Edinburgh Tories angry at Fringe plan to screen 'tasteless' Diana video

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The Independent Online

The Edinburgh Fringe Festival started yesterday amid protests over plans to screen a controversial video about Diana, Princess of Wales.

The Edinburgh Fringe Festival started yesterday amid protests over plans to screen a controversial video about Diana, Princess of Wales.

In the 10-minute video an actress playing the late Princess is seen crossing and uncrossing her legs like Sharon Stone in the film Basic Instinct, making an offensive gesture and eating chocolate. The video, created by Alison Jackson, was withdrawn from a digital art exhibition in London last month.

The screening outside the Home nightclub in the West End was suspended after objections from some members of the public pending an inspection by a review committee. In Edinburgh it will be shown on 22ft high screens in Princess Street Gardens.

Princess Diana's brother, Earl Spencer, condemned the showing of the video. A spokeswoman for the Earl said, "It is just a cheap publicity stunt and that is how we regard it. We have not seen it and we would not like to, but we have been told what the content is and the more we are told, the more it just seems like a cheap stunt.

Daphne Sleigh, Conservative leader of the City Council, who is against the video being shown, said: "It is thoroughly tasteless. It is not that long since the Princess of Wales died and I think this is very upsetting for her family, who have a strong connection to Edinburgh, as well as for the public."

But Paul Blyth, director of the Edinburgh Festival Revue, defended it yesterday as "beautiful". He added "People are upset because it challenges one of the myths of the British public and that is what makes it great. If the show was called 'Kate' and it was about a woman who worked at Tesco's, no one would care.

"The Edinburgh Festival Revue provides an objective platform for the arts. We aim to broadcast thought-provoking, original material artwork and the video provides this together with immediate visual impact."

The video will be part of a programme of "shorts" being broadcast over the next three weeks in the city. The 50-minute presentation also includes a video inspired by the Holocaust showing two heads melting into a tray.

The start of the festival has been marked with a cavalcade through the streets watched by around 150,000 people. Sixteen marching bands, among them the cast of the Edinburgh Military Tattoo, accompanied the parade through the streets.

The population of Edinburgh is expected to double in the coming three weeks as performers and visitors flock to the Fringe, the official International Festival, and a host of other events.

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