The Edinburgh Fringe has been much on my mind this week, what with Joanna Cherry MP’s victory over The Stand comedy venue banning her show and having to do a reverse ferret after receiving legal advice that they were breaking anti-discrimination laws. They had uninvited her because several of their staff didn’t like her views on Self ID and gender recognition. She gently pointed out that she is an elected MP in the city of Edinburgh and she had every right to be able to articulate her views on the issue. If they had banned her because she is a lesbian or a catholic, it would be a clear case of discrimination, so why wouldn’t it be when the views she holds are perfectly mainstream and indeed, are held by many trans people. I had already decided that if The Stand maintained its position, I would add her to my list of guests at  this year’s Fringe, but thought it best to let it all play out first.

This is my third year doing shows at The Fringe. I absolutely love it, and when I look back on all the things I have done in my life, when I am in the East Worthing Retirement Home for Dribbling Broadcasters, performing at the Fringe will be pretty much up there.

I’m doing 13 All Talk events and 5 For the Many Lives with Jacqui Smith, and our guest lineup is nearly complete. Only two slots to fill. This weekend I’ve confirmed Mick Lynch and an All Talk on the art of the political diary with Sasha Swire and Chris Mullin. I’ve also booked a really big name, but we’re not revealing that just yet until tickets can go on sale.

One thing I've learned over the past two Edinburgh runs is that it's the politicians who people really want to see i the flesh, so this year there are fewer non politicians on the schedule. It's very diffocult to strike a real balance when drawing up the itinerary. Right of centre politicians are less willing to give up a day in August to trvel north. This year I've got quite a few SNP politicians. There are also fewer women that I would have liked but in the end you can't force people to say yes! I'm confident that we will have plenty of shows which completely sell out. I suspect Penny Mordaunt's will be one of them as a quarter of the 300 tickets have already been snapped up, Mind you, the advantage at the venue is that we can always upgrade to a bigger hall if needs be.

Tickets for most of the shows are already on sale, and the others will hopefully be uploaded to the Pleasance website this week.

Here's the schedule...





5 August 1pm ALL TALK with Jeremy Corbyn & Len McCluskey

5 August ALL TALK with Mick Lynch (Not on sale yet)

6 August 1pm ALL TALK with Penny Mordaunt

7 August 4pm Sasha Swire & Chris Mullin (Tickets not on sale yet)

7 August 1pm ALL TALK with Wes Streeting

7 August 4pm ALL TALK with Harriet Harman

8 August 1pm ALL TALK with Alex Salmond & David Davis

8 August ALL TALK with Peter Hitchens & Polly Toynbee

9 August 4pm FOR THE MANY with Peter Tatchell

10 August FOR THE MANY with Mark Drakeford MS

11 August 4pm FOR THE MANY Kate Forbes MSP

12 August 4pm FOR THE MANY with Sir Ed Davey MP

13 August 1pm ALL TALK with Sir John Curtice & Brian Taylor 

13 August 4.00pm FOR THE MANY with Ian Blackford MP