BBC announces plans for this year’s Edinburgh Festivals

Programmes will celebrate 75 years of the Edinburgh Festivals, with coverage of this year’s highlights spanning arts, books, comedy and performance

PHOTO: Richard Demarco. Image Credit: Marco Federici


BBC iPlayer

The BBC has announced its plans to mark the Edinburgh Festivals this year across TV, iPlayer, radio and BBC Sounds.

Highlights include:

A new documentary on the history of the Fringe Festival as it marks its 75th anniversary, told by the stars who first found fame at the Edinburgh Fringe

The Edinburgh Military Tattoo returns for its 72nd year and its first with a live audience since the pandemic

A range of Festival-dedicated programming across BBC Scotland’s TV and Radio output, as well as on BBC iPlayer and BBC Sounds

Radio 2, 3, 4 and 5Live broadcast from Edinburgh throughout August including three weeks of Radio 3 programming from the Edinburgh International Festival

A new collaboration between BBC Writersroom and the Popcorn Writing Award

The Fringe, Fame And Me (working title)
1 x 90
BBC Scotland, BBC Two and BBC iPlayer

The Fringe, Fame And Me is the story of how a small Scottish arts festival that began 75 years ago this year became a national institution - a crucible where new stars are forged, careers made, and sometimes, dreams dashed. Told by the stars who first found fame at the Edinburgh Fringe, this is the inside story of what it takes to make a name here, from those who enjoyed overnight success to those who slogged for years to make it. Through their triumphs, favourite jokes, and sometimes painful failures, we’ll discover a hidden history of British comedy - revealing how the gags we find funny and the comedians we love reflect our changing culture.

The Fringe, Fame And Me will broadcast on BBC Scotland, BBC Two and BBC iPlayer in August.

Edinburgh Military Tattoo

This year's Edinburgh Military Tattoo returns for its 72nd year and its first with a live audience since the pandemic. Broadcast on BBC One and BBC iPlayer this August, this year's spectacle, entitled Voices, will be a celebration of expression, giving a stage to performers and acts to share their voice. The show draws inspiration from people across the globe who, despite physical separation, continue to connect and share their voices creatively through spoken word, song, music, and dance - languages common to all.

BBC Scotland at the Edinburgh Festivals

For Edinburgh’s 75th anniversary, BBC Scotland will have the TV debut of two documentaries, showcasing the arts and entertainment legacy of the festivals.

• The BBC Scotland channel will host the TV debut of an acclaimed documentary film, Rico - The Richard Demarco Story, on one of the festival’s most renowned pioneers.

• It will also screen first The Fringe, Fame And Me (working title) - ahead of a UK-wide screening, a new documentary of how a small Scottish arts festival that began 75 years ago this year became a national institution.

• There will be also a new series of Edinburgh Unlocked, fronted by comic Mark Nelson and featuring some of the top names and stories from the Fringe.

• BBC Scotland’s arts strand Loop will also showcase the work of new and emerging artists and performers, including Shona the Musical Choir, a Scottish/African choir based in Edinburgh and first-time Fringe performer Sadiq Ali plus spoken word artist Lucy May.

• As well as dedicated programming, there will also be festival coverage across tv, radio and online news with reports from Arts Correspondent Pauline McLean.

• All the festival programming broadcast on the BBC Scotland channel will be available to view across the UK on BBC iPlayer.

• The BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra will also give the Opening Concert of this year’s Edinburgh International Festival, which will be recorded for transmission at a later date on BBC Radio 3.

The Fringe, Fame And Me (working title): This feature documentary talks to comedians and stars who first found fame at the Fringe, revealing a hidden history of British comedy and gags that reflect cultural changes. A co-production with BBC Two, it will be shown first on the BBC Scotland channel.

Rico - The Richard Demarco Story: As Edinburgh marks the 75th year of the festival, BBC Scotland is to have the TV debut of acclaimed feature documentary Rico - The Richard Demarco Story, celebrating the career of the iconic Scottish artist, promoter and pioneer of the international event.

The award-winning film will for its TV debut be narrated by Emmy and Golden Globe-winner Brian Cox, who is also a contributor in the documentary.

Filmmaker Dr Marco Federici delves deep into the legendary Demarco Archive and creates a 'love letter' to the heyday of the Edinburgh Festivals. Spanning seven turbulent decades, the film uses previously unseen footage and images to chart Demarco's journey in three chapters.

It reflects on his time as Rico (his mother's nickname for him), a prodigious child artist growing up in Portobello during WWII playing football with and painting Sean Connery at the Edinburgh College of Art, before his young adult years as ‘Ricky’ - an Art Master at Duns Scotus Academy, the co-founder of The Traverse Theatre and a groundbreaking gallery director.

And brings his story up-to-date with 'Richard' the man, who into his 90s continues to battle against those he sees as commodifying art… and to ensure his legacy is preserved, “for all to experience and learn from”.

The Richard Demarco Gallery was renowned for introducing the most cutting-edge names from the international avant-garde, bringing many of them to Scotland for the first time. The film also examines the current crisis of the Demarco Archive and his mission to secure a permanent home for his incredible collection of art, writings and photography. The documentary is due to transmit on the BBC Scotland channel on August 4.

Edinburgh Unlocked: A guide to all that’s unmissable at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. Presented from the heart of the city by award-winning comedian, presenter and internet sensation Mark Nelson, Edinburgh Unlocked will get the inside scoop from some big names, showcase some of the hottest rising stars in Scotland, report on the hidden gems and fringe staples, and serve up a satisfying selection of some of the best bits of the festival to savour at home!

From iconic locations across Edinburgh, Mark will be on a mission to unlock the most hilarious comedy, compelling theatre, moving music, spectacular dance and magical moments on offer. The first episode will go out on the BBC Scotland channel on August 11, with two further shows on August 18 and 25.

Loop: Due to be shown on the BBC Scotland channel on August 22, arts strand Loop will feature a range of stories. These include first-time Fringe performer, Sadiq Ali. Growing up as a queer Muslim boy in Edinburgh he led a double life. Between attending the mosque for school to finding the circus where he could live authentically, his life was split in two.

A diagnosis of HIV in 2014 proved a turning point. He knew that he could use the circus discipline to challenge people’s perspectives of a HIV positive person whilst also helping tackle his addiction and make sense of his own story, which in turn has inspired his show, The Chosen Haram, a love story told through the medium of Chinese Pole and physical theatre. The show started as a final-year project and now Sadiq is nervously preparing for his first ever run at the Fringe Festival. Coming from Edinburgh it has been his lifelong dream to perform as part of the festival.

Another focus is on Fringe veteran Shona The Musical, a Scottish/African choir based in Edinburgh, presenting original songs from a cross-cultural love story that transcends racial barriers. Members are drawn from a variety of backgrounds from the Scottish African diaspora, as well as local Scots who have an affinity for African culture.

Spoken-word artist Lucy May will perform her piece, My Skin.

The BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra: The BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra will give the Opening Concert of this year’s Edinburgh International Festival under the baton of its Conductor Emeritus, Sir Donald Runnicles. The concert on 6 August at the Usher Hall, features three exceptional international vocal soloists and the National Girls Youth Choir Of Scotland in a performance of Carl Orff’s choral spectacular, Carmina Burana, which will be recorded for broadcast on BBC Radio 3 at a later date.

BBC Radio Scotland at the Edinburgh Festivals

A packed schedule of news, music, entertainment and festival fun will be coming from BBC Radio Scotland programming from this year’s Spiegeltent venue in St James Quarter.

The city centre location will be hosting a range of programming, largely with audiences, from August 8 to 21.

Kicking off will be flagship news programme Good Morning Scotland on Monday August 8, taking a look, in this special anniversary year, at the festivals’ ongoing legacy and topical issues, with The Afternoon Show providing key festival updates, performances and chat from the across the fortnight and beyond.

Breaking The News will have a comedic dissection of news - from the festivals and otherwise - with BBC Introducing Scotland providing a festival platform to showcase new music talent. Take The Floor and Travelling Folk specials will also be celebrating more traditional music.

Plus, for the first time ever, The Quay Sessions with Roddy Hart will this year be at the BBC festival venue.

Likewise for Out Of Doors and Sunday Mornings with Sally Magnusson, and there will also be a first ever live audience special of hit podcast Sacked In The Morning.

Good Morning Scotland: BBC Radio Scotland’s flagship morning news programme, hosted by Laura Maxwell and Gary Robertson, will have a special programme at the BBC Spiegeltent venue on Monday August 8.

The Afternoon Show: Live audience shows with presenters Janice Forsyth, Grant Stott and Nicola Meighan, showcasing the best of the Edinburgh Festivals, will be held at the BBC venue on August 8, 10, 12, and 17, with a further pre-recorded show on August 19. As well as the audience shows, the BBC Radio Scotland arts & entertainment strand will also have news, updates and interviews across the Festival period.

Take The Floor: A special festival recording of the traditional music show will take place with two Scottish dance bands providing a ceilidh atmosphere on August 10, with the programme transmitting on August 13 at 7pm-9 pm.

Breaking The News: Des Clarke and a host of top comedy talent from BBC Radio Scotland’s multi-award-winning Breaking The News team descend upon The Edinburgh Festival Fringe to satirise the biggest stories making the headlines at home and abroad. Recorded on August 11 and transmitted on Aug 12 at 1.30pm-2.30pm, the first special will have Jim Smith, Sophie Duker, Val McDermid and Andrew Maxwell, while the line-up for the second festival special - recording on August 18 and transmitting on August 19 - will include Sindhu Vee, Neil Delamare, Ayesha Hazarika and Connor Burns.

BBC Introducing Scotland: The home of new music in Scotland, BBC Introducing Scotland will see presenters Phoebe I-H and Shereen Cutkelvin bring their high-energy show to the Edinburgh Festivals for two specials with some of the best unsigned, undiscovered and under-the-radar artists recording in Scotland today. Recording on August 11 and 18, these will be broadcast respectively on August 12 and 19.

Out Of Doors: Presenters Mark Stephen and Euan McIlwraith will have a live show exploring the great Scottish outdoors with a festival twist on August 13 at 6.30am-8am.

Travelling Folk: Anna Massie will showcase live music with Siobhan Miller and her band and piper Malin Lewis amongst others in a special Spiegeltent recording on August 13, which will then air on August 18 at 8pm-10pm.

BBC Upload - 2022 will see BBC Upload represented at the Edinburgh festivals for the second year running. In a live 90-minute long show, Anna Welander will showcase the best content to have come in from listeners via the BBC Upload platform. Expect music, comedy, poetry and more. Performances from the showcase will be broadcast on the Afternoon Show during autumn, ahead of an hour-long Upload Special to be broadcast on BBC Radio Scotland at a later date.

The show will be recorded at the BBC venue on August 13.

Sunday Morning With Sally Magnusson Live: A special live edition will see Sally Magnusson host two hours of stimulating, lively discussion on a range of topical ethical and moral dilemmas facing us today. Featuring some of the best thinkers appearing at this year’s Edinburgh Festivals as well as live music guests, it will be at the Spiegeltent and on BBC Radio Scotland on August 14 at 8am-10am.

The Quay Sessions with Roddy Hart: Roddy Hart brings BBC Radio Scotland’s live music show to the heart of the capital city for the first time to present a special show from the Speigeltent. The show will be recorded on August 14 and is due to broadcast on August 17 at 8pm-10pm.

Sacked In The Morning: Recording on August 14, at the BBC venue, former Scotland and Hearts manager Craig Levein and BBC Scotland presenter Amy Irons bring their hit podcast Sacked In The Morning to the Edinburgh Festivals. For the first time in front of a live audience, SitM will of course still have its usual insight, anecdotes and laughs as Craig, Amy and a sofa packed with guests deliver the ultimate survival guide to football management.

More information and ticket applications for BBC shows at the Spiegeltent at BBC Shows & Tours

BBC Film

BBC Film, the feature-filmmaking arm of the BBC, has backed the Opening Gala film at this year’s Edinburgh International Film Festival.

Aftersun, the debut feature of Edinburgh-born filmmaker Charlotte Wells, will have its UK premiere when it opens the festival on Friday 12 August. The critically acclaimed film won a jury prize in Critics’ Week at this year’s Cannes Film Festival.

Aftersun tells the story of Sophie (played as a young girl by newcomer Frankie Corio, and as an adult by Celia Rowlson-Hall) who reflects on the shared joy and private melancholy of a holiday she took with her father (Paul Mescal) 20 years earlier. Memories real and imagined fill the gaps between miniDV footage, as she tries to reconcile the father she knew with the man she didn't.

The film is written and directed by Charlotte Wells and produced by Adele Romanski, Scottish producer Amy Jackson, Barry Jenkins and Mark Ceryak. It is a Pastel/Unified Theory production presented by BBC Film, BFI and Screen Scotland in association with Tango. The film was also developed with BBC Film.

BBC Radio 2

Good Morning Sunday
Sunday 7 August, 6am-9am

On BBC Radio 2’s Good Morning Sunday, Reverend Kate Bottley and Jason Mohammad will be talking to comedian Lucy Porter about Wake-Up Call, her brand-new show she’ll be performing at this year’s Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

Also available on BBC Sounds live and for 30 days after broadcast.

BBC Radio 3

In Tune
Friday 19 August, 5pm-7pm

BBC Radio 3’s In Tune will be live at the Spiegeltent, with Sean Rafferty presenting live musical performances and guests from the festival.

Radio 3 from Edinburgh International Festival
Monday 8 August-Friday 26 August, 11am-1pm

Every weekday, from Monday 8 to Friday 26 August inclusive, Radio 3 broadcasts live from the Edinburgh International Festival, as some of the biggest names in classical music grace the Queen’s Hall stage. The all-star line-up includes singers Anne Sofie von Otter, Golda Schultz, Magdalena Kozena and Florian Boesch, as well as the Chineke! Chamber Ensemble and the Takacs, and Pavel Haas Quartets.

BBC Radio 4

Front Row
Tuesday 9 and Thursday 11 August, 7.15pm

On Tuesday 9 August, Front Row is in the Spiegeltent at this year’s Edinburgh Festival to celebrate performance, comedy and new writing for theatre. Presenter Kate Molleson is joined by Frank Skinner, whose show, 30 Years Of Dirt, is at the Assembly Roxy. Playwright Uma Nada-Rajah talks about her journey from nursing to the National Theatre of Scotland, as her new play Exodus opens at the Traverse. And festival directors Fergus Linehan - in his last year running the International Festival - and the Fringe’s Shona McCarthy swap notes and celebrate the 75th anniversary of both festivals.

On Thursday 11 August Front Row is at the Edinburgh Festival to discuss some of the top tickets for theatre and film. Presenter Kate Molleson is joined by Arusa Qureshi and Paul English to review Burn, Alan Cummings’ solo dance theatre show which takes a fresh look at the legendary Scottish Poet Robert Burns, and Counting And Cracking, a play written in three languages by S. Shakthidharan, which follows the migration journey of one Sri Lankan-Australian family over four generations. And Kate, Arusa and Paul share their top festival picks.

Loose Ends
Saturday 6 and 13 August, 6.15pm

Loose Ends, Radio 4’s weekly entertainment show, delivers a choice mix of star names, new voices and live music, with two special programmes on August 6 and 13. Presenter Clive Anderson is joined by co-hosts Scottee on Saturday 6 August and Michelle MacManus on Saturday 13 August, with guests including Alan Cumming and Louise Welsh, and music performances including Hamish Hawk and Niteworks.

10 Years Of The Digital Human

Saturday 20 August, 8pm

The Digital Human has something very special planned for this year’s festival. To celebrate 10 years of the award-winning series, Aleks Krotoski takes over Archive On 4 for its first ever live edition, all the way from the heart of Edinburgh. Be prepared for an atmospheric and immersive listening experience as Aleks draws extracts from the series unmatched archive, charting how our digital lives have evolved.

From how we’ve explored our identities online, have connected with one another in ways we couldn’t have imagined and have embraced all these advances, often unquestioningly. With live musical accompaniment from Andrew Wasylyk and special guests providing a rich layer of insights and experience, this will be a unique experiment in the performance of a documentary.

The Edinburgh Comedy Awards Nominee Gala 2022
Thursday 25 August, 11pm

On Thursday 25 August at 11pm, Radio 4 will broadcast The Edinburgh Comedy Awards Nominee Gala 2022. The 40th anniversary of these prestigious awards will recognise the Best Comedy Show and Best Newcomer, and this hour-long programme will feature the outstanding nominees, giving listeners around the UK the chance to hear the cream of this year’s Edinburgh crop. The Gala will be recorded at the Pleasance, one of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe’s iconic comedy venues.

Radio 5 Live

Elis James and John Robins
5, 12, 19, 26 August

5 Live is bringing the Edinburgh Fringe Festival to listeners across the month of August, as Edinburgh Comedy Award-winner John Robins comes live from the heart of the festival every Friday afternoon from 2pm. With co-host and fellow comedian Elis James in London, Robins will be reporting back from the world's largest arts festival, as he runs an open-door guest policy of comedians, friends and performers, who'll be popping by for a chat across the two-hour show.

BBC Sounds

Wheel Of Misfortune
Available on BBC Sounds from 23 August

BBC Sounds’ Wheel of Misfortune will record in front of a live audience from 7-8pm on the 16 August at the BBC venue. Presenter Alison Spittle and her guest co-host Josie Long will present the award nominated podcast that turns our most embarrassing moments into hilarious anecdotes. The audience will also get the opportunity to share their own best worst stories on the night, with a very a special guest to be announced.

Tickets will available via BBC Shows & Tours.

This special episode of Wheel Of Misfortune will be available on BBC Sounds from 23 August.

Bad People - The Oversteegen Sisters: Is It Ever OK To Kill?
Available on BBC Sounds from 1 September.

From grisly murders to sadistic rituals, no topic is off limits for psychologist Dr Julia Shaw and comedian Sofie Hagen, as they discuss some of the most heinous and disturbing criminal cases in modern history, asking the difficult questions about the psychology that motivated them.

During the German occupation of the Netherlands two shy teenage sisters, Truus and Freddie Oversteegen, were recruited into the Resistance. They quickly graduated from circulating illegal newspapers, to seducing Nazis and German collaborators in expensive bars, before luring them into the woods… For this special episode recorded in front of a live audience at the Edinburgh Fringe 2022, Sofie Hagen and Dr Julia Shaw discuss whether it’s ever okay to kill, and how two quiet young sisters made the transition from school girls to executioners.

Tickets are available from BBC Shows & Tours

BBC Writersroom

This year marks the first year of a collaboration between the Popcorn Writing Award and BBC Writersroom who will be reading the shortlisted plays and taking part in the judging committee. The award was set up in 2019 by Popcorn Group and champions brave and imaginative writing at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. It is the only award of its kind, awarding a prize fund of £6,000 to the writers directly, allowing them the financial space and time to write something new.

Entries for plays that will be performed at one of the partnering venues (Assembly, Gilded Balloon, Pleasance, Summerhall, Traverse, Underbelly, The Space UK) closed on 24 June and the winner will be announced at an event in Edinburgh on 25 August.

Source BBC iPlayer

July 20, 2022 5:28am ET by BBC iPlayer  


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