Tayside and Central Scotland

Thousands attend Stampy Cat Minecraft lecture

Stampy Cat Image copyright Dylan Drummond
Image caption Stampy Cat is one of the world's biggest YouTube stars with more than 6.8 million subscribers to his channel

The Royal Society of Edinburgh says having YouTube star Stampy Cat deliver its Christmas lecture is the "biggest event" in the organisation's history.

Stampy - real name Joseph Garrett - gave the lecture at Dundee's Caird Hall in front of 2,000 schoolchildren.

The creator of the "Let's Play" videos for Minecraft and other games has more than 6.8 million subscribers to his YouTube channel.

His lecture offered an insight into how he makes the videos.

Chris van der Kuyl, convenor of the Royal Society of Edinburgh's (RSE) young people's committee, said Stampy was one of the world's biggest stars on YouTube.

"For under-12s, Stampy's one of the biggest stars of his generation and the RSE could not believe it when he agreed to come and give our Christmas lecture this year," he said.

"In just over 250 years, this is the single biggest event in the RSE's history with the youngest lecturer ever."

Mr Van der Kuyl, who is also chairman of 4J studios that helps develop Minecraft, said the lecture would show young people how careers could be forged in industries that did not exist three or four years ago.

Image copyright Dylan Drummond
Image caption Thousands of school children attended Stampy Cat's lecture in Dundee

Stampy arrived for his pre-lecture media interviews dressed casually in jeans and a signature Stampy Cat T-shirt. His distinctive voice is instantly recognisable to millions of children - and their parents.

His channel has an average of about 150 million views a month, which has given him worldwide fame as well as considerable financial success.

But the 24-year-old, from Hampshire, told BBC Scotland the millions of video views and comments he receives are hard to relate to real life, which is why he welcomes taking part in events like the lecture.

"This is the best part of what I do. The rest of the time I'm at a computer. I'm reading comments and watching numbers but it doesn't feel like real people.

"No matter how big the numbers get, you can't think about it like when you're meeting people one-on-one and they're saying I love the thing you did last week," he said.

"That's the most rewarding part of it."

Stampy said his success was not something that "blew up" overnight, but came after many years of making and uploading videos for YouTube.

Image copyright Stampy Cat
Image caption Stampy Cat uploads one video a day to his channel - mostly about his adventures in Minecraft

"I've been doing Minecraft videos for about three-and-a-half years and it's been a gradual slope up. I've been doing YouTube for a long time before then as well, but no-one was watching."

The 24-year-old puts the videos' continued popularity down to very careful planning. Even when they do seem "wild and crazy", Stampy said he has generally worked out the beginning, middle and end of the story he is trying to tell.

"The good thing about Minecraft is it's just a blank canvas. So for me making videos I can tell whatever story I want," he said.

"Rather than how to play the game it's about inspiring and giving ideas."

Stampy in numbers

  • Age: 24
  • YouTube subscribers: 6,800,000
  • Average monthly YouTube channel views: 150,000,000
  • Total YouTube channel views: 4,000,000,000

The game is being used more and more in schools as an education tool and Microsoft - who bought Minecraft in 2014 from the game's developer Mojang for $2.5bn (£1.7bn) - recently launched a site aimed at teachers to encourage its use in the classroom.

But for the 2,000 school children attending the afternoon lecture - Stampy will give a second one at 19:00 on Monday - it was all about meeting their idol, who was greeted with prolonged screams of excitement.

Ancrum Road Primary pupil Sam, who was in the audience, said: "I think he's really, really famous. I'm super-excited, I can't wait till the show starts. This is a dream come true."

Stampy is reluctant to reveal what his next big project would be, saying only that he and his girlfriend Bethany Bates - known as Squaishey on YouTube - had "lots of plans".

In a comment on the popularity of his videos which could equally apply to his career in a new digital age, he added: "There isn't a script. I'm not reading a script."

The RSE's Christmas lecture will be shown exclusively on the BBC iPlayer on Thursday.

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