Graham Linehan arrives to perform outside Scottish Parliament

Graham Linehan arrives to defiantly perform outside the Scottish Parliament after outrage at two Edinburgh festival venues that cancelled him for his gender critical views

Father Ted writer Graham Linehan has arrived to defiantly perform outside the Scottish Parliament after outrage that another venue cancelled an Edinburgh Fringe show – after the original venue axed it over his gender critical views.

Organisers Comedy Unleashed started their show outside the Scottish Parliament at 7.30pm tonight after a replacement venue cancelled the stand-up comedy performance.

Original venue Leith Arches took the decision to cancel their booking of Linehan earlier this week, saying the Irishman’s views did not ‘align’ with their overall values.

Linehan, who also wrote TV sitcoms The IT Crowd and Black Books, is a vocal critic of the trans rights movement.

Linehan is best known as the creator of the still hugely popular Father Ted Channel Four series

Andrew Doyle, who organises Comedy Unleashed, said this evening that their replacement venue had also cancelled, tweeting at 7.15pm: ‘Our replacement venue for Comedy Unleashed at the Edinburgh fringe has now also cancelled on us.

READ MORE: Furious ticketholders blast Edinburgh Fringe comedy club for cancelling Graham Linehan

‘So @Glinner [Graham Linehan] and the other acts will do the gig on a small stage outside the Scottish parliament at Holyrood at 7:30pm.

‘This show is happening, whether these activists approve or not.’

Comedy Unleashed co-founder Andy Shaw tweeted a video of a large crowd sat outside Holyrood at around 7.50pm this evening. He tweeted: ‘People gathering for to oddest gig at the #EdFringe.’

Leith Arches said on Wednesday: ‘It was brought to our attention at the very last minute of the very controversial line-up.

‘We work very closely with the LGBT+ community, it is a considerable part of our revenue, we believe hosting this one-off show would have a negative effect on future bookings.’

Comedy Unleashed earlier said it had found a second venue to host Linehan’s scheduled performance but it too has now decided to pull the show.

The club said on X, formerly known as Twitter: ‘Our replacement venue has cancelled on us too, but we’re still going ahead tonight at 7.30! Ticket holders have been emailed with the new location.’

Earlier this week, Linehan told TalkTV’s Julia Hartley-Brewer he would consider suing Leith Arches for cancelling his gig if it refused to take him back.

He said: ‘It was a sell-out. But you do get used to this kind of thing after a while. It never really makes you feel good.

‘If they apologise and put the gig on, I’ll say no more about it, but otherwise I’ll be looking at legal action.’

Graham Linehan holds the award in the Comedy category for The IT Crowd at the 36th International Emmy Awards November 24, 2008 in New York

Helen (left), with whom Linehan created the hugely popular comedy series Motherland, was threatened and her address released online. They separated during lockdown

Linehan was set to join a comedy night at the Leith Arches venue (pictured) on Thursday as part of a line up put together by comedian Andrew Doyle

The venue’s statement appeared to say the decision was a purely commercial decision

Comedian Andrew Doyle, who is due to appear alongside Linehan at another scheduled Comedy Unleashed show in London next month, said: ‘It is astonishing that a comedy night at the largest arts festival in the world should be prevented from going ahead, simply because activists are offended.

‘The comedy industry is in a dire state. It’s about time that promoters, venues, comedy critics and comedians made a concerted effort to support free expression in the arts.’

Leith Arches insisted earlier this week its decision to cancel Thursday’s booking was not influenced by activists.

It said: ‘The decision was not influenced by the pressure of online activists, but by our regular community who use this space on a daily, weekly and [monthly] basis.’

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