National Westminster Bank known as NatWest, is a major retail and commercial bank in the United Kingdom. It was established in 1968 by the merger of National Provincial Westminster Bank. Since 2000, it has been part of The Royal Bank of Scotland Group. Following "ringfencing" of the Group's core domestic business, the bank became a direct subsidiary of NatWest Holdings. NatWest is considered one of the Big Four clearing banks in the UK, it has a large network of over 960 branches and 3,400 cash machines across Great Britain and offers 24-hour Actionline telephone and online banking services. Today, it has 850,000 small business accounts. In Ireland, it operates through its Ulster Bank subsidiary. In 2017, NatWest was awarded Best Banking App in the British Bank Awards; the bank's origins date back to 1658 with the foundation of Smith's Bank of Nottingham. Its oldest direct corporate ancestor, National Provincial Bank, was formed in 1833 as the National Provincial Bank of England, it acquired Union of London and Smith's Bank in 1918 to become National Provincial and Union Bank, shortening its name back to National Provincial in 1924.
National Provincial bought District Bank in 1962, but continued to operate District's branch network separately. Westminster Bank was founded in 1834 as London and Westminster Bank dropping the "London" portion in 1923; the creation of the modern bank was announced in 1968, National Westminster Bank Limited commenced trading on 1 January 1970, after the statutory process of integration had been completed in 1969. The famous three arrowheads symbol was adopted as the new bank's logo; the District, National Provincial, Westminster Banks were integrated in the new firm's structure, but private bankers Coutts & Co. Ulster Bank in Northern Ireland and the Isle of Man Bank continued as separate operations. Westminster Foreign Bank was restyled International Westminster Bank in 1973. Duncan Stirling, outgoing chairman of Westminster Bank, became first chairman of the fifth largest bank in the world. In 1969 David Robarts, former chairman of National Provincial, assumed Stirling's position. In 1975 it was one of the first London banks to open a representative office in Scotland.
It was a founder member of the Joint Credit Card Company which launched the Access credit card in 1972 and in 1976 it introduced the Servicetill cash machine. The same banks, excluding Lloyds, were responsible for the introduction of the Switch debit card in 1988. Deregulation in the 1980s, culminating in the Big Bang in 1986 encouraged the bank to enter the securities business. County Bank, its merchant banking subsidiary formed in 1965, acquired various stockbroking and jobbing firms to create the investment banking arm County NatWest. National Westminster Home Loans was established in 1980 and other initiatives included the launch of the Piggy Account for children in 1983, the Credit Zone, a flexible overdraft facility on which customers only pay interest and the development of the Mondex electronic purse in 1990; the Action Bank advertising campaign spearheaded a new marketing-led approach to business development. Under the direction of Robin Leigh-Pemberton Lord Kingsdown, who became chairman in 1977, the bank expanded internationally, forming National Westminster Bancorp in the United States of America with a network of 340 branches across two states, National Westminster Bank of Canada and NatWest Australia Bank.
In 1982, the Frankfurt office of International Westminster Bank merged with Global Bank AG to form Deutsche Westminster Bank. In 1985, Banco NatWest España was formed and National Westminster Bank SA was incorporated in 1988, taking over the bank's six branches in France and Monaco. In 1989, International Westminster Bank was merged into National Westminster Bank by Act of Parliament. Completed in 1980, the bank built the National Westminster Tower in London to serve as its international headquarters. At a height of 600 feet it was the tallest building in the UK until the topping-out of Canary Wharf Tower 10 years later. Worthy of note is National Westminster House in Birmingham: the building was sold to British Land in 2007 and demolished in 2015; the bank's expansion strategy hit trouble with the stock market crash of 1987 and involvement in the financial scandal surrounding the collapse of Blue Arrow. The Department of Trade and Industry report on the affair was critical of the bank's management and resulted in the resignation of several members of the board, including chairman Lord Boardman.
BBC Radio 4 Extra
BBC Radio 4 Extra is a British digital radio station broadcasting archived repeats of comedy and documentary programmes nationally, 24 hours a day. It is the principal broadcaster of the BBC's spoken-word archive, as a result the majority of its programming originates from that archive, it broadcasts extended and companion programmes to those broadcast on sister station BBC Radio 4, provides a "catch-up" service for certain Radio 4 programmes. The station launched in December 2002 as BBC 7, broadcasting a similar mix of archive comedy and current children's radio; the station was renamed BBC Radio 7 in 2008 relaunched as Radio 4 Extra in April 2011. For the first quarter of 2013, Radio 4 Extra had a weekly audience of 1.642 million people and had a market share of 0.95%. The station was launched as BBC 7 on 15 December 2002 by comedian Paul Merton; the first programme was broadcast at 8 pm and was simulcast with Radio 4. The station, referred to by the codename'Network Z' while in development, was so named to reflect the station's presence on the internet and on digital television in addition to radio.
The station broadcast archived comedy and drama, in that the programme was either three or more years old or had been broadcast twice on their original station. The station broadcast a themed section for Children's programmes; this section carried a variety of programmes, including The Little Toe Radio Show, aimed at younger children and consisting of short serials and rhymes, The Big Toe Radio Show with phone-ins and stories for the 8+ age group. The segment hosted the only news programme on the network presented by the Newsround team; the station won the Sony Radio Academy Award for station sound in 2003, was nominated for the Promo Award in 2004, in 2005 received a silver for the Short-Form award, plus nominations in the speech and digital terrestrial station-of-the-year sections. Because of the station's archive nature the station was scheduled and researched by 17 people, excluding presenters; the station was renamed on 4 October 2008 as BBC Radio 7 in an effort to bring it in line with other BBC Radio brands.
It coincided with the introduction of a new network logo for the station. During this period, Radio 7 saw growth in its audience, with a growth rate of 9.5% annually in 2010, going from 931,000 listeners in the first quarter of that year to 949,000 a quarter making it the second most listened to BBC digital radio station at the time. However, despite this growth, the audience of children between 4 and 14 was reported to be only at 25,000 and in February 2011 the BBC Trust approved a reduction in hours dedicated to children from 1,400 to 350; the BBC announced their intention to relaunch the station on 2 March 2010 and following a public consultation, the proposal was approved by the corporation's governing body the BBC Trust in February 2011. As a result, the station relaunched as BBC Radio 4 Extra on Saturday 2 April 2011; the relaunched station contained much of the same mix of programming with some new additions that reflected the new alignment with Radio 4, many of which were extended, archive or spin offs of flagship Radio 4 programmes.
BBC Radio 4 Extra is broadcast from Broadcasting House in central London, although due to the nature of the channel little of the channel's content is broadcast live from there with the continuity announcements being pre-recorded. The channel uses ten continuity announcers to link between programmes; these are Wes Butters, Kathy Clugston, Jim Lee, David Miles, Joanna Pinnock, Susan Rae, Debbie Russ, Neil Sleat, Alan Smith, Zeb Soanes, Luke Tuddenham and Chris Berrow. Previous presenters, including those presenting Radio 7, include Penny Haslam, Helen Aitken, Rory Morrison, Steve Urquhart, Alex Riley and Michaela Saunders; the station only operates on digital networks and so has no allocated analogue radio signal. Instead it is broadcast over the internet on the BBC website, on services such as Radioplayer and TuneIn and for users of IPTV's, it is available on digital radio and television services including digital terrestrial provider Freeview, cable television providers including Virgin Media and on satellite television providers Freesat and Sky who receive their signal from the Astra 2E satellite.
The pan-European nature of this satellite means that the signal can be received across northern Europe. The controller of the station is Gwyneth Williams, answerable to the Radio board in the BBC. BBC Radio 4 Extra is only available in stereo on Digital TV and online but not on DAB as its maximum bit rate is only 80kbps, only sufficient for it to be broadcast in mono. Although the current station is a rebranding of Radio 7 and contains a similar mix of archived programming, content has been brought further in line with BBC Radio 4 with new additions based upon their schedule; these include extended versions of programmes such as The News Quiz and Desert Island Discs, the broadcast of archived editions of the latter as Desert Island Discs Revisited. It has previously included the addition of the programme Ambridge Extra, a more youth-orientated version of long-running radio soap The Archers, an extended version of The Now Show; some programming is organised into programme blocks of similar programmes.
The late night Comedy Club segment broadcasts "two hours of contemporary comedy" most nights of the week and is hosted by Arthur Smith. A long-standing segment that remained following the change from Radio 7, it was fronted by Alex Riley and Phil Williams. Comedy
The Loire Valley, spanning 280 kilometres, is located in the middle stretch of the Loire River in central France, in both the administrative regions Pays de la Loire and Centre-Val de Loire. The area of the Loire Valley comprises about 800 square kilometres, it is referred to as the Cradle of the French and the Garden of France due to the abundance of vineyards, fruit orchards, artichoke, asparagus fields, which line the banks of the river. Notable for its historic towns and wines, the valley has been inhabited since the Middle Palaeolithic period. In 2000, UNESCO added the central part of the Loire River valley to its list of World Heritage Sites; the valley includes historic towns such as Amboise, Blois, Montsoreau, Orléans and Tours. The climate is favorable most of the year, the river acting as a line of demarcation in France's weather between the northern climate and the southern; the river has a significant effect on the mesoclimate of the region, adding a few degrees of temperature. The climate can be cool with springtime frost.
Summers are hot. Temperature and average sunshine time in Angers: The Loire Valley wine region is one of the world's most well-known areas of wine production and includes several French wine regions situated along the river from the Muscadet region on the Atlantic coast to the regions of Sancerre and Pouilly-Fumé just southeast of the city of Orléans in north central France. Loire wines tend to exhibit a characteristic fruitiness with crisp flavors. On December 2, 2000, UNESCO added the central part of the river valley, between Chalonnes-sur-Loire and Sully-sur-Loire, to its list of World Heritage Sites. In choosing this area that includes the French départements of Loiret, Loir-et-Cher, Indre-et-Loire, Maine-et-Loire, the committee said that the Loire Valley is: "an exceptional cultural landscape, of great beauty, comprised of historic cities and villages, great architectural monuments - the châteaux - and lands that have been cultivated and shaped by centuries of interaction between local populations and their physical environment, in particular the Loire itself."
The Loire Valley chansonniers are a related group of songbooks attributed to the composers of the Loire Valley and are the earliest surviving examples of a new genre which offered a combination of words and illuminations. A new Contemporary Art offer is developing all along the Loire River from Montsoreau to Orléans with such places as Château de Montsoreau-Contemporary Art Museum, CCCOD Tours, the Domaine Régional de Chaumont sur Loire and the Frac Centre Orléans, they are a rare association of Renaissance architecture with contemporary art. The architectural heritage in the valley's historic towns is notable its châteaux, such as the Château de Montsoreau, Château d'Amboise, Château d'Azay-le-Rideau, Château de Chambord, Château de Chinon, Château du Rivau, Château d'Ussé, Château de Villandry and Chenonceau; the châteaux, numbering more than three hundred, represent a nation of builders starting with the necessary castle fortifications in the 10th century to the splendour of those built half a millennium later.
When the French kings began constructing their huge châteaux here, the nobility, not wanting or daring to be far from the seat of power, followed suit. Their presence in the lush, fertile valley began attracting the best landscape designers. In addition to its many châteaux, the cultural monuments illustrate to an exceptional degree the ideals of the Renaissance and the Age of the Enlightenment on western European thought and design. Many of the châteaux were designed to be built on the top of hills, one example of this is the Château d'Amboise. Many of the châteaux had detailed and expensive churches on the grounds, or within the actual château itself; the Château de Montsoreau is the only château to have been built in the Loire riverbed, it is the only one to be dedicated to contemporary art. Loire Valley portal Loire Valley world heritage site Loire Valley Chateau du Rivau Chinon Fortress Chateau de Montsoreau-Contemporary Art Museum Western France Tourist Board
Have I Got News for You
Have I Got News for You is a British television panel show produced by Hat Trick Productions for the BBC. Broadcast since 1990, it is loosely based on the BBC Radio 4 show The News Quiz and has a topical and satirical remit. Have I Got News for You is cited as beginning the increasing domination of panel shows in British TV comedy, remains one of the genre's key standard-bearers. In recognition of this, the show received the Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2011 British Comedy Awards, it was the first time the honour had been bestowed upon a collective instead of an individual or double act. In 2016 they received a BAFTA in the Comedy and Comedy Entertainment Programme category. For its first 10 years, the programme was shown on BBC Two. In 2000, the BBC moved its nightly BBC One news bulletin, the BBC Nine O'Clock News, from nine o'clock to ten o'clock after ITV moved their long-running ten o'clock bulletin, News at Ten, to eleven o'clock; this left a gap in the schedules, Have I Got News for You was moved as a result to 9pm on Friday nights on BBC One, where it has remained since, apart from two series in 2010 when the show was broadcast on Thursday nights.
There have been 56 series of the programme broadcast. The UKTV channel Dave carries regular repeats of the show. Have I Got News for You began on BBC Two on 28 September 1990 and transferred to BBC One in October 2000. "Myself and Ian, we did a disastrous pilot for it," Paul Merton said nine years later. "It was a beautiful summer's afternoon in 1990. Far too nice to be in a television studio, but I think the BBC had bought it, so that's how it became a series." Two series are made every year. At first, the number of episodes per series was inconsistent. However, a pattern soon formed at the start of series 3 in 1992 whereby the spring series between April and June comprises eight episodes and the autumn series from October to December contains nine, with a one-week break in the middle to allow the broadcasting of Children in Need; the 39th series, broadcast in early 2010, moved the show to a Thursday night slot. The 40th series remained in this new time slot, despite one episode being broadcast the day after due to the Royal Variety Performance.
Over an hour's worth of material is recorded for each 30-minute programme for broadcast the following day, allowing the programme to remain topical while the BBC's lawyers have time to request cuts of defamatory material. As for its popularity, Merton explained that it was word-of-mouth: "No reviewer could review it in that time. We started off with an audience of two million, somebody might have mentioned it to their friend, it sort of built up a momentum of its own."The late-night weekend repeat has contained extra material from the week's recording. This became a permanent feature from the spring 2007 series, with the repeat having a running time of 40 minutes, being titled Have I Got a Bit More News for You; the programme was recorded at the London Studios, former home of London Weekend Television, as of the start of the autumn 2018 season recording has now been moved to Elstree Studios. The 2001 Election special episode was recorded at BBC Television Centre on the Friday morning after the election.
The quiz aspect and scores are ignored in favour of the panellists' witty exchanges and jokes, the format seems to change frequently. "There's been a lot of confusion, with people saying,'Well, they see the questions beforehand,' which we do," revealed Merton in 1999. "But some people say we see the answers, which we don't, because that would rob it of being a quiz.""There is a certain amount of show business that goes on in putting on a show," continued Merton. "We found early on that it's worth seeing the questions beforehand so that you can work out your depth of ignorance. If you don't know, you think,'Well, I've got to try and say something here.' It's much better to be doing that for ten or fifteen minutes before the show than be doing it when the cameras are rolling, in front of an audience, going,'Well, who's he?'"Norman Tebbit wrote an article in The Mail on Sunday criticising the whole programme:'Well, of course Have I Got News for You is all edited. These people, they couldn't improvise live.
You put them on a stage, they wouldn't be able to improvise.' Merton said of this: "Well, when Norman Tebbit said I couldn't improvise, I was...." The main section of the show comprises several rounds, although, as noted above, this is liable to change. Since the show aired, several rounds have been dropped from the original format, but a typical show will consist of the following: Round 1 is the "Film Round". Silent video clips from news reports, are played to the teams. Two points are awarded for identifying the story – but as the round covers the major stories of the week, the quiz aspect is downplayed here in favour of discussion and banter; the host will still ask questions to highlight details of a story, but no further points are awarded for the answers. Sometimes, the clips used have been specially chosen from particular sources, such as in the 2008 Christmas special, which used clips from Christmas specials of various other TV programmes to provide the clues; the 1993'Thatcher special' presented a slight variation called Who Dares Loses?, where the teams had to identify who in the clip'lost'.
On rare occasions, sound is added to the clip, such as a "ker-ching" in the montage that depicted the 2009 MPs' expenses scandal or the Blue Peter theme tune in the
Crimewatch is a British television programme produced by the BBC, that reconstructs major unsolved crimes in order to gain information from the public which may assist in solving the case. The programme was broadcast once a month on BBC One, although in more recent years it was broadcast once every two months. Crimewatch was first broadcast on 7 June 1984, is based on the German TV show Aktenzeichen XY … ungelöst. Nick Ross and Sue Cook presented the show for the first eleven years, until Cook's departure in June 1995. Cook was replaced by Jill Dando. After Dando was murdered in April 1999, Ross hosted Crimewatch alone until January 2000 when Fiona Bruce subsequently joined the show. Kirsty Young and Matthew Amroliwala replaced Ross and Bruce following their departures in 2007, it was announced on 15 October 2008 that the BBC would move the production of shows such as Crimewatch to studios in Cardiff. Young and Amroliwala remained as the lead presenters until 2015. Following a brief period with guest presenter Sophie Raworth in 2016, it was announced that the show would relaunch in September 2016 with a new weekly format.
The new presenters were announced as Tina Daheley. The new series began on 5 September 2016, with the final episode broadcast on 20 March 2017. In October 2017, the BBC announced that the main Crimewatch series had been axed, citing declining viewership; the daytime spin-off series Crimewatch Roadshow would continue to air, but will air more episodes per year. The idea for the show came from the UK programme Police Five and the German Aktenzeichen XY … ungelöst. Producers viewed the shows and rejected the overt reconstructions with music to build suspense in America's Most Wanted, were against the idea of filming the reconstruction from the perspective of the offender as in Aktenzeichen XY … ungelöst. However, they favoured the idea of audience participation in the show. Crimewatch UK was due to run for only three programmes, it was regarded as an experiment when it was first shown because of doubts about whether the police would take part and victims would welcome the idea, could it lead to arrests, could it be considered in prejudicing a jury.
In over 25 years, 57 murderers, 53 rapists and sex offenders, 18 paedophiles, others were captured as a direct result of Crimewatch appeals. Crimewatch used to be shown once a month on BBC One at 9pm, with a Crimewatch Update at 10.35. Since March 2011 the show aired less roughly once every two months, it featured three or four cases per show, with each case featuring reconstructions of the crime. It was one of the largest live factual studio productions; the films shown feature interviews with senior detectives and/or relatives or friends of victims. Key evidence is shown, such as E-FIT profiles of suspects and details of certain lines of enquiry. Other features to the show included a "CCTV section", which showed crimes caught on CCTV with enhanced imagery of suspects. A "Wanted Faces" section was featured: eight close-up pictures of suspects police are trying to trace are shown on screen; this section frequently involves information about suspects, including aliases. These eight photos are shown upon the programme's closing credits, one of the few programmes in which the BBC do not'show the credits in reduced size'.
Viewers could contact Crimewatch by phoning 0500 600 600, with the phone lines remaining open until midnight the night following the programme. Viewers could send text messages to 63399. Due to the high demand for cases to be shown on the programme, many other cases are added to the Crimewatch website; these are joined by reconstructions, CCTV footage and wanted faces that have been shown on previous programmes. All reconstructions, CCTV footage and cases remain on the Crimewatch website until the criminals are caught or suspects convicted. Crimewatch can be watched on the BBC iPlayer catch-up service for 24 hours from broadcast. Following the main programme, there was a 10–15 minute follow-up after the BBC News at Ten, with updates on calls and results from the earlier broadcast; this was removed when the show relaunched in September 2016. First aired on 10 August 1988, Crimewatch File is an hour-long programme devoted to the reconstruction and investigation of a single case including cases that the programme has helped to solve.
Presented by Nick Ross and Sue Cook concurrently, more than thirty editions aired until April 2000, when the final edition, fronted by Ross, was broadcast. Following this, in latter years of the main Crimewatch programme, episodes would feature segments and reports in a similar vein to Crimewatch File. First aired on 28 April 1992, Crime Limited was the first spin-off from Crimewatch, described by producers as "a new ten-part series that takes the cameras behind the scenes of crime." Presented by Nick Ross and Sue Cook, the series includes features and reports that Ross described as " form part of our appeal for information". Ross commented; some are exciting, some are reassuring and some are frankly funny. Some, we hope, will help to limit crime." Cook left Crime Limited after the first series, leaving Ross as the sole presenter for two further series, which aired in 1993 and 1994. First aired on 21 May 1997, Crimewatch: Hot Property was a one-off special presented by Jill Dando; the programme's aim was to help people find their stolen property that were recovered
BBC Radio 4
BBC Radio 4 is a radio station owned and operated by the British Broadcasting Corporation that broadcasts a wide variety of spoken-word programmes including news, comedy and history. It replaced the BBC Home Service in 1967; the station controller is Gwyneth Williams, the station is part of BBC Radio and the BBC Radio department. The station is broadcast from the BBC's headquarters at London. On 21 January 2019 Williams announced. There are no details of when, it is the second most popular domestic radio station in the UK, broadcast throughout the UK, the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands on FM, LW and DAB, can be received in eastern and south eastern counties of Ireland, the north of France and Northern Europe. It is available through Freeview, Virgin Media and on the Internet, its sister station, BBC Radio 4 Extra, complements the main channel by broadcasting repeats from the Radio 4 archive, extended versions of Radio 4 programmes and supplements to series such as The Archers and Desert Island Discs.
It is notable for its news bulletins and programmes such as Today and The World at One, heralded on air by the Greenwich Time Signal "pips" or the chimes of Big Ben. Radio 4 broadcasts the Shipping Forecast, which reached 150 years old in August 2017; the pips are only accurate on FM, LW, MW as there is a delay on DAB and digital radio of 3 to 5 seconds longer online. BBC Radio 4 is the second most popular British domestic radio station by total hours, after Radio 2 – and the most popular in London and the South of England, it recorded its highest audience, of 11 million listeners, in May 2011 and was "UK Radio Station of the Year" at the 2003, 2004 and 2008 Sony Radio Academy Awards. It won a Peabody Award in 2002 for File On 4: Export Controls. Costing £71.4 million, it is the BBC's most expensive national radio network and is considered by many to be its flagship. There is no comparable British commercial network: Channel 4 abandoned plans to launch its own speech-based digital radio station in October 2008 as part of a £100m cost cutting review.
In 2010 Gwyneth Williams replaced Mark Damazer as Radio 4 controller. Damazer became Master of Oxford. Music and sport are the only fields that fall outside the station's remit, it broadcasts occasional concerts, documentaries related to various forms of both popular and classical music, the long-running music-based Desert Island Discs. Prior to the creation of BBC Radio 5 it broadcast sports-based features, notably Sport on Four, since the creation of BBC Radio 5 Live has become the home of ball-by-ball commentaries of most Test cricket matches played by England, broadcast on long wave; as a result, for around 70 days a year listeners have to rely on FM broadcasts or DAB for mainstream Radio 4 broadcasts – the number relying on long wave is now a small minority. The cricket broadcasts take precedence over on-the-hour news bulletins, but not the Shipping Forecast, carried since its move to long wave in 1978 because that can be received at sea; the station is the UK's national broadcaster in times of national emergency such as war, due to the wide coverage of the Droitwich signal: if all other radio stations were forced to close, it would carry on broadcasting.
It has been claimed that the commanders of nuclear-armed submarines believing that Britain had suffered nuclear attack were required to check if they could still receive Radio 4 on 198 long wave, if they could not they would open sealed orders that might authorise a retaliatory strike. As well as news and drama, the station has a strong reputation for comedy, including experimental and alternative comedy, many successful comedians and comedy shows first appearing on the station. Following the six o'clock news from Monday to Friday, the station broadcasts a thirty-minute comedy programme; the station is available on FM in parts of Ireland and the north of France. Freesat and Virgin have a separate channel which broadcasts the Radio 4 LW output in mono, in addition to the FM output; the BBC Home Service was the predecessor of Radio 4 and broadcast between 1939 and 1967. It had regional variations and was broadcast on medium wave with a network of VHF FM transmitters being added from 1955. Radio 4 replaced it on 30 September 1967, when the BBC renamed many of its domestic radio stations, in response to the challenge of offshore radio.
It moved to long wave in November 1978, taking over the 200 kHz frequency held by Radio 2, moved to 198 kHz as a result of international agreements aimed at avoiding interference and to mark the station becoming a national service for the first time the station became known as Radio 4 UK, a title that remained until mid 1984. For a time during the 1970s Radio 4 carried regional news bulletins Monday to Saturday; these were broadcast twice at breakfast, at lunchtime and an evening bulletin was aired at 5.55pm. There were programme variations for the parts of England not served by BBC Local Radio stations; these included Roundabout East Anglia, a VHF opt-out of the Today programme broadcast from BBC East's studios in Norwich each weekday from 6.45 am to 8.45 am. Roundabout East Anglia came to an end in mid-1980, when local radio services were introduced to East Anglia with the launch of BBC Radio Norfolk. All regional news bulletins broadcast
Edinburgh Festival Fringe
The Edinburgh Festival Fringe is the world's largest arts festival, which in 2018 spanned 25 days and featured more than 55,000 performances of 3,548 different shows in 317 venues. Established in 1947 as an alternative to the Edinburgh International Festival, it takes place annually in Edinburgh, Scotland, in the month of August, it is an open access performing arts festival, meaning there is no selection committee, anyone may participate, with any type of performance. The official Fringe Programme categorises shows into sections for theatre, dance, physical theatre, cabaret, children's shows, opera, spoken word and events. Comedy is the largest section, making up over one-third of the programme and the one that in modern times has the highest public profile, due in part to the Edinburgh Comedy Awards; the Festival is supported by the Festival Fringe Society, which publishes the programme, sells tickets to all events from a central physical box office and website, offers year-round advice and support to performers.
The Society's permanent location is at the Fringe Shop on the Royal Mile, in August they manage Fringe Central, a separate collection of spaces in Appleton Tower and other University of Edinburgh buildings, dedicated to providing support for Fringe participants during their time at the festival. The Fringe board of directors is drawn from members of the Festival Fringe Society, who are Fringe participants themselves – performers or administrators. Elections are held once a year, in August, Board members serve a term of four years; the Board appoints the Fringe Chief Executive Shona McCarthy who assumed the role in March 2016. The Chief Executive operates under the chair Professor Sir Timothy O'Shea; the Fringe started life when eight theatre companies turned up uninvited to the inaugural Edinburgh International Festival in 1947. With the International Festival using the city's major venues, these companies took over smaller, alternative venues for their productions. Seven performed in Edinburgh, one undertook a version of the medieval morality play "Everyman" in Dunfermline Abbey, about 20 miles north, across the River Forth in Fife.
These groups aimed to take advantage of the large assembled theatre crowds to showcase their own alternative theatre. Although at the time it was not recognised as such, this was the first Edinburgh Festival Fringe; this meant that two defining features of the future Fringe were established at the beginning – the lack of official invitations to perform and the use of unconventional venues. These groups referred to themselves as the "Festival Adjuncts" and were referred to as the "semi-official" festival, it was not until the following year, 1948, that Robert Kemp, a Scottish playwright and journalist, is credited with coining the title "Fringe" when he wrote during the second Edinburgh International Festival: Round the fringe of official Festival drama, there seems to be more private enterprise than before... I am afraid some of us are not going to be at home during the evenings! The word "fringe" had in fact been used in a review of Everyman in 1947, when a critic remarked it was a shame the show was so far out "on the fringe of the Festival".
In 1950, it was still being referred to in similar terms, with a small'f': On the fringe of the official Festival there are many praiseworthy "extras," including presentations by the Scottish Community Drama Association and Edinburgh University Dramatic Society – Dundee Courier, 24 August 1950 The Fringe did not benefit from any official organisation until 1951, when students of the University of Edinburgh set up a drop-in centre in the YMCA, where cheap food and a bed for the night were made available to participating groups. Late night revues, which would become a feature of Fringes, began to appear in the early 50s; the first one was the New Drama Group's After The Show, a series of sketches taking place after Donald Pleasence's Ebb Tide, in 1952. Among the talent to appear in early Fringe revues were Ned Sherrin in 1955, Ken Loach and Dudley Moore with the Oxford Theatre Group in 1958. Due to many reviewers only being able to attend Fringe events late night after the official festival was finished, the Fringe came to be seen as being about revues.
It was a few years. John Menzies compiled a list of shows under the title "Other Events" in their omnibus festival brochure, but it was printer C. J. Cousland, the first to publish a listings guide, in 1954; this was funded by participating companies and was entitled "Additional Entertainments", since the name "Fringe" was still not yet in regular usage. By that year, the Fringe was attracting around a dozen companies, a meeting was held to discuss creating "a small organisation to act as a brain for the Fringe", or what The Scotsman called an "official unofficial festival". A first attempt was made to provide a central booking service in 1955 by students from the university, although it lost money, blamed on those who had not taken part. Formal organisation progressed with the formation of the Festival Fringe Society; the push for such an organisation was led by director of Oxford Theatre Group. A constitution was drawn up, in which the policy of not vetting or censoring shows was set out, the Society produced the first guide to Fringe shows.
Nineteen companies participated in the Fringe in that year. By that time it provided a "complete... counter-festival programme". Not long after came the first complaints that the Fringe had become too big. Director Gerard Slevin claimed in 1961 that "it would be much better if only ten