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Clive Anderson at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival
Clive Anderson at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival

Please note "BBC Breakfast with Frost" must be credited if any part of this transcript is used

PETER SISSONS: Now the biggest arts festival anywhere in the world gets underway in Edinburgh this weekend, more than 10,000 actors, actresses, dancers and performers of nearly 50 countries have gathered there for the start of this year's fringe. Comedy of course is one of the big attractions and the man topping the bill at the Assembly Rooms is Clive Anderson, returning to Edinburgh after a gap of more than 20 years. Clive, welcome¿back at Edinburgh¿

CLIVE ANDERSON: Good morning.

PETER SISSONS: Back at Edinburgh after 21 years, is the Bar not paying as well as it used to?

CLIVE ANDERSON: Well I haven't been at the Bar for about ten years but I feel I'm sort of a trainee weatherman, you can see the weather behind me in Edinburgh's beautiful, I'm scarcely topping the bill, I got persuaded to come and do a little show, a sort of a chat show but in the theatre at the Assembly Rooms and I just meet the real stars, the comedians and stuff here.

PETER SISSONS: What were you doing when you were last in Edinburgh?

CLIVE ANDERSON: Well the last time I was sort of properly performing I did a little show with a few friends, one of whom was Griff Rhys Jones and Roy McGrath, Jimmy Mulville and we were sort of overgrown students really. But luckily Griff got on the telly and therefore the audiences had heard of him so they came to see our little show. So we had a good time then, but by public demand I'm back 20 years later, that's about as often as the people of Edinburgh want me want me.

PETER SISSONS: You used to be a stand up comic didn't you?

CLIVE ANDERSON: I did a bit of stand up comedy and I do a little bit in amongst the interviews here, but it's, it's fantastic, you say that Edinburgh's the biggest festival in the world and it certainly seems like it, but in the '70s and then in 1981 when I was here people always were saying, well you know there's the main festival but it's, a bit dull, fringe is getting big, it's getting so big it'll burst and I come back here after 20 years and people are saying exactly the same thing. And you know the festival isn't dull and the fringe hasn't burst yet and it's absolutely heaving with people, it's absolutely, it's fantastic. Edinburgh's just a perfect city for a festival¿

PETER SISSONS: What acts are¿

CLIVE ANDERSON: On account of that¿I was just responding, I just heard the rest of your programme, somebody coming on to talk about the Notting Hill Festival, saying don't come to that, well I've said the opposite for Edinburgh I think, people should come here.

PETER SISSONS: What acts have taken your eye, are there any unusual things there this year?

CLIVE ANDERSON: Everything's unusual here, I've, I'm doing a sort of week here starting about two nights ago so I've had, I've already spoken to somebody who does an act about Quentin Crisp, I'm going to have Rodney Bewes on tonight from the Likely Lads, Alan Davis the comedian and star of Jonathan Creek. There's everything here, there's a couple of members of the cast of the Archers and there's the Australian act called Property of the Penis, if we're allowed to mention that word, Australian after the Test defeat. So you know there's, I don't know if they catch the eye but they certainly catch the eye of the posters. So it's, yeah it's all, it's crazy stuff really and unfortunately as I think people sometimes say, it's sort of like a trade fair as well because you've got agents and managers and TV producers looking for acts to put on the television but I, I've come here to get away from all that. Unfortunately I've come to a stage show and they immediately say oh come and talk on the television about it, but I think the joy of it is to do stuff actually, you know live.

PETER SISSONS: Is a stage show high risk for you or higher risk than television that is being mugged by the audience, that sort of thing?

CLIVE ANDERSON: I haven't been mugged yet, it's good to get, I did a show last night and somebody started joining in with the show from the moment I went on but in a nice friendly cheery way, it was good and yeah I like that when it, not being mugged exactly, I don't know why you're putting those ideas into people's heads.

PETER SISSONS: Well verbally mugged, it's the sort of thing you do to people?

CLIVE ANDERSON: Nobody, oh I don't verbally mug them, look at you you're savaging me here in this interview. Fortunately there's no proper fringe-going performer will be up yet, people stay up until about, you know five in the morning at the absolute earliest and then they stagger into bed. So I'm, I'm the only person on the entire fringe who's actually awake at the moment and I wouldn't actually put a lot of money on the fact that I am awake.

PETER SISSONS: They say people can arrive in Edinburgh unknown and walk away a star, you're not worried it could work the other way round are you?

CLIVE ANDERSON: Yes, yes indeed, but only now you've mentioned it, I've arrived well I can pretend to be a star and I'll be completely unknown by the end of the week, what a frightening thought.

PETER SISSONS: Did you say¿

CLIVE ANDERSON: Unfortunately¿go ahead, Pete, sorry.

PETER SISSONS: Did you say you'd given up the law now?

CLIVE ANDERSON: I haven't really given it up it's just I haven't done it for many years so I suppose I've given up without, without noticing it, so my legal practice really now consists of doing a programme on Radio 5 called Unreliable Evidence, it's not on at the moment so you can't accuse me of plugging it but I get to chat to the judges and talk about the law on the radio. But I don't do much else of such a legal sort but if the Edinburgh effect is the one that you're suggesting it was going to have on me then I will be resuming it in the next legal term.

PETER SISSONS: Clive Anderson thank you very much for joining us this morning. You can go back to bed now.

CLIVE ANDERSON: Thank you for having me, yes I'll see if¿sorry yes I'll go back to bed, thank you.


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