CRIME author Ian Rankin will be dicing with a new form of death – the risk of dying on stage – as he tries his hand at stand-up comedy for an Edinburgh-based radio show.
The Rebus author was convinced to take to the stage by Richard Melvin, director of Dabster Productions, as part of a new show for Radio Four.
The local media mogul started his radio career as a volunteer at Radio Forth, but now has three shows commissioned for the BBC station – more than any other Scottish producer.
And now he has managed to get one of Scotland’s most famous crime authors to step out of his comfort zone and into the bright spotlight of stand-up.
Richard, 39, explained: “I got Ian Rankin to try a bit of comedy on The Speakeasy, which begins on Radio 4 this Sunday after becoming one of the most popular regular nights at The Scottish Storytelling Centre. The show is all about getting lots of different people, be they storytellers, musicians, or comedians, to come together and try something different.
“We gave Ian 12 minutes on a show with established stand-ups Jo Caulfield, Richard Herring and Janey Godley, and told him the only rule was that he had to be funny. He was quite apprehensive about it, but he rose to the challenge fantastically.”
And while Richard claims the crime king kept his cool, the author himself admitted he may still be recovering from his foray on to the stage. Mr Rankin said: “The first time you do anything in public is nerve-wracking. And I know enough comedians to know that they sweat blood to get a ten minute routine perfected. So . . . no pressure going out in front of a comedy audience and telling them a couple of stories. No pressure at all. And I’d like to thank my therapist for helping me write this.”
Alongside The Speakeasy, which features a host of familiar and less established acts from around Edinburgh and beyond, Dabster Productions, which was formed in 2006, will also be bringing highly anticipated The Lach Chronicles to radio, with a pilot for panel show The Good, The Bad and The Unexpected already in the bag.
Dabster has also put in a bid to take over Capital Radio, should the monopolies commission rule it has to be sold on by owners Global Radio.
Richard explained: “I want to make radio programmes by people in Scotland, for people in Scotland, that will also appeal to a wider audience in the rest of the UK.
“We have so much great talent right here, and all Dabster want to do is encourage them to do the best and be the best they can – and they don’t have to go to London to do it.”
The episode of The Speakeasy featuring Ian Rankin will be broadcast on August 11.