV, radio and online should ensure we bring all the buzz of Edinburgh in August to homes right across the UK."

Jane Berthoud, Head of BBC Radio Comedy added: "This is an extremely exciting venture for Radio Comedy. We always take some of our best shows to Edinburgh, but this year is a first. We are delighted to be joining up with some of our other BBC colleagues, in TV and radio, to form a unique BBC venue, broadcasting from the heart of the festival."

Caroline Raphael, Commissioning Editor, Radio 4 said: "Radio 4 has been broadcasting from the Edinburgh Fringe Festival for over 10 years, so this is an extremely exciting development both for the BBC and the Festival itself and we look forward to working alongside our colleagues. Here's to another decade!"

Abigail Appleton, Head of Commissioning, BBC Learning, added: "I'm thrilled to commission the Comedy School. We know humour and playfulness are powerful tools in many forms of learning so BBC Comedy and BBC Learning are natural bedfellows. I hope the Comedy School's wonderful curriculum of workshops and masterclasses will appeal to a wide range of people in Edinburgh and at home online. The classes will not only give insights into the craft, creativity and business of comedy for budding comedy writers and performers but I hope will help develop skills and confidence for many different situations".

Follow @bbccomedy or visit as more shows are added to the line-up.

Outside the tent, BBC Radio 3 will reflect the festival's finest classical music concerts including performances by BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and on TV, BBC Two's The Culture Show will have three Edinburgh specials, with Sue Perkins getting the lowdown on the highlights, and on Friday's The Review Show with Kirsty Wark, will debate key events and performances. There will also be dedicated coverage of the Edinburgh Military Tattoo.


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