Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo 2011 - Fact file
- Lauren Mayberry
- 8 July 2011
This article is from 2011.
The display of massed military viewed by 100 million people annually
1 The Edinburgh Tattoo first took place in 1950. It was first shown on colour television in 1968.
2 The word 'tattoo' comes from the old Dutch phrase 'doe den tap toe', meaning 'turn off the taps', which was a call used at closing time in 17th century bars. The stationed British army adopted the practice and it became a signal, played by a regiment's drum corps each night, that tavern owners should stop serving sweet ales so that the soldiers would return to barracks.
3 The Tattoo has never been cancelled and has always been staged outdoors at Edinburgh Castle. Take that, you soggy Scottish summertime, you.
4 Over 40 nations have been represented at the Tattoo over the years.
5 The 'Royal' part of the Tattoo's title was added by the Queen last year, in honour of the Diamond Jubilee and to celebrate 60 years of the Tattoo's existence.
6 100 million people watch the Tattoo coverage on telly each year, 70% of whom are from outside bonnie Scotland.
7 Dame Elizabeth Taylor's fourth husband, Hollywood film producer Mike Todd, made a documentary about the Edinburgh Tattoo in the 1950s.
8 Around 35 miles of cabling – the distance from Glasgow to Edinburgh – is required to power the Tattoo each year.
9 The Tattoo is a charitable organisation, donating proceeds to servicemen's charities such as the Army Benevolent Fund and arts organisations like Edinburgh International Festival.
10 In 2009, Sir Sean Connery did the voice-over for an advert promoting the DVD highlights of that year's Tattoo. Fitting, given the former James Bond and/or silver fox famously sports a 'Scotland Forever' tattoo on his arm.
The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo, Edinburgh Castle, 0131 225 1188, 5 Aug, 8.30pm, 6–27 Aug, Mon–Fri 9pm, Sat 7.30pm & 10.30pm, no show Sun, £23–£58. See our article on the 2011 Tattoo for more info.