DCSIMG

Going wild and giving it up for a good cause

HE has come under fire for his "scandalous" ticket prices and for "stealing" audiences away from struggling artists.

Now Ricky Gervais has tried to redeem himself by pledging all profits from his Edinburgh Castle show to charity.

The star of Extras and The Office has donated the money to Macmillan Cancer Support after making reference to the row over the 37.50 tickets at the start of his Fame show on Sunday night.

Gervais joked about the cost of hiring the venue as he performed to a sell-out crowd of 8000 people, and took a swipe at critics with the tongue-in-cheek remark "you get what you pay for".

A spokeswoman for Gervais would not confirm how much profit was made or how much money would ultimately be donated to the cancer charity.

Ticket sales for the gig would have brought in around 300,000, though one Fringe promoter predicted that there would not be "a lot left" after the costs of hiring the Castle and advertising have been deducted.

In any case, Elspeth Atkinson, Macmillan's director for Scotland, said she was delighted with the comic's gesture. "Every donation, no matter how small, is significant, and this generous donation will make a considerable difference to the work we do.

"Macmillan helps improve the lives of people affected by cancer by providing practical, medical, emotional and financial support, and by pushing for better cancer care.

"We greatly appreciate the support of Ricky Gervais and look forward to receiving further information on the total amount being donated."

Colin Fox, Scottish Socialist Party leader and chairman of the Edinburgh People's Festival, has also welcomed the charity pledge.

He previously hit out the "scandalous" cost of tickets for the show, saying that it illustrated how much the Festival had "forgotten its roots".

Mr Fox - who re-launched the People's Festival in 2002 as a protest against the " expensive" International Festival - described it as "terrific news".

He said: "I would welcome that gesture by Ricky Gervais, and it should be everybody's attitude.

"It is the same ethos that the People's Festival carries out because all our events are either free or [charge] a nominal fee to cover costs.

"He has learnt what the People's Festival is all about and he would be very welcome to take part in it next year."

Tommy Sheppard, director of The Stand Comedy Club, insisted that a show on such a scale should never have been allowed to take place during the Fringe.

He said: "He would have spent 50,000 hiring the Castle and well over 100,000 on promoting and advertising the gig.

"I do hope Macmillan get something out of it, but I wouldn't have though there would be a lot left.

Historic Scotland, which runs the Castle, refused to say how much it cost to hire the venue for the gig.

A spokesman added: "The facility fee pricing for all our properties is on a project-by-project, event-by-event basis, with the final amount confidential to the client only.

"Costs are relative to the scale of the productions with the level of involvement from both our staff and properties fully taken into account.

"We are delighted the Ricky Gervais concert was a success."

 
 
 

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