Edinburgh Festival Day 17: Side View: Sir Bernard Chumley, veteran wit, raconteur and thespian, recalls his first visit to Edinburgh.

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The Independent Culture
It is ironic that 1994 has turned out to be my very first appearance at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, or 'the Edinburgh Fringe Festival', as we in the business like to call it. Many years ago, in 1981, when I first appeared at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, the situation was quite different, and a great deal has changed since I first appeared at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 1969. On preparing for my first show, in 1975, I recall being struck by lightning and losing my head. When my agent, Moby Lloyd-Fat, rang the Crowman from Worzel Gummidge for a synthetic replacement, she was informed that he had eloped to a South-east Asian archipelago with Aunt Sally and that all the ersatz noddles were on loan to Paul Shane for use in his award-winning portrayal of Ted Bovis in the hit comedy series, Hi- De-Hi. A far cry from 1954, when I made my very first appearance at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Hundreds of years ago, the status of the average acteur was set alongside that of the prostitute. Nowadays the typical Edinburgh performer has the artistic integrity of a whore - swigging mead, applying too much slap, and lunging into random sexual liaisons with any of the so-called Alternative Comedians. Not so for Sir Bernard Chumley. Each night, before the show, I take a cold bath and then dry myself off with a towel made from Sheer Bloody Theatre. That is my life. Leave me alone now.

(Photograph omitted)