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The Edinburgh Military Tattoo at 60

The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo is the most famous military spectacle in the world, and in 2010 it celebrates its sixtieth birthday. In this archive-rich documentary Bill Paterson tells the story of how the Edinburgh Tattoo grew from an all-Scottish military pageant into an internationally-renowned event, with acts from across the globe joining the traditional pipes and drums and military bands on the esplanade of Edinburgh Castle.

Rarely seen archive brings to life a changing postwar world and shows how the public's attitude towards the forces has come full circle since the first official Edinburgh Tattoo in 1950. Conceived in an era when the military were hailed as heroes, the show was an instant hit but its popularity dipped in the 60s with the anti-war hippie generation. Today, with support for British soldiers in Afghanistan, the show is more popular than ever.

The programme features extraordinary performances from some of the show stoppers over the years including the world famous piping Sikh Regiment of Nepal, the Trinidad and Tobago Defence Force Steel Band playing their rendition of Amazing Grace, and the hardy Cook Island Dance Team who braved the weather in nothing but grass skirts and coconut bras.

The first ever official Edinburgh Tattoo is captured in rare black and white footage, and wonderful 60s archive shows audience members joining soldiers to twist on the esplanade.

1 hour

Last on

Sun 22 Aug 2010 18:30
BBC One Scotland