Julie Hesmondhalgh in The Greatest Play in the History of the World …
The festival is a place where youthful ambitions are realised or thwarted. It's also somewhere that many famous faces come to see what all the fuss is about
While Irish dancer and performer Sarah Blanc tours with her love-letter to the man who donned the finest mullet in Neighbours history (for which there was a heap of competition, eh Kylie?), Jason himself is in town with a reflection on his four decades in the media spotlight. He's 50 now, you know. Jason Donovan and His Amazing Midlife Crisis, Assembly George Square Gardens, George Square,22–26 Aug, 3pm, £16–£18 (£15–£17).
Alongside journo daughter Rebecca Wilcox, the founder of Childline fields questions about her own time in the entertainment industry. For those of a certain vintage, the show title of That's Life! will immediately evoke memories of awkwardly shaped root vegetable and the hilarious sound of chattering canines. Esther Rantzen: That's Life!, Gilded Balloon Teviot, Bristo Square, 10–12 Aug, 1.30pm, £15 (£13).
The star of Cold Feet and Toast of London teams up with Rebecca Johnson (she plays Rob Brydon's wife in The Trip) as a pair of ex-lovers meeting up years later in poet Christopher Reid's The Song of Lunch. If that rings a vague bell, you may have seen the 2010 TV version starring Emma Thompson and the late Alan Rickman. Robert Bathurst in The Song of Lunch, Pleasance Courtyard, Pleasance, 4–27 Aug (not 13), 2.20pm, £12.50–£14.50 (£11.50–£13.50). Previews 1–3 Aug, £8.
She's come a long way from entertaining relatives with impersonations of Alma Cogan, and here the star of late 70s sitcom Agony and those 80s BT adverts playing grandmum Beattie (get it?) moves into cabaret mode with early evening shows promising 'rave, rollick and rant'. Maureen Lipman Is 'Up for It', Assembly George Square Theatre, George Square, 3–12 Aug, 5.45pm, £17.50 (£16.50). Previews 1 & 2 Aug, £13.50.
Maureen Lipman / credit: Jay Brooks
To some she will forever be Corrie's tragic Haley Cropper, though more recent admirers would point to crime business such as Broadchurch and Happy Valley as signs of her talent. For this Fringe, she's at the Trav in hubbie Ian Kershaw's play about a unique love story on an unremarkable street. Julie Hesmondhalgh in The Greatest Play in the History of the World … , Traverse Theatre, Cambridge Street, 3–26 Aug (not 6, 13, 20), various times, £20.50 (£15–£15.50). Preview 2 Aug, 1.45pm, £9–£13.
Best known for Peggy Ollerenshaw, the easy-led and thoroughly daft wannabe Yellowcoat in 80s BBC sitcom Hi-de-Hi!, she also stormed the hit parade in 1986 reaching number two with 'Starting Together'. In her Edinburgh debut, she plays hoarder Birdie who keeps stuff for a very good reason. Su Pollard in Harpy, Underbelly, Cowgate, 4–26 Aug (not 13), 4pm, £12–£13 (£11–£12). Previews 2 & 3 Aug, £6.50.
A gathering of true legends here as the likes of Peter Purves, Janet Ellis, Peter Duncan, Mark Curry and Tim Vincent pay their own homage to the show which launched in 1958 and made household names of many presenters, as well as some of the guests and studio pets. 'Get down Shep!' and so forth. Once Seen on Blue Peter, Assembly Rooms, George Street, 4–26 Aug (not 13), 2.50pm, £19.50–£22.50.
Thirty/20 Theatre and Something for the Weekend
Robert Bathurst (Cold Feet, Downton Abbey, Toast of London) and Rebecca Johnson (The Trip, The Flood) star in this hilarious and poignant drama of a disastrous attempt to rekindle lost love. Set in a Soho Italian restaurant, Costa Award winner Christopher Reid's verse…
Tim Vincent in association with Cahoots Theatre Company
Makes, Bakes and Outtakes. On October 16th, 1958, Blue Peter sailed onto our TV screens. 60 years and over 5,000 episodes later, an elite group of ex-presenters gather to receive an award celebrating this extraordinary anniversary. Featuring famous faces including…
Gilded Balloon and Avalon Promotions present…
Broadcasting legend Dame Esther Rantzen and her daughter, journalist Rebecca Wilcox, discuss careers and family ties. Get up close with one of our national treasures as she shares anecdotes from over 50 years in broadcasting. The star of That's Life, Strictly Come Dancing…
Tara Finney Productions in association with Royal Exchange Theatre
A love story, set on Preston Road, and also in space and in time. A man wakes in the middle of the night to discover that the world has stopped. Through the crack in his bedroom curtains, he can see no signs of life at all… other than a light in the…
I last played the Fringe 50 years ago and I can finally afford to come back. After a career that encompasses thirty odd – sometimes very odd – West End plays together with TV, radio, films, books, magazine columns and BT ads, I want to frighten myself into retirement by facing my audience, over the edge…
Suzanna Rosenthal for Something for the Weekend
Birdie’s a hoarder. The neighbours call her a harridan and a harpy, although most have never even met her. They see her hoard as a hazard for house prices. But it isn’t rubbish. It’s her life’s work and it exists because years ago something deeply cherished was stolen…