JACK Whitehall presents this affectionate history of the Edinburgh Festival which began in 1947 in response to the horror of war.

In a world divided by conflict “the one language we had” was the language of the arts, so the Festival was created as a way to unite people, as “a triumph of idealism”, trying to bring light and hope back to a battered world. It “reminded people what they fought the war for – civilisation”.

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But Edinburgh was quite a conservative city at the time, and it had no opera house or modern art gallery “and people were grey with exhaustion … it must have been a hard sell to the people of Edinburgh to tell them they were going to put on a party and invite the world!”.

We hear of the panic to accommodate the visitors. There was nowhere to put them: should they be housed in sleeper trains or on a cruise ship in Leith?

Stephen Fry, Michael Palin, Ruby Wax and Alan Cumming contribute their fond memories of performing in Edinburgh.


THIS is for those who can’t get to Edinburgh – or who simply dare not attend the Festival as the crowds unnerve and irritate them. From what I’ve heard, the latter group is mainly composed of local residents who can no longer get to Tesco without being assailed by clowns, drag queens, unicyclists and mime artists. For those disgruntled folk, this programme is for you.

It’s a televised performance of one of the Festival’s plays, from the theatrical group Eggs Collective.

It stars three glamorous women, Sara, Lowrie and Leonie, on a loud night out in a Manchester pub where you can “watch friendships, politics and pints collide”.

The play is filmed in a real pub in front of a live audience, and tries to bring the same raucous atmosphere into your living room as the three women are “hell bent” on having a good night out.

However, it never loses sight of the fact that beneath the cheap booze and packets of crisps are true and vital friendships.


CORMORAN Strike is a ruffled, weary, disorganised private detective, and when a chirpy office temp turns up at his office he gets even more confused. As she starts straightening his desk and sniffing the milk, someone comes into the office seeking help on a case.

The client’s glamorous sister, Lula Landry, is dead. She was found face-down in the posh London street where she lived. The inquest said it was a very obvious suicide, but her brother can’t accept it. She was young and beautiful, had a dazzling career and was in high spirits – why would she kill herself? He lays a thousand bucks on the table and begs the grizzled Strike to just look through the file and see if he agrees with the official verdict.

This new three-part drama is based on the best-selling novel by Robert Galbraith, the secretive crime writer who was unmasked in the press as JK Rowling.


FIVE past nine is clearly when the big battle of the dramas takes place. STV’s rival to the JK Rowling thriller is more flouncing from Jenna Coleman as the young and pretty Queen Victoria.

The second series opens after she has given birth to her first child, and the Queen is fidgety and restless. Everyone is wrapping her in blankets and trying and shield her, but she’s keen to get back to work. She’s terribly modern, you see?

As the Queen shows everyone she’s not a faint weakling, the men try to take charge of the country. She won’t tolerate their mansplaining and wants to be back at the heart of the action which, at this point, means a nasty war for Britain in Afghanistan. She thinks she’s being patronised by Albert and the Prime Minister who are trying to keep distressing news of the conflict from her.

Diana Rigg joins the cast in this new series as the Duchess of Buccleuch who’ll support Victoria against all those tender, patronising men.