Arts & Culture: BBC confirm 2018 Edinburgh Festival coverage.

Top comedy, arts, writing and music - as well as showcases for new fresh talent - will be at the heart of the BBC’s Edinburgh Festivals coverage in 2018 across TV, radio and online.

Frank Skinner, Katherine Parkinson, Nish Kumar, Susan Calman, Nicola Benedetti, the Takács Quartet, Paul Merton, Steve Punt, Hugh Dennis, Viv Groskop, Rory Bremner, Ayesha Hazarika, Lost Voice Guy and Chelsea Clinton make up just some of this year’s talent line-up.

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Broadcasts will come from right across the city with a brand new pop-up radio studio in Summerhall, recordings at Usher Hall, The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo highlights from Edinburgh Castle, an eclectic radio programme from the heart of the Book Festival, as well as the BBC Hub within the stunning grounds of George Heriot’s School on Lauriston Place.

Highlights from Edinburgh Festivals 2018 include:

  • The launch of BBC Arts first-time playwright initiative, DEBUT, which premieres the work of four writers who have never written for the stage before - Bim Adewunmi, Katherine Parkinson, Beryl Richards and Frank Skinner.
  • In Edinburgh Nights on BBC Two, comedian Nish Kumar curates the definitive guide to Edinburgh 2018 with three themed shows focussing on Comedy, Theatre & Books and Ideas to provide an insider’s view of the Festivals.
  • Over on BBC Two Scotland and BBC iPlayer, Susan Calman brings some of the very best shows and new talent together from this year’s Edinburgh Fringe Festival for irreverent chat and laughs.
  • Eurovision Young Musicians 2018 comes to Scotland for the first time ever, as young artists from 18 countries across Europe, battle it out in the hope to be crowned winner.
  • BBC Radio 3 - the official broadcaster of the Edinburgh International Festival - is launching a new series of audio dramas in front of an audience in a specially created pop-up radio drama studio at Summerhall. The studio will feature a mixture of performed works building upon the rich legacy of audio drama that BBC Radio 3, and the Third Programme before it, are proud to have brought to audiences for over 70 years.
  • Throughout August, Radio 3 will also broadcast a series of live concerts from the Queen’s Hall, launched by Philadelphia’s Dover Quartet, as well as performances from artists including violinist Nicola Benedetti, the Takács Quartet, pianists Marc-André Hamelin and Ronald Brautigam and cellist Jean-Guihen Queyras.
  • Radio 2’s Jo Whiley and Simon Mayo and Sara Cox take their shows on the road this summer to broadcast live from the BBC Blue Tent.
  • Radio 4 will broadcast five unique interpretations of freedom by some of our most captivating literary voices in The Freedom Papers, in collaboration with Edinburgh International Book Festival.
  • Also on Radio 4 there will be a double recording of the comedy classic Just A Minute with panellists including Paul Merton. The Now Show returns for a one-off Fringe recording with satirical stalwarts Steve Punt and Hugh Dennis.
  • On BBC Radio Scotland; Breaking The News, Stop The Press, Stephen Jardine and Travelling Folk will be making festival appearances at the BBC Hub while The Afternoon Show will take up residence for three weeks. Edi Stark presents two special shows from the Book Festival and Sunday Mornings With… features interviews with writers including Chelsea Clinton.
  • BBC Radio Cymru presenter and Fringe veteran Tudur Owen returns to Edinburgh this August with his brand new stand up show - Undemanding
  • Radio 1 launches a series of hilarious new podcasts with comedians including Jen Wakefield, the Birthday Girl comedians and Riyah Khan and Alix Fox

There will also be coverage of the Festivals across news and magazine programmes, including BBC Breakfast which comes live from the festival as it opens on August 3, as well as the hugely popular The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo on BBC One.

Radio 3’s In Tune broadcasts live from the BBC Blue Tent; Radio 4’s Fresh From The Fringe, and Front Row come from the fringe with guest presenters including writer and comedian Viv Groskop and Kirsty Lang among the mix. Andrew Marr presents a special edition of Start The Week at the Edinburgh Book Festival, and BBC World Service brings The Arts Hour On Tour from the festival with Nikki Bedi and guests.

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Jonty Claypole, Director of BBC Arts, says: “Every August the city of Edinburgh is transformed into one of the most creative, dynamic and eclectic arts destinations in the world. I’m therefore delighted that BBC Arts is, once again, helping to bring the best of the Festival to audiences right across the UK. And, for the first time, we’re supporting four talented writers to develop their writing in new ways through a series of new plays at the Fringe in addition to a new series of audio dramas performed in front of an audience in a specially created radio drama studio at Summerhall. I hope that this year’s coverage will allow audiences from all corners of the UK to feel the festival buzz, whether they experience it live in person, on television, radio or online."

Gareth Hydes, Commissioning Editor, Radio, Music and Events, at BBC Scotland, says: “BBC Scotland, BBC Radio Scotland and BBC Alba are providing a fantastic showcase of the talent, the diversity and the fun of the Festival for 2018 with something for everyone to enjoy whether you are there in the city with us or across the country. Edinburgh Festivals marked a major landmark in 2017 with the celebration of their 70th year and we’re delighted to be joining them again in their eighth decade.”

It all kicks off this Friday, 3 August.