Can’t afford the tickets? Can’t be bothered queuing up with 200 Norwegian backpackers? Just bone idle? Catch the Festival and Fringe on TV instead suggests Tom Lappin, sizing up what’s on offer.
Remember where you read it first. 1992 could be the Festival that relaunched the career of a man who. back in the 705. was a national institution. That‘s if the designs of BBC Scotland's Edinburgh Nights team go according to plan. They‘ve chosen the first edition of their Festival special series to track down the legendary John Noakes. he of ‘down Shep‘ fame.
The reason for their quest is Ben Miller‘s tribute to the great man Gone With Noakes. performed at this year‘s Fringe. ‘We traced John to Majorca.’ reveals producer Douglas Mackinnon. ‘where he runs boat trips. He‘s got a new dog called Boris now. a dachsund. and we have pictures ofJohn making his favourite food. which he calls Blue Pizza . . .‘
If this all sounds faintly preposterous (especially when Mackinnon explains that the resulting film was lost in the post and ended up in Zagreb. before being rescued) it reﬂects a rather more light-hearted approach than in previous years to the well-nigh impossible task of getting the Edinburgh Festival and Fringe onto the small screen. ‘We‘ve got a piece on Cristina Hoyes.‘ adds head of arts John Archer. ‘the flamenco
dancer who was in the Olympic opening ceremony. But we can‘t afford her horse. so she I might just end up on a BBC Scotland bike.‘
The ten programmes divide up into six mixed
magazine format shows and four single subject
performances or profiles. featuring the Chinese State Circus. veteran film director Sam Fuller. comedienne Louise Rennison and Mike Oldfield‘s Tubular Bells ll. ‘The Mike Oldfield music is very different from the original.‘ says Archer. ‘but there are echoes in there. It‘s a bit like meeting up with an old friend again after twenty years. ‘Not if you were too young to be their friend in the first place.” suggests Mackinnon. having no truck with any old hippie nonsense.
Edinburgh Nights‘s network audience means they have to address the viewer in Bexhill as well as Paisley. but this doesn‘t present any problems. ‘lt‘s an International Festival we're covering. after all.‘ stresses Archer. ‘lfsomething‘s Scottish.
that’s all well and good.‘ adds Mackinnon. ‘but our
main criterion when deciding what to cover was how brilliant it was.‘
Scottish Television’s Festival show doesn‘t enjoy the network space and free-ranging magazine format of Edinburgh Nights. going out on
Saturday nights just before midnight. The
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less-than-snappily titled Craig, MillarAnd Cosgrove At The Festival will be recorded on the
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7 .4 / .. . Alison Craig. one at Scottish Television's trio oi presenters previous Friday evenings and edited on Saturday morning. ‘It‘s a studio-based cntertainment.‘ says producer Henry Eagles. ‘which will have some chat in it. some music. some stand-up. There may be some stuff from outside crews. but essentially the programme will be happening in the studio. We won't be bringing in scenes from plays or anything.‘
The three presenters. Alison Craig from Radio Forth. Curly Watts lookalike John Millar from The Daily Record and Stuart ‘PoMo‘ (‘osgrove will provide for a varied mix of material. "The three will do different types ofthings.‘ Eagles explains. ‘John will concentrate on the Film Festival side. Stuart will be doing a lot of the heavier interviews and chat. and Alison will be doing all sorts ofstuff. [don‘t see them filling any particular marked-out roles. but it‘s handy to have three presenters if you‘ve got the studio space because you can move the show round quite swiftly.‘
Eagles stresses that the programme will have the scope to react to emerging hits on the Fringe. but obviously with only three shows it will be somewhat overshadowed by the BBC coverage. A partial means of making up the deficit will be the regular Festival inserts in Scotland Today and coverage in NB where Allan Campbell will be reporting from the Film Festival. while Janice Forsyth and Bryan Burnett comb the Fringe. Meanwhile back at Edinburgh Nights. someone has just asked. ‘whatever happened to Lesley Judd?’
Edinburgh Nights is on BBC2. Mondays. Wednesdays and Fridays at I] . 15pm from Monday 17. Craig. Miller And Cosgrove At The Festival is on Scottish on Saturdays front the I 51/1 at 11.50pm.