BBC plans to provide a 'fantastic showcase' of talent from Edinburgh festivals

Paul Merton, Chelsea Clinton and Nicola Benedetti are among those who will feature in the BBC's coverage of the Edinburgh festivals this year.

BBC chiefs said their coverage would allow audiences from all corners of the UK to "feel the festival buzz", showcasing top comedy, arts, writing and music.

Broadcasts will come from 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 and a radio programme from the heart of the Book Festival.

Highlights include the launch of the 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.

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On BBC Two Scotland and BBC iPlayer, Susan Calman will bring some of the best shows and new talent together from this year's Edinburgh Fringe Festival for "irreverent chat and laughs" while throughout August, Radio 3 will broadcast a series of live concerts from the Queen's Hall with performances from artists including violinist Nicola Benedetti,

Jonty Claypole, director of BBC Arts, said: "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 "

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.

On BBC Radio Scotland the shows 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 will present two special shows from the Book Festival and Sunday Mornings With... will feature interviews with writers including Chelsea Clinton.

Radio 4 will broadcast five unique interpretations of freedom by "some of our most captivating literary voices" while also on Radio 4 there will be a double recording of the comedy show Just A Minute with panellists including Paul Merton.

Gareth Hydes, commissioning editor, Radio, Music and Events, at BBC Scotland, said: "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."