If there’s one thing Britain’s brilliant at producing these days it’s decent TV drama. From Poldark to Downton Abbey, Wolf Hall to Happy Valley, there’s rarely a Sunday night that we aren’t glued to our TV screens.
It’s no wonder then that so many wonderful dramas are up for discussion at the first ever Radio Times Festival. Running from September 24th to 27th in the grounds of Hampton Court Palace, the four-day TV, radio and literary event is set to be a real treat for fans.
So, what’s in it for drama lovers?
1. You can crack crime
Fancy going behind the scenes of some of the biggest crime dramas?
He may be best known from bringing back Doctor Who but Russell T Davies’ dramatic roots stretch back as far as Queer As Folk. The screenwriter most recently penned the critically acclaimed Cucumber for Channel 4 and will be on hand to explain how he made the journey from Swansea schoolboy to leading creative voice. (Book tickets)
The fight for transgender equality hit newspaper front pages in 2014, when boxing promoter Kellie Maloney announced that she was undergoing gender realignment surgery. And this year, actress Rebecca Root broke new ground by becoming the first transgender sitcom lead in BBC2’s Boy Meets Girl. Kellie will discuss her new book, Frankly Kellie: Becoming a Woman in a Man’s World, as both women talk about busting societal taboos and adjusting to their new lives on Friday 25th. (Book tickets)
3. Talk Tennison with the woman who gave us one of Britain’s best female cops
On Saturday Lynda La Plante will be the Prime Suspect as she discusses her new novel Tennison. The book, which delves into the past of her famous DCI, is already being adapted by ITV so La Plante will be sharing insights into the new show, due to hit TV screens in 2016. (Book tickets)
4. Take a step back in time
Our fascination with historical royals exploded into life once again in 2015 thanks to Tudor epic Wolf Hall, so series director Peter Kominsky will take us through the period drama’s journey on Friday 25th. (Book tickets)
Borman will also be hosting a very special session on Thomas Cromwell, discussing her biography of the man she calls Henry VIII’s Most Faithful Servant. (Book tickets)
And fans of The White Queen should stop by on Saturday 26th to see Philippa Gregory. The author of the book that inspired the hit TV series will be discussing her latest novel, The Taming of The Queen, which is set in Henry VIII’s court and is already a New York Times bestseller. (Book tickets)
Or if you’d rather head to Brum with the Peaky Blinders, stick around until 8.30pm when Cillian Murphy and series creator and writer Steven Knight will be discussing the forthcoming third series (Book tickets)
5. Make a date with the Midwife
Sunday nights on BBC1 wouldn’t be the same without Call The Midwife, which manages to pull in more than ten million viewers on a weekly basis.
If you love the show you’d best be sure to make an appointment with Sister Julienne aka Jenny Agutter: she’ll join executive producer Pippa Harris and writer Heidi Thomas to lift the lid on the forthcoming fifth series on Saturday 26th. (Book tickets)
Behind every great man there are equally (if not more) wonderful women and Sherlock’s Steven Moffat knows that all too well.
He’s joined by the Women of Sherlock, producer Sue Vertue and series stars Una Stubbs, Louise Brealey and Amanda Abbington – the steadfast Mrs Hudson, marvellous Molly Hooper and mischievous/mysterious Mary Morstan – to discuss what it takes to keep the boys of 221b Baker Street in line. (Book tickets)
8. And find out how they put hair on Poldark’s chest
If there’s one TV drama that captured the imagination in 2015 it’s Poldark and the cast and crew will be on hand to talk about the smash-hit show on Sunday 27th.
Joining them will be Andrew Graham, who’ll discuss his father’s writing, including the book Poldark’s Cornwall, which highlights the show’s other main attraction – the setting itself. (Book tickets)