Inside story: Who's where in Edinburgh
The Scottish capital will be full of TV types this week for the annual International Television Festival. Ciar Byrne maps out where the all the key players will gather
Monday 22 August 2005
The centre won't know what's hit it for the three days of the Television Festival. TV executives including Lorraine Heggessey, Daisy Goodwin, Stephen Lambert and Dan Chambers are to take to the floor for a festival edition of Strictly Come Dancing, with "Brucie" Forsyth and Tess Daly. Gunther von Hagens will provide additional weirdness, with one of his "plastinations" of the body at a session called "Dying on TV", while Extras stars Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant are due to discuss life after The Office.
2. MCEWAN HALL, TEVIOT PLACE
Each year, thousands of Edinburgh University students graduate in the draughty environs of the McEwan Hall, named after local brewer, philanthropist and MP Sir William McEwan, while teary relatives look on. Whether former BBC director-general Sir John Birt will bring a tear to the eyes of his audience when he delivers the 30th annual James MacTaggart Memorial Lecture remains to be seen. But insiders promise that Sir John's return to the podium will send shock waves through the industry.
3. THE GEORGE, 19-21 GEORGE STREET
The appeal of this hotel is difficult to fathom, but come the wee small hours, hordes of the television industry's finest will find themselves here. Stories about The George abound. Once, a PR, curious to see if the old adage about TV types and Colombian marching powder was true, racked up five lines of sherbet on a lavatory cistern. Sure enough, an hour later it was all gone.In 2004, investigative journalist John Sweeney was the star of the bar, when people queued to shake his hand after he told Max Clifford what he thought of him. Friday night is comedy night at The George - in the Adam Room from midnight to 1am.
4. CHANNEL 4'S SOHO HOUSE, 3 RANDOLPH CRESCENT
Last year, Channel 4 challenged the supremacy of The George by setting up arival, run by the people behind London's Soho House. Those who escaped The George were impressed and it is repeating the experiment, promising to be open from 8pm Wednesday until the early hours of Sunday.
5. BLUE BAR, CAMBRIDGE STREET
For the second year running, ITV is holding its Saturday night drinks bash in trendy Blue Bar, above the Traverse Theatre, one of the most prestigious venues in the Fringe Festival. The bar is within convenient stumbling distance of the conference centre.
6. ASSEMBLY ROOMS BAR, ASSEMBLY ROOMS, 54 GEORGE STREET
Across the road from The George, the members' bar at the Assembly Rooms, one of the Fringe Festival's biggest venues, is great for spotting talent.
7. THE HALLION, 12 PICARDY PLACE
Anyone homesick for The Groucho should go to The Hallion, whose clientele includes writer Irvine Welsh. PR firms Avalon and Taylor Herring both hosted bashes here last summer. This year Flextech Television, with Jayne Middlemiss, is taking over the swanky venue for an invitation-only dinner.
8. PRESTONFIELD, PRIESTFIELD ROAD
The Witchery, James Thomson's restaurant next to the Castle, is fully booked for the whole of August, but his new venue, Prestonfield, is just as hot. It was recently named AA's Hotel of the Year 2005 and voted one of Tatler's best 101 hotels in the world. PR company Taylor Herring is hosting its post-MacTaggart Lecture dinner here (by invitation only).
9. THE GLASSHOUSE HOTEL, 2 GREENSIDE PLACE
This contemporary boutique hotel has the only rooftop garden in Edinburgh. Channel Five has chosen this central venue, next to the Edinburgh Playhouse and overlooking Calton Hill, for the launch of its autumn schedule - strictly by invitation only.
10. THE ATRIUM, CAMBRIDGE STREET
The Atrium is in the heart of Edinburgh's theatre district and only a short trot from the International Conference Centre. UKTV is hosting a brunch here. The website boasts quotes from satisfied celebrity guests. "Wonderful pigeons," commented Tony and Cherie Blair, while Cliff Richard deemed it "ideal for a celebration".
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