• Text size      
  • Send this article to a friend
  • Print this article

Skinner to shine at Fringe for 'the love of it'

Frank Skinner does not need the money, the cash, or the fame.

The stand-up, writer, presenter, and, latterly, commentator on portraiture, is performing more than 20 nights at this year's Fringe essentially for the love of it. His venue, the George Square Theatre, is a little different from his first, in 1987. Then, "not really knowing how the Fringe works", the 57-year-old says he used up £400 of his life savings (which amounted to £435) to book a room at the Carlton Studios for the month.

"The venue manager asked me how long I would need every night, and I said 'I don't know, a couple of hours?'" he says, laughing. "Of course not even the biggest names need it for that long, no-one does. I hope this year I get better audiences figures than I did then. I didn't get a single person in one day. I didn't do the show. I got 12 another day."

And now? The former Perrier Award winner (in 1991) is often on TV, has published books and is shortly to present the Sky Arts series, Portrait Artist Of The Year 2014. But he loves Edinburgh, so he is back.

"The Fringe means a hell of a lot to me and Edinburgh does too. My son Buzz was conceived here, in Advocate's Close. Not actually in the close, in a flat. There are all sorts of history for me here. I could have done one or two shows and gone but I wanted to do a full run. I am not just flying in, I want to do it properly. I was thinking of doing it on the Free Fringe at one point, in a tiny room, getting back to the Golden Age in a way. But I decided against it."

Skinner said this year's Fringe would be a different experience for him as he has a young son in tow. There will be no more "staying out at the Gilded Balloon until 4am". "I potter out in the morning and maybe have lunch. I am lot more sedate." He will be taking Buzz to the National Museum of Scotland, which has impressed him. "It will be quite different for me, because my son is two-and-a-quarter. He is interested in things. This is the first time I have been to Edinburgh and have never been so aware of what there is for children. My idea is to spend a lot of time at puppet shows."

I mention the children's programme at the book festival, and he says he will look it up.

His show, Man in a Suit, is essentially set in stone, he says, although he may tinker with it a little. "Maybe this is because I have less of an attention span than I used to. There is the temptation if you think of something to put it on ice, if something is working you don't want to change it. "

Skinner may well address the independence referendum. He is torn. The author and writer of the famous Three Lions football song, said that if England was voting to separate from the rest of the UK he would be a No voter. "I have thought about the referendum a lot, and it's interesting for an Englishman to put himself in the place of a Scottish voter. It is difficult to say you are proud to be English because you are seen as a bit of a fascist, but in Scotland it seems that patriotism is a romantic thing and because of that I envy the Scots.

Man in a Suit is at Assembly George Square Theatre to August 24.

Contextual targeting label: 
Arts and Entertainment

Commenting & Moderation

We moderate all comments on HeraldScotland on either a pre-moderated or post-moderated basis.
If you're a relatively new user then your comments will be reviewed before publication and if we know you well and trust you then your comments will be subject to moderation only if other users or the moderators believe you've broken the rules

Moderation is undertaken full-time 9am-6pm on weekdays, and on a part-time basis outwith those hours. Please be patient if your posts are not approved instantly.

252235