We’ve always had talent

The Harmonica Aces from West Pilton in a talent contest at the YMCA Theatre in July 1958
The Harmonica Aces from West Pilton in a talent contest at the YMCA Theatre in July 1958
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THE crowds were out in force as the nation’s biggest talent show rolled in to town to find the country’s next big star.

Simon Cowell, David Walliams, ­Alesha Dixon and Amanda Holden joined fans outside the Festival Theatre this week as hopefuls lined up for their chance to get a slot in Britain’s Got Talent.

Evening News reporter Scott Begbie auditions at the Kings Theatre for the part of the corpse in The Real Inspector Hound in April 1984

Evening News reporter Scott Begbie auditions at the Kings Theatre for the part of the corpse in The Real Inspector Hound in April 1984

And there were hundreds of people ready to brave the stage to try and impress the judges, with reports afterwards suggesting Edinburgh dished up plenty of stars and may even have ­produced a winner on the first day.

Of course the city has always been a hotbed for talent and back in July 1958 it was the youngsters from West Pilton’s Harmonica Aces who were impressing the judges at a talent ­contest held in the YMCA Theatre.

Some talents are less obvious – in April 1984, Evening News reporter Scott Begbie was being prodded with a wooden stick as he ­auditioned for the part of a corpse in The Real Inspector Hound, set to run at the King’s Theatre. And he had to ensure he wouldn’t laugh or flinch when a gun was fired.

There was open-air talent on show in July 1969 when Sandra Comrie of Kilsyth sung her heart out at the Inverleith Park competition. And while they say never work with children or animals, both are a staple of talent contests, and a staff member at the King’s Theatre had the tricky task of wrangling a group of fame-hungry hounds for an audition in February 1966.

Sandra Comrie sings in Inverleith Park, 1969

Sandra Comrie sings in Inverleith Park, 1969

All you really need, though, is a piano and some willing participants, and the Leith Links talent contest in July 1969 had youngsters accompanied by pianist Bob Kidd as they sung their hearts out.

Auditioning dogs at the King's Theatre in February 1966

Auditioning dogs at the King's Theatre in February 1966

Bob Kidd at the piano for a talent show in 1969

Bob Kidd at the piano for a talent show in 1969