Edinburgh tourism set to soar with release of Burke and Hare film

By Christine Lavelle

Tourism experts are predicting a flood of visitors to Edinburgh later this month when the long-awaited Burke and Hare film is set to be released.

The city’s museums and guided tours are filled with everything movie fans need to know about the ‘real story’ behind the terrifying 19th century killers.

A spokesperson for Visit Scotland said the film will be the highlight of the city’s Halloween activities this year, which is traditionally the busiest period for the capital’s ghostly tour companies.

Stuart Nicoll, co-founder of West Port Tours, said most ghost and murder tour companies tend to refresh their content around Halloween, which keeps people coming back.

He said: “I would imagine the interest in our tour will increase once the film has come out as ours is so specific.

“We had the director John Landis out on a tour when he was in Edinburgh for the filming. Continue reading

Burke and Hare real-life remains kept at Edinburgh museums

By Christine Lavelle

Burke and Hare, starring Simon Pegg and Andy Serkis, is released in the UK on October 30.

Images come from Edinburgh University’s Anatomy Museum and the Surgeon’s Hall:

Ronnie Corbett joins Burke and Hare filming

Ronnie Corbett fends off the mobs

By Ann Sulieman

SCOTS actor Ronnie Corbett was making his point waving a sword on location at Stirling Castle yesterday after filming of Burke and Hare switched venues from Edinburgh.

The Two Ronnies star donned a uniform while getting into character in the wintry surroundings in his role as Captain McLintock.

Directed by John Landis – who made Michael Jackson’s Thriller video – Edinburgh born Corbett plays a key part in the film about bodysnatchers William Burke and William Hare.

Corbett, who stars alongside Simon Pegg and Andy Serkis, was getting into the swing of things as he held a large crowd of extras at bay in the courtyard of the historic building.

Continue reading

Fraser Suites opens ‘Landmark’ hotel on historic Edinburgh site

by SHAUN MILNE

THE historic site of what was once the former ‘Fleet Street of Scotland’ will be relaunched tonight as a multi-million pound luxury hotel.

Fraser Suites have taken over a restored Grade B Listed Building, which was once home to the Edinburgh Courant offices in the 19th Century.

As one of the UK’s first regional newspapers its editors included such well known names as Robinson Crusoe author Daniel Defoe.

LANDMARK: Fraser Suites Edinburgh

The street near the Royal Mile in Edinburgh, also housed a number of national newspapers, making it Scotland’s press headquarters of the day.

It also marks a ‘homecoming’ for Frasers, whose pioneering Scots founders, John Fraser and David Chalmers Neave, ventured to Singapore to found Fraser & Neave Limited in 1883 – the Singapore-based conglomerate which now owns Frasers Hospitality. Continue reading

Maker of Michael Jackson “Thriller” video visits Edinburgh for new film

Burkes SkeletonBy Oliver Farrimond

HOLLYWOOD movie mogul John Landis paid a visit to Edinburgh’s spookiest sites to prepare for his forthcoming film about the one of the Capital’s most grisly episodes.

The maker of Michael Jackson’s Thriller video booked himself on a private Burke and Hare murder tour to prepare for his comic-horror adaption – which already has Simon Pegg lined up to star.

Tour operators The West Port Tours, who are set to launch their Burke and Hare Murder Tours on 26 October, gave the famous director a one-off preview to help him scout for locations last month.

28-year-old Stuart Nicoll, co-owner of The West Port Tours, said: “I clocked him right away because I’m a big fan of Trading Places and Coming to America.

“Obviously the subject matter of the tour is dark and scary, so it was great to show him around. Continue reading

Edinburgh city chiefs want help with 100 dead bodies a year

Ross Sneddon FuneralBy Oliver Farrimond

THE HOME of infamous Scots murderers Burke and Hare is advertising for help in dealing with the unburied bodies of around 100 people every year.

Many are forgotten John or Jane Does who have died on the city streets, others simply the unfortunate few destined for a pauper’s grave because no one else will meet the cost of their funeral.

Now Edinburgh council chiefs have advertised an £85,000-a-year contract for help to cope with the numbers.

All local authorities are legally bound to ensure funerals are held if no other arrangements are made.

And the grim work is now up for tender with a lucrative contract worth £85,000 a year – or £850 per body. Continue reading

Simon Pegg to star in Burke and Hare film

Burke and Hare

By Cara Sulieman

COMEDIAN Simon Pegg is poised to star in a film about infamous Scots murderers Burke and Hare.

Since the film was announced last year, actors such as Ewan McGregor and Colin Farrell have all been tipped for the lead roles.

But director John Landis – famous for horror films such as An American Werewolf in Paris and Michael Jackson’s Thriller video – hinted that the British star has already signed up for the role.

At the US Monster-Mania Convention in New Jersey on Saturday, the legendary filmmaker told fans that Pegg had been lined up to star as Hare.

Continue reading

Inspector Rebus author Ian Rankin injured – while hanging out his laundry

Ian Rankin opens MUSA

By Alexander Lawrie

REBUS author Ian Rankin has been suffering excruciating back pain – after pulling a muscle while hanging out his washing.

The Scots writer was proving his ‘new man’ credentials by helping to hang out his smalls out at his Edinburgh home on Saturday.

But just as he bent down to hang the last of his clothes, he felt his back go.

The award-winning novelist is now off to his doctors to help cure the excruciating pain.

Rankin has also expressed his reservations over the new Burke and Hare movie to be filmed in Edinburgh next year.

The film, starring Ewan McGregor and Colin Farrell, is rumoured to be a comedy based on the lives of Scotland’s most famous serial killers.

The Scots author could be seen visibly wincing while opening the new £2 million St Andrews University Museum on Tuesday

When asked to bend down and pose beside two life masks of the infamous grave robbers, Burke and Hare, by the assembled photo pack, the Fife-born writer complained of suffering back pain.

He later revealed his injury was caused by doing his domestic chores.

He said: “Yes, I’ve done my back in. Boringly, though, I did it by picking up some washing at home, nothing exciting at all.

“I’m planning on going to the doctor this week because the pain is almost unbearable.

“I just couldn’t bend down when the photographers asked me to.”

The best-selling crime author also revealed he hasn’t been asked to participate in the planned movie of the Burke and Hare story to be filmed in the capital early next year.

His novel The Falls is based on the 17 tiny wooden coffins found on an Edinburgh hillside which are rumoured to have been buried in memory of Burke and Hare’s victims.

But he did express doubts over the planned format of the film starring Trainspotting actor Ewan McGregor.

He said: “Like the majority of people I just read about it in the newspapers at the weekend.

“But I was interested in the fact they seem to be doing it as a comedy. One of the rumours about it is that will be comedic and I’m not really sure about that.

“But I will be fascinated to see what comes out of it.”

It has been reported Ealing Studios are to begin shooting the movie in Edinburgh in March next year.

Rebus Author Working On New Screenplay

By Alexander Lawrie

REBUS author Ian Rankin has revealed he is working on the screenplay of a classic novel.

The Fife-born writer is in talks with a well-known director and producer to create a film of The Confessions of Justified Sinner by James Hogg.

And the next few months will be busy for the crime writer as he prepares to start literary life without his most famous character – when he begins a new novel in January.

But he admits he only knows three things about it, and won’t know more until he starts writing.

He said: “I am starting to work on a new book. It’s very early in the planning stage but I do know it will be a crime story, it will be set in Scotland and it won’t feature Rebus.

“I won’t really know much more about it until I start writing it properly – that’s how I work.”

He is being kept busy by another project – the screenplay for a major new film.

He said: “I’m working on a really exciting project with a well-known director and producer it’s the screen play to one of Scotland’s great unread classics, The Confessions of a Justified Sinner.

“We have already approached a number of film councils about funding.”

The author was speaking as he returned to St Andrews University to open their museum yesterday (TUES)

Rankin came face-to-face with Scotland’s most famous serial killers, Burke and Hare, as he officially opened the £2million building.

Luckily for the author, he only met the grave robbers life masks – which are going on display in the museum.

Ian Rankin opens MUSA

Rankin’s latest novel Doors Open is set in the National Gallery of Scotland but he joked that perhaps he wasn’t first choice to open the brand new attraction.

He said: “I can’t help feel they went down the list and after John Cleese and JK Rowling turned it down they got to me.

“Seriously though, I’m really proud to be asked to open the new St Andrews University Museum. I used to come here for my holidays as a child, so St Andrew’s holds a lot of personal memories for me.

“Personally I love museums as they give me a lot of inspiration for my writing.”

The new museum at Scotland’s oldest university was made possible by a £500,000 grant from the heritage lottery fund along with a number of private and charitable donations.

Dr Brian Lang, principal of the university, said he was very pleased the new museum will preserve and display some of the university’s oldest and most significant artefacts.

These include three medieval maces, paintings medals and rare books.

Colin McLean, head of the heritage lottery fun in Scotland said: “The story of this important sear of learning and how it has influenced the lives of students and staff can now be conserved and celebrated with the opening of this fascinating museum. We are delighted to have helped make that happen.”