Peter Buckley Hill says that just because his festival is free, he does not compromise on quality

No laughing matter in Edinburgh as promoters fall out over Free Fringe

Edinburgh Comedy Awards chief warns of ‘terrible’ performances

Almost Nothing to Do With Frogs, Underbelly, Edinburgh

The Edinburgh Fringe is all about talent-spotting but forget Footlights - if you really want to see the next generation of performers first, the smart money is on Double Edge Drama. This is theatre company of Eton College, whose recent alumni include Eddie Redmayne, Harry Lloyd and Tom Hiddleston, to name but a few.

Observations: A glittering extreme makeover (with added Jamie Oliver) for a Fringe favourite

Tommy Sheppard, director of the new Assembly Rooms Edinburgh Fringe programme, proudly opens the door to a large ballroom decorated with an imposing crystal chandelier and some stunning, freshly painted cornices.

Tom Hodgkinson: 'We took a TV home. I admit I am weak'

The television is back. Five years ago, in a fit of anti-capitalist pique, I unplugged this instrument of Beezlebub. I decided that I didn't want all its horrors flooding into the family home. I didn't want The X-Factor, CBeebies, Dick and Dom, the Ten O'Clock News or the dreary gloom of EastEnders. Mr Murdoch and his evil ways could stay out of my house for ever. Like Plato, I decided to banish the playwrights and their portrayal of negative character traits from my ideal Republic. My children would grow up unsullied by the false promises of consumerism. Instead, they'd learn useful skills, carpentry and violin.

My Edinburgh: Ruby Wax, comedian

Judith Owen and I have been performing in psychiatric hospitals for the past two years, which is not all that different from the Fringe. I have been to the Fringe twice before – once before my career took off and once about three years ago. The first thing I performed in was here in Edinburgh. It was a show directed by Alan Rickman and we had to go out and put up our own posters, because everyone else forgot. The producer had also forgotten to book the theatre, but the show went ahead anyway.

Scenes From Village Life, By Amos Oz, trans. Nicholas de Lange

If you can imagine a tenement building with a view into all the different windows you would see multiple, contrasting lives in private moments. Amos Oz's latest collection of eight stories uses this short-cut technique. However his panorama is not the city but the fictional Israeli village of Tel Ilan. Although the scenes are set today, he evokes a Chekhovian atmosphere of tragic lives misled on haunted ground.

Edinburgh Diary: It never rains, but it pours

*It's Ramadan, so Muslim performers fast during daylight hours.

Laughter is free – well, it is at this year's Edinburgh Fringe

A spirit of free comedy has broken out in Edinburgh as performers and festival-goers shun expensive venues in favour of free shows to reflect straitened times – without cutting back on laughs.

Leading article: Fringe benefits of the God particle

Recent experiments using the Large Hadron Collider at CERN, near Geneva, hold out the hope that the Higgs boson (nicknamed "the God Particle") may soon be discovered. Proof of its existence would confirm the Standard Model of elementary particles. This would be a Nobel-worthy triumph for physicists, but, at a cost of billions, might seem to the rest of us a rarified and pointless endeavour. It is true there would be no instant practical benefit, but it is worth recalling that since 1900 research into the nature of the atom has created or assisted in the development of television, lasers, electronics, solar power, nuclear energy, radiotherapy, MRI and PET scanners, and the World Wide Web.

The Digital Digest: 28/03/2011

The Best Of The Web

'The Wire' dealer and a real-life drugs bust

Felicia Pearson's criminal past won her a part in the gritty Baltimore drama. Now she's in trouble with the law again

The Wire: Truth Be Told, By Rafael Alvarez

Fans of the HBO drama who, five series later, are not ready to let go, will find this brick of a book, complete with film stills, cast lists and Baltimore city map, a good way to decompress.

Fringe Notes: 23/08/10

*Don't miss DC Moore's Honest a darkly funny 45-minute monologue of barely contained rage, performed in the snug at Milnes Bar on Hanover Street against the hubbub of a busy working pub.

Edinburgh festival's high flyers

For decades, they've been cheap and gaudy, but this year's handouts and posters have some style to them. About time too, says <b>Alice Jones</b>
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