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17 Familiar TV Faces Appearing at the 2018 Edinburgh Festival Fringe

Some of the familiar faces have been on our TV screens for decades, others have appeared in soaps, many have appeared on reality television and one bloke is the voice of Love Island.


The Edinburgh Festival Fringe is the single biggest celebration of arts and culture on the planet and this year alongside the acts old and new honing their craft are a number of familiar telly faces.


To save you having to spend hours flicking through the 450-page programme to find out who they are, I've picked 18 shows you're almost certainly going to want to see when you're up there.



Blue Peter Presenters


60 years ago on 16th October 1958, Blue Peter sailed onto our TV screens and over 5,000 episodes later, an elite group of ex-presenters have been brought together by former Blue Peter host Tim Vincent for what promises to be a blisteringly funny and poignant tribute to a much-loved TV family favourite.


Joining Tim on stage for the very first time will be Janet Ellis, Peter Duncan, Peter Purves and Mark Curry as well as some surprise celebrity guests.


Read my interview with Tim Vincent here.


Once Seen on Blue Peter - Makes, Bakes and Outtakes runs from 4th - 26th August at 2:40pm at Assembly Rooms (Ballroom). Book tickets here.



Courtney Act


Shane Gilberto Jenek, better known under the stage name Courtney Act, is an Australian drag queen, pop singer, entertainer and reality television personality, who first came to the public's attention on Australian Idol in 2003 then on RuPaul's Drag Race in 2014 and earlier this year she won the hearts of a nation by winning Celebrity Big Brother in the UK.


This August, she will be bringing her latest tour Under the Covers to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe for 13 nights.


Read my interview with Courtney here.


Courtney Act: Under the Covers runs from 3rd - 6th, 9th - 12th, 14th - 18th August at Underbelly's Circus Hub (The Beauty). Book tickets here.



Daliso Chaponda


Daliso Chaponda rose to fame last year on Britain's Got Talent where he was Amanda Holden's Golden Buzzer act and finished runner-up behind winner Tokio Myers.


This Summer he'll be bringing successful sold-out debut tour What the African Said to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe for eight consecutive nights.


Daliso Chaponda: What the African Said runs from 19th - 26th August at 7:30pm at Gilded Balloon at the Museum. Book tickets here.



Esther Rantzen


Dame Esther Rantzen is the star of That's Life, Strictly Come Dancing and I'm a Celebrity and many more and an undeniable broadcasting legend and national treasure.


She's also well-known for her campaigning having founded Childline and The Silver Line and was awarded an OBE for services to broadcasting, a CBE for services to children and a DBE for services to children and older people.


For three consecutive nights, she'll be joined on stage at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe by her daughter, journalist Rebecca Wilcox, as they discuss careers and family ties. They'll be offering audience members the chance to get up close with anecdotes from over 50 years in broadcasting.


Esther Rantzen: That's Life runs from 10th - 12th August at 1:30pm at Gilded Balloon Teviot (Debating Hall). Book tickets here.



Helen Lederer


Best-known for playing dippy Catriona in hit sitcom Absolutely Fabulous, Helen Lederer was part of a group of early eighties comedians, including Dawn French, Jennifer Saunders, Ben Elton and the late Rik Mayall who made their names at London’s Comedy Store.


Recently Helen appeared on The Real Full Monty: Ladies Night and Celebrity Big Brother and she's about to spill the beans about that house, stand-up comedy, being fat and wheezy, in her long-awaited return to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.


And for five consecutive nights towards the end of August, she'll be bringing her sell-out London chat format to the Fringe for the first time. Previous guests have included Joe Lycett, Jeremy Hardy, Kimberley Walsh and Michael Crick.


Helen Lederer: I Might as Well Say It runs from 3rd - 25th August at 5:05pm at the Underbelly, Bristo Square. Book tickets here.


Helen Lederer Asks Why The Fuss? runs from 21st - 25th August at 2:45pm at Laughing Horse @ The Pear Tree. Free show, no tickets needed.



Iain Stirling


I know this article is called "Familiar TV Faces" but thanks to being THE voice of Love Island, Iain Stirling has seen a meteoric rise to fame since last year's series and as a result hasn't got the time to commit to a full run at Edinburgh this year.


But fear not, because he will still be performing at the Fringe for three consecutive nights and each night he'll be bring 10 of the Fringe's best comedians with him. With such a limited run and Love Island being such a huge hit I'd book early to avoid disappointment.


Iain (Stirling) Does Jokes (with Pals) runs from 22nd - 24th August at 10pm at Pleasance at the EICC. Book tickets here.



Jamie Laing & Francis Boulle


OK, so these are technically two different TV names, but for the purposes of this I'm treating Made In Chelsea stars Jamie Laing and Francis Boulle as one.


Towards the end of 2017, Made In Chelsea stars and best friends Jamie Laing and Francis Boulle launched a podcast called Private Parts and off the back of its success, this autumn will see the pair bring their podcast to theatres as part of a nationwide tour


But before then they'll be spending three consecutive nights at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe revealing details of their private lives, including gossip from on and off screen.


Private Parts runs from 23rd - 25th August at 3:30pm at the Underbelly, George Square (Udderbelly). Book tickets here.



Jason Donovan


For five consecutive nights at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, Neighbours legend and former I'm A Celebrity and Strictly Come Dancing contestant Jason Donovan will be sharing moments from the last four decades that he wasn't able to tell us about on daytime television!


Jason has many guises. He's a star of stage and screen, he's radio DJ, an actor, a performer, a friend, a father, husband, brother and son. In this one hour show he'll be telling audiences all about the highlights and challenges, the opportunities and obstacles of being all those things with a few of the songs we all love thrown in for good measure!


Jason Donovan and His Amazing Midlife Crisis runs from 22nd - 26th August at 3pm at Assembly George Square Gardens, George Square. Book tickets here.



John Partridge


Best-known for playing Christian in EastEnders as well as appearing in Celebrity Big Brother John Partridge is making a very open and honest appearance at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.


John has described Stripped as a new beginning, a reintroduction of himself. The one-hour show is his attempt at shedding those skins, saying goodbye to part of himself and embracing someone he knew a long time ago.


Through film, music, poetry, song and dance, he'll be sharing his story - from boy to man, sexuality, sobriety, success and love and loss as well as asking the audience to consider their story.


John Partridge: Stripped runs from 1st - 26th August (Not 8th, 13th and 20th) at 6:30pm at Assembly Checkpoint, 3 Bristo Place. Book tickets here.



Julie Hesmondhalgh


Julie Hesmondhalgh is best-known for playing the loveable Hayley Cropper in Coronation Street for 16 years between 1998 and 2014 and has since appeared in many shows including Cucumber, Inside No. 9, Happy Valley and of course the final series of Broadchurch.


This August Julie will be appearing at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in The Greatest Play in the History of the World..., a love story, set on Preston Road, and also in space and in time.


A man wakes in the middle of the night to discover that the world has stopped. Through the crack in his bedroom curtains, he can see no signs of life at all, other than a light in the house opposite where a woman in an over-sized Bowie t-shirt stands, looking back at him.


Read my interview with Julie Hesmondhalgh here.


The Greatest Play in the History of the World... runs from 2nd - 26th August (Not 6th, 13th and 20th) at Traverse Theatre (Traverse 2). Book tickets here.



Lost Voice Guy


Lee Ridley aka Lost Voice Guy has had one hell of a year. His Radio 4 series Ability was a huge success and will be returning for a second run and just last month he became the latest winner of Britain's Got Talent with 21% of the public vote.


In his sixth Edinburgh show in as many years, Inspiration Porn, audiences will find out why he doesn't want to be an inspiration because of the inspirational memes that are everywhere these days and he'll be giving his reasons as to why he thinks they're bollocks.


He may not be able to talk but he definitely has something to say and his comedy will leave you speechless.


I'm sure it'll come as no surprise to you that his entire run has already sold out with almost two months to go! But don't worry because he is adding extra performance so if you haven't already secured your ticket you could still be lucky.


Lost Voice Guy: Inspiration Porn runs from 1st - 26th August (Not 13th) at 4pm at Gilded Balloon Teviot. SOLD OUT but extra performances will be being added here.



Michelle McManus


In 2003 Michelle McManus became the second winner of Pop Idol and went on to have two top 20 singles including a number one as well as a number three album.


For the last few years Michelle has brought her one-woman show Reloaded to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, and this year is no different.


The hour-long show is an upfront take on life since winning Pop Idol told through the eyes of her delusional alter ego who truly believes she is an international megastar.


Of course there'll be a few of her all-time favourite songs thrown in there for good measure so expect the likes of Let’s Get the Party Started and A Little Respect.


Michelle McManus: Reloaded runs from 3rd - 26th August (Not 13th - 14th & 20th - 21st) at 6:10pm at The Stand Comedy Club. Book tickets here.



Rachel Parris


Rachel Parris is a familiar face on the circuit and in Edinburgh but she rose to fame earlier this year thanks to the second series of The Mash Report on BBC2 thanks to a routine about Piers Morgan's exclusive UK television interview with Donald Trump.


For three nights this August, Rachel will be presenting a late-night jamboree of tunes including some of her own comic anthems plus a selection of incredible guests from across the comedy and cabaret circuit. She'll also be returning as part of Austentatious for ten consecutive nights.


Read my review of Rachel's previous Fringe show, Keynote, here.


Rachel Parris' Musical Comedy Club runs 14th and 21st August at 11pm at the Pleasance Dome (QueenDome) and 23rd August at 11:20pm at the Pleasance Dome (KingDome). Book tickets here.



Robert Bathurst


Star of ITV's Cold Feet, Robert Bathurst will be spending this august up in Edinburgh in The Song of Lunch, a hilarious and poignant drama of a disastrous attempt to rekindle lost love.


This bittersweet tragicomedy of love, loss and Chianti is set in a Soho Italian restaurant and Christopher Reid's lyrical narrative is exquisitely intertwined with glorious animations by Charles Peattie.


The Song of Lunch runs from 1st - 27th August (Not 13th) at 2:20pm at the Pleasance Courtyard (Forth). Book tickets here.



Robert White


Tank-top loving and piano-playing comedian Robert White rose to fame last month on Britain's Got Talent and very quickly won the hearts of the nation becoming the first Asperger, dyslexic, cross lateral, gay, quarter-Welsh, webbed-toed comedian in the competition.


His unique blend of music and stand-up saw him finish second in the competition with just 3.8% between him and this year's winner, fellow comedian Lost Voice Guy.


So if you're heading up to Edinburgh this August and want to see him live, I suggest booking sooner rather than later as he's close to selling out his three-night run.


Robert White and His Particularly Silly Organ runs from 8th - 10th August at 6:30pm at the Pleasance Courtyard (Pleasance Two). Book tickets here.



Russell Howard


Russell Howard's a very busy man. On TV he's currently taking part in Taskmaster for Dave, he's just finished a second series of Russell Howard & Mum: Road Trip for Comedy Central and has another two series on the way plus another series of The Russell Howard Hour on the way for Sky One.


Where he's going to fit in a tour I'll never know but for 12 consecutive nights in August he'll be testing out new material at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and it's only going to cost you £5... so it's no surprise that most dates have already sold out!


Russell Howard: Work in Progress runs from 1st - 12th August at 6:35pm at Assembly George Square Studios (Three). Book tickets here.



Su Pollard


Earlier this year, Hi-De-Hi legend Su Pollard appeared on ITV's Last Laugh in Vegas alongside the likes of Cannon & Ball, Bernie Clifton and Anita Harris and this August she'll be making her Edinburgh debut at the age of 68 in Harpy, a play commissioned especially for her.


In it she plays Birdie, a woman with an extreme disorder. Her neighbours call her a harridan and a harpy even most of them have never even met her. They see her obsessive hoarding as detrimental to the value of their own homes.


But it isn’t rubbish. It’s her life’s work and it exists because years ago something deeply cherished was stolen, and Birdie’s not been able to give up anything since. She’ll do anything to get this priceless thing back. Anything at all.


Written by Fringe First award winner Philip Meeks, Harpy will be directed by Hannah Chissick.


Harpy runs from 2nd - 26th August (Not 13th) at 2:20pm at the Pleasance Courtyard Book tickets here.

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