Edinburgh Festivals’ 70th anniversary year is to be celebrated by the BBC.
“Its enduring vivacity as an international event in Scotland enjoys a cultural reputation of extraordinary magnitude and I’m delighted that the BBC is at its heart. The BBC at Edinburgh Festivals 2017 is a dynamic mix which celebrates the past 70 years and the present.” – Donalda MacKinnon, Director of BBC Scotland
Among the top talent to be featured will be Sir Ian McKellen, Daniel Radcliffe, Karen Cargill, Stephen Fry, Aditi Mittal, Sir James MacMillan, Val McDermid, Joshua Bell, Andreas Haefliger, Jack Whitehall, Nicholas Parsons, Athena Kugblenu, and Paul Merton.
As well as a raft of returning and new dedicated programming from Edinburgh, across TV, radio, and online, there will be special highlights to mark the festivals’ 70th anniversary, including Festival Tales: Edinburgh At 70 on BBC Two. Presented by actor and comedian Jack Whitehall the production will explore seven decades of the world’s largest arts festival and its impact on contemporary culture since its inception in 1947. Guests on the show include Sir Ian McKellen, Daniel Radcliffe and Stephen Fry.
Kirsty Wark will present Welcome To Edinburgh on BBC Two and there will be a further BBC Two compilation of some of the best music and performance from this year’s Edinburgh Festival.
Charlie Stayt will anchor a special BBC Breakfast broadcast in Edinburgh on the opening day of the season of performance while over on radio Steve Wright In The Afternoon will be returning this year after the show’s debut at the festival in 2016. He will be joined by The Michael Ball Show and The Radio 2 Arts Show, presented by Jonathan Ross, will feature festival specials across August.
Other hightlights include James Naughtie fronting a documentary Nothing Short of a Miracle for Radio 3, which will look at the EIF’s history and founding, with archive material and new interviews to trace an oral history of the early years of the festival. Also to mark Radio 3’s longtime association with the EIF, 12 lunchtime concerts taken from the BBC archive will feature performances from some of the finest artists ever to appear at the EIF from Fritz Wunderlich to Jessye Norman.
Radio 4’s longest running quiz show Round Britain Quiz marks its 70th birthday this year, and celebrates with a visit to another 70 year old institution, the Edinburgh Fringe. While over on the BBC World Service the international impact of the Edinburgh Festival will be reflected on in programming such as The Arts Hour on Tour, Global Beats, the 15th anniversary of the World Book Club and A Night Of International Comedy, which will feature some of the big emerging names from across the globe.
There will also be coverage of the Festivals across news and magazine programmes and the hugely popular Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo will be broadcast on BBC One. Radio 4 favourites Just A Minute – presented by Nicholas Parsons and featuring Paul Merton, Susan Calman and Fred MacAulay – and Front Row will also be Edinburgh based while the Funny From the Fringe daily podcast is back after its debut success in 2016.
“This is a special year for the Edinburgh Festivals and for the BBC at the Edinburgh Festivals. Edinburgh has been the world’s stage, every summer since 1947 and we have a programme of coverage across all platforms on television, on radio, online and on social media which will reflect its long-held standing as a crucial cornerstone of the arts which has evolved and developed and fuelled many elements of entertainment across the board.” – Donalda MacKinnon, Director of BBC Scotland