Bay City Rollers’ Alan Longmuir in Fringe play

Alan Longmuir with Ewan Petrie, who plays him in the show. Picture: Alex Hewitt
Alan Longmuir with Ewan Petrie, who plays him in the show. Picture: Alex Hewitt
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The original Bay City Roller, Alan Longmuir, is set to take to the stage during the Fringe in a celebration of his life.

At the height of their fame the Bay City Rollers were one of the biggest bands in the world – members couldn’t walk down a street without being mobbed by thousands of screaming girls.

Now the hysteria of that period in the 1970s has been captured in And I Ran With The Gang, a new play by Evening News entertainment editor Liam Rudden.

Telling the story of Longmuir, who gave the band its name, the musical is produced by Edinburgh pub tycoon Billy Lowe and will run at Le Monde Hotel in George Street throughout August.

The show will be followed by a set of favourite Bay City Roller numbers and a Q&A with the legend himself.

Mr Lowe said: “I’ve always been a big supporter of the Fringe Festival.

“After becoming involved in one show, Riding The Midnight Express, the opportunity to be involved in something that would appeal to and be popular with people in Edinburgh was too great a lure to resist.

“On meeting Alan, we all agreed almost immediately that it was a story that had to be told.

“Everybody was delighted, and we were happy to add it to the quality line-up we already have and give it a prime spot in this year’s programme.

“What better than a show about one of the biggest bands in the world that came out of Edinburgh? To have been at the very first read through of the script was very emotional and it is a privilege to be bringing this story to the Fringe.”

Longmuir said preparations for the show had brought a host of memories from the 1970s flooding back.

“I used to go up on to the roof of number five Caledonian Road, where we stayed, and watch all the fans waiting outside the house,” he said.

“You couldn’t go out. One day I said to Craig, the wee guy who lived next door, ‘there’s a fiver, give me your bike and get ready to open the stair door’.

“When he did, I flew along the corridor and out the stair and right down Dalry Road with the girls chasing me – there was almost an accident, all I wanted to do was get out for a pint.”

While the play is a celebration of Longmuir’s life as a Bay City Roller, the bass player, who last appeared with the band in Princes Street 
Gardens as part of the Millennium Hogmanay celebrations, says it has been a rollercoaster ride – thanks to one man.

“Tam Paton [the band’s manager who was convicted of sex offences against teenage boys in 1982 and served three years in jail] was the best and worst thing to happen to the band depending on how you look at it,” he said.

“He was reluctant to manage us at first. I had to keep on at him.

“He was a control freak. It was all about the image.

“Tam believed you couldn’t have a girlfriend and be in the band.

“All the early Rollers left for a girl, but I just kept going on. I knew we had something.”

WHEN EVERY MINUTE IS VITAL

Acting quickly when someone is in cardiac arrest and fighting for their life is vital, says the British Heart Foundation.

Around 60,000 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests take place in the UK every year. When someone goes into cardiac arrest every minute without CPR and defibrillation reduces their chances of survival by ten per cent.

A defibrillator is a machine that delivers an electric shock to the heart when someone is having a cardiac arrest.