Basil Brush, a TV star for more than 50 years who has even guest edited an edition of the Evening News will return to Underbelly, at George Square for three performances only this August.
Basil says, "Basil the ginge is back on the Fringe, it’s booming marvelous to be invited back and a short run is better than no run... That’s what my fitness instructor says. We need a laugh at this time and I’m just the furry furloughed fox to make you all do just that. Ha! Ha! Ha! Boom! Boom! So, warm up the haggis, whip out your sporrans, I’m ready to come back from my lockdown lair."Basil's right hand man, Mr Martin, adds, "We had such an amazing time at the Edinburgh Fringe in 2019 that we can’t wait to return this year. I’ve had to put up with Mr Brush and his diva-like demands in these never ending lockdowns so it’s time to unleash him back out to the public to give me a break. I can’t wait to return to Underbelly and Edinburgh and to be taken up Arthur’s seat once again. I always have a good time in Edinburgh."
With Underbelly's big purple cow taking year out, Basil reveals that he is looking forward to being the only animal in George Square Gardens. He will play three performance, two of Basil Brush Unleashed Volume 2 shows at 6.30pm on August 21 and 22, and one Basil Brush's Family Fun Show at 12.30pm, on August 22.
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Basil adds, "Lockdown was difficult for everyone, try being a furry furloughed fox. I found myself staring out the window in the morning and said, 'Stop it Basil. What are you going to do in the afternoon? Ha! Ha! Ha! Boom! Boom! I did try to find a viable occupation, I thought with this brush I might be a painter and decorator. I trained alongside an airline pilot. We started a house and he did a darn good job of the landing... BOOM! BOOM!"
The little fox has been busy throughout lockdown helping to raise £100k for the Marie Curie charity by hosting online quizzes as well as becoming a "big boom boom hit on zoom" chatting to kids in hospital. He could also be found singing old time songs on YouTube as part of the the Smiling Sessions series entertaining people living in care homes.
He says, "I have now been double jagged, for mange as well; that’s a problem for us foxes. I’ll be safe and can’t wait to get back to the Fringe with my sidekick Mr Martin but we’re not in a Bubble so rehearsals will be tricky but we will rehearse on zoom to create the boom. My kilt is packed and my enormous sporran has been brought out of retirement."
Basil Brush: Unleashed Volume Two will take up from where the 2019 show left off. Risque, boisterous and downright daft, Basil brings the watershed forward for some good old-school, not always politically correct, belly laughs - in other words. Last time he turned his attention to politics and dating apps, water-pistols and custard pies and there was even a sing-along glittering finale. It suitable for ages 16+.
Nostalgia is indeed a powerful tool and Basil knows how to bend and shape it to ensure each generation of fans gets something from it. An icon of children's television, the original Basil Brush glove puppet was designed by Peter Firmin and voiced by Ivan Owen until 2000, when be died. Basil actually made his screen debut on ITV in 1962 in The Three Scampies, the story of an out-of-work circus act. By the mid-1960s he had become a supporting act for the magician David Nixon. He was given his own BBC TV series in 1968, which ran for 12 years until 1980, accompanied by various famous side-kicks including Rodney Bewes of The Likely Lads (Mr Rodney), Derek Fowlds of Yes Minister fame (as Mr Derek) and actor/singer Roy North (Mr Roy). The Basil Brush Show returned to TV screens in 2002 when it ran until 2007.
In recent years Basil has continued to make people laugh, appearing in pantomime every Christmas.
When he debuted on the Fringe in 2019, Basil joined the Evening News editorial team for the morning conference where he shared his insights into the topics of the day during the paper's most unconventional conference ever. Topics discussed with Live Editor Stephen Wilkie included foxes feeding from Edinburgh's over-flowing bins, the noise problems created by amorous foxes at night and the prospect of the return of fox hunting.
At the time he admitted, "It was very intimidating having so many very, very clever people around the table all wanting to find a good headline about foxes. But I was very honoured to be asked as an English fox in Scotland to guest edit a Scottish newspaper - although I am quite Scottish because I'm ginger and only 18 inches tall."
Tickets for Basil's 2021 Fringe shows go on sale on today, August 28, at noon.
Basil Brush: Unleashed Volume 2, Underbelly, George Square, 6.30pm, August 21 & 22, £14.50-£15.50, Basil Brush’s Family Fun Show, Underbelly, George Square, 12.30pm, August 22, £10-£11.00, www.underbellyedinburgh.co.uk