BBC flies flagships at Edinburgh

A raft of flagship BBC arts, comedy and radio programming is set to go out across the country from the Edinburgh festivals this year.

Television’s The Culture Show, The Review Show, plus two hour-long stand-up specials from Edinburgh, will be joined by BBC Radio 4’s Just A Minute, Front Row, and Loose Ends.

BBC Radio Scotland’s Radio Cafe arts strand becomes dedicated to Edinburgh as the Festival Cafe with additional Book Cafe specials. Flagship magazine show MacAulay & Co with Fred MacAulay will also move to the city from Glasgow, taking up residence in the Edinburgh International Conference Centre for two weeks.

There will be a slate of other programming across BBC Radio 1, 2 ,3, 4, 5 Live, 6 Music and Radio Nan Gaidheal, as well as dedicated online coverage. Among the talent broadcasting radio shows from Edinburgh are Scott Mills, Nick Grimshaw, Richard Bacon, Claudia Winkleman, Nicholas Parsons, Arthur Smith and Clive Anderson.

BBC Two’s flagship arts magazine shows – The Culture Show and The Review Show – will this year be working in tandem to provide a brand new package of coverage for the Edinburgh festivals in August.

For three weeks, the two programmes will move from their base in BBC Scotland’s Glasgow headquarters to Edinburgh. They will work together to provide up-to-the-minute reports on The Culture Show, with festival veteran Sue Perkins as the lead presenter, and Kirsty Wark chairing lively topical discussions of the big highlights of the festivals on The Review Show, including a Book Festival Special co-presented with Ian Rankin.

The arrangement will mean that the two series will be able to offer a more in-depth perspective of the major highlights but also showcase a greater range of activity from the UK’s largest arts festival.

The first Culture Show special from Edinburgh this year will be reviewing major cornerstones of the festival over the years including the famous Spiegeltent, Assembly Rooms, Gilded Balloon, and the comedy awards as well as a feature piece on the new National Theatre of Scotland’s Caledonia production. Over the course of three weeks, both The Culture Show and The Review Show will be covering a range of highlights. Also from Edinburgh, Scots comedian Kevin Bridges will host two hour-long comedy specials.

This coverage will also be augmented by news across television, radio and online, as well as a dedicated coverage of the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo for network BBC One and a BBC Scotland special programme, Tattoo At 60.

Radio 4 returns to the Pleasance for the Edinburgh Festival Fringe with a selection of its best comedy and arts programmes, special Fringe shows and an opportunity to hear and ask advice and tips from BBC Radio Comedy writers and producers on what it takes to write radio comedy and get it on-air.

Joining Radio 4’s comedy line-up in Edinburgh this year will be:

Arthur Smith, in a special festival edition of his comedy and music show from the Pleasance, Arthur Smith’s Edinburgh Bash; Ed Reardon, Radio 4’s celebrated impoverished author, presents his favourite prose and poetry, written by himself in An Audience With Ed Reardon; award-winning comedian, Andrew Lawrence, records two 15-minute monologues in which he skirts around some of life’s big questions, without drawing any useful conclusions, in The Non-Conformist’s Guide To Civic Responsibility; Ali McGregor, Australian cabaret star and all-round diva, hosts a special cabaret show – Curiosity Killed The Cabaret – featuring the best cabaret and burlesque acts appearing at this year’s Fringe.

And regular favourites from Radio 4 include: Just A Minute – Nicholas Parsons will chair two festival editions of one of the listeners’ favourite panel games; Mark Lawson will present Radio 4’s week night arts show Front Row, reporting on the hits, misses and talking points of the festival so far and Clive Anderson will host a glorious mix of chat, comedy and music on Loose Ends. Comic Fringes returns with three new short stories told by three leading comedians for Radio 4’s Afternoon Readings. Radio 4’s full guest line-up in Edinburgh will be available shortly.

On other BBC radio networks Radio 2’s The Arts Show with Claudia Winkleman will transmit live from Edinburgh and 5 Live will have Richard Bacon broadcasting from the city, as will 6 Music (Saturday 7 August).

Radio 3 will broadcast extensive coverage of the 2010 Edinburgh International Festival, with more than 20 concerts recorded for broadcast, including three from the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra.

From 24 August 2010, Radio 3 broadcasts chamber music from Edinburgh over three weeks in the Radio 3 Lunchtime Concert. Highlights include a recital by soprano Magdalena Kozená (25 August) with music by Italian and Spanish composers, including d’India, Caccini and de Ribayaz; baritone Gerald Finley with an entertaining selection of music from Europe and the United States (3 September); and pianist Steven Osborne with an eclectic programme ranging from Scott Joplin to Ravel (10 September).

Radio 3’s Performance On 3’s coverage of the festival begins on 13 September with the festival’s opening concert – John Adams’s oratorio El Niño with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and a stellar cast including Jessica Rivera and Sir Willard White. Further highlights include a recital by mezzo-soprano Susan Graham in a sumptuous programme of music by American composers alongside songs by Mozart and Mahler (21 September); and performances from the Cleveland Orchestra conducted by Franz Welser-Möst (20 September) and the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra conducted by Mariss Jansons (22 September).

The Early Music Show will broadcast performances by Florilegium and Ensemble Elyma, tracing the baroque-influenced early music of Latin America (18 and 19 September).

Radio 1 is returning to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 2010, with DJ Scott Mills facing his toughest challenge yet in front of an entertainment-hungry audience. Following the huge success of last year’s Scott Mills The Musical, which played to a full house over three nights and received rave reviews, this time Scott and his team must write and perform their own one-man show. From 16-20 August, Scott’s Radio 1 show (4-7pm) will be live from Edinburgh as the team each take it in turns to perform their one-man shows in the evenings.

Over the next few weeks, Scott and the team will be asking listeners for ideas and inspiration on how to entertain an audience on their own.

This year, Radio 1’s Nick Grimshaw will also be live from the Edinburgh Fringe and each night, when Scott and the team come off stage, they will go straight onto Nick’s show (10pm-12midnight) to tell him how they got on.

Andrea Miller, Head of Factual at BBC Scotland, said: “The Edinburgh festivals are the biggest, most extensive and varied arts event in the country and our coverage across so many platforms and outlets reflects that.

“We have an ongoing commitment to the Edinburgh festivals, which is not only reflected in dedicated programming but in news and magazine programme coverage, some of which are already starting to carry feature items.

“This year with the rebirth of The Review Show, being broadcast from Scotland, we are able to offer a unique partnership with The Culture Show to showcase and offer a wider arts perspective of the most exciting performances and exhibitions – the buzz of the festivals.”


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