BBC Edinburgh Fringe Venue opens

The BBC returns with over 200 shows on air and on-site from the heart of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, with an extended 24-day run for 2012. For the first time, seven national radio stations will be broadcasting live from the BBC's tented festival village at Potterrow.

Published: 3 August 2012
For the Fringe we are all together for the BBC @ Potterrow, with more for the audience and more for those who can come along and see us."
— Fred MacAulay, Comedian and Presenter

Radio Scotland, Radio 1, Radio 2, Radio 3, Radio 4, 5 live and 6Music will appear at the Fringe this August and Radio 4 Extra will be broadcasting highlights.

BBC Three, BBC Scotland and BBC Northern Ireland all produce content from the site, while BBC Two's Culture Show and Review Show reflect activity from the festivals, together with BBC One's coverage of the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo.

BBC Childrens are also be on site, with a range of CBBC and CBeebies-themed shows every Sunday. This year, supported by BBC Learning, there is a chance for audiences to learn more about what happens behind the scenes at their favourite BBC shows, with a range of masterclasses, workshops and family friendly activities.

Opening the event on Friday 3 August is Patrick Kielty's Radio 2 show, with guests Tim Vine, Lucy Porter, Marcus Brigstocke, Shappi Khorsandi and music from Scouting for Girls, followed by the Radio 2 Arts show hosted by Penny Smith and the first heat of the Radio 2 New Comedy Award 2012 compered by Seann Walsh with judge Mark Watson. Closing the broadcast activity is Radio 2's Saturday morning show, The Jon Holmes Situation.

Fringe favourite Fred MacAulay returns to the BBC venue, with Radio Scotland's MacAulay and Co, co-host Susan Calman and a stellar line up including Alan Davies, Sandi Toksvig, Paul Merton, Rhod Gilbert, Miriam Margolyes, Jason Byrne, Rhys Darby, Stewart Lee, and Jan Ravens.

Fred MacAulay says: “The Olympics has been very exciting this year but we are moving now to Edinburgh, which to my mind is the gold standard for festivals. For the Fringe, we are all together for the BBC @ Potterrow and it is going to be even better this year with more for the audience and more for those who can come along and see us. Susan Calman and I have some pretty big - and very funny - names lined up for MacAulay & Co and it all promises to be terrific for Edinburgh 2012.”

Radio Scotland will also broadcast special Fringe editions of Festival Cafe, Off the Ball, Vic Galloway, Jazz House from the BBC @ Potterrow, and is also recording a series of Christopher Brookmyre’s Comedy Bookcase.

In a Fringe first, BBC Three is getting into the spirit of the Edinburgh Fringe with a live overnight Comedy Marathon on the BBC’s Red button service, running from 9pm on Friday 17 August until 5am the following morning. It will be hosted by Chris Ramsey, Andrew Maxwell, Susan Calman and Radio 1’s Jameela Jamil and will feature over 40 different acts from this year’s Festival. A highlights package and TV series will be broadcast by BBC Three at a later point, with special shows also being made for BBC Scotland and Northern Ireland.

BBC Radio 1 returns with Nick Grimshaw and Scott Mills and their Fun and Filth Cabaret, part of the London 2012 Festival, from Monday 13 to Thursday 16 August, 11pm -12 midnight. Together with celebrity guests they will showcase the best of the weird and wonderful talent performing at the festival in front of a live audience.

Alongside new and established comedians there will be music, theatre and cabaret, with Radio 1 DJs Greg James and Vernon Kay also taking to the stage during the run. Scott Mills, whose own Radio 1 show returns to Edinburgh for a fourth year says: “I'm really excited to be heading back to Edinburgh this year with our Fun and Filth Cabaret, which promises some truly bizarre acts as well as some special star guests. Myself and the team always have so much fun at the Festival and it's a real highlight of my year."

Radio 3, broadcast partners of the Edinburgh International Festival, join the Potterrow line up for the first time in 2012 with In Tune and Late Edition. This is in addition to their extensive coverage of concerts from the EIF.

Fringe regulars Radio 4 bring a host of shows including award-winning Mark Steel's In Town with a special show on Saturday 18 August sharing the secrets of Leith, filmed for red button and transmitting the following week. In addition, Radio 4 record special festival versions of Just a Minute, Wondermentalist Cabaret, Alex Horne Presents the Horne Section, John Finnemore's Souvenir Programme, The Kitchen Cabinet, Loose Ends with Clive Anderson, Front Row with Mark Lawson, Comic Fringes, The Philosophers Arms, Dilemma hosted by Sue Perkins, Today with Jim Naughtie, Tonight with Rory Bremner and The Unbelieveable Truth with David Mitchell.

Radio 4 Extra returns to the site with Comedy Club hosted by Arthur Smith, in which Arthur tries to recapture the spirit of the early days of the Fringe and there will also be the chance to hear comedy greats from the BBC Archive, introduced by some of today’s leading lights of the comedy world.

5 live will be broadcasting from across the city in the final week of the Fringe landing on the BBC site on 22 and 23 August with the Richard Bacon Programme. 6 Music bring Sean Keaveny's breakfast show to the site from Monday 6 to Friday 10 August, completing the line-up of seven BBC national radio stations.

Paul Bush OBE, Chief Operating Officer for EventScotland says: “Festival season in Edinburgh is a hugely exciting time of year when the international community converges on the city for the world’s most famous cultural celebrations. In 2012, the year of creative Scotland, EventScotland is delighted to be supporting the BBC’s Festival Fringe activity, which will provide a fantastic broadcast platform for both Scotland and the festivals. Scotland is the perfect stage for events and through the BBC the festivals will see increased coverage across multiple platforms, which will further enhance the city’s reputation as a world-leading cultural destination.”

Additional attractions at Potterrow include:

• BBC Comedy Presents, another part of the London 2012 Festival along with the Comedy Marathon, returns with their sell-out late night show at 11pm featuring a host of top Edinburgh acts including Hanniball Burress, Jarred Christmas, Jason Cook and The Boy with Tape on his Face.

• Other BBC teams joining the event include The College of Production producing festival themed podcasts from the site, the Performing Arts Fund bringing experimental dance to the garden on 16 August and BBC Drama who are heading to the Fringe for the first time with a range of screenings, workshops and masterclasses together with an interactive live Tweet along of a special Eastenders episode on the big screen.

• Families visiting the Fringe will be well catered for with the introduction of CBBC and CBeebies Sundays with screenings, Deadly Doodles, Presenter appearances and Aardman animation clay workshops plus the chance to audition to be a Children's presenter yourself.

• BBC Poetry Slam returns to the site bigger and better from 20 to 24 August with Scottish Makar (the National Poet for Scotland) Liz Lochhead taking part in her first ever Slam at the BBC venue.

• There are plenty of free interactive activities that don’t need a ticket to enjoy including our Green Screen photo booth, Radio Studio open every Saturday, Olympic highlights on the Big Screen and challenge friends to a game of Ping Pong.

• Live music on-site daily ranges from World loopstation champion Shlomo and his Vocal Orchestra, The Horne Section’s Band-a-oke to the 150-strong Edinburgh Rock Choir.

Standby tickets for on-site events, with availability, will be released daily at 11am from the BBC Information Point at the site entrance on the corner of Potterrow and Marshall Street.

Follow @bbcedfest for line ups and for the full schedule.

The BBC @ Potterrow venue is open daily from 9am to 1am from 3 to 26 August 2012.