9 reasons to bunk off work and head to the Radio Times Festival on Friday

Jon Snow, Peter Capaldi, Steven Moffat, Russell T Davies, Emilia Fox and Tim Brooke-Taylor are just a few of the TV favourites who will be appearing on Friday 25th September

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Who doesn’t love a four-day week? Especially when a raft of famous faces, a rare slice of comedy history, free premieres and a tour of the real Wolf Hall are involved – and all this and more can be found at the Radio Times Festival on Friday 25th September.

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Some of the biggest names in TV, radio and literature will descend on the grounds of Hampton Court this weekend. Peter Capaldi, Steven Moffat, Cillian Murphy, Paul Hollywood, Rebecca Front, Rebecca Root, Amanda Abbington, Mark Gatiss, Jon Snow, Andrew Marr, Candace Bushnell, Omid Djalili, Jenny Agutter, David Nicholls and Gogglebox’s posh couple Steph and Dom will all be stopping by for sessions during the four-day extravaganza.

Sir David Attenborough officially begins proceedings on Thursday September 24th, speaking about his 60 years in broadcasting (tickets still available here) before accepting his place in Radio Times’ inaugural Hall of Fame.

And then, on Friday morning, the festival begins in earnest. You can…


1. Ask Jon Snow what he really thinks about Jeremy Corbyn, David Cameron and British politics

Always admired the face of Channel 4 News? You can put your questions to him as he talks about his fascinating career in broadcast journalism.

He’s covered almost every big story of the past 25 years, from the fall of the Berlin Wall to Nelson Mandela’s release, so there’ll be plenty to discuss when he sits down to relay his tales from 2.30pm. (Book tickets)


2. Spend lunch time watching Rob Lowe – for free!

Get a first look at Sky1’s new comedy-drama You, Me and The Apocalypse without paying a penny.

This tale, about the last days of mankind, stars Rob Lowe, Mat Baynton, Jenna Fischer and Pauline Quirke. We’ve got a screening of the first episode at midday and you can put questions to cast members Mat Baynton and Paterson Joseph, too. (Book tickets)


3. Have a ball in the real Wolf Hall

Our fascination with historical royals reached new heights in 2015 thanks to Tudor epic Wolf Hall. Series director Peter Kominsky will take us through the period drama’s journey at 5.30pm on Friday 25th. (Book tickets)

Or if you’d rather see the real Wolf Hall, why not join historian and joint chief curator of Historic Royal Palaces Tracy Borman, who will be on hand to take festival-goers on a tour of Hampton Court at 12.30pm. (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)


4. Get back to nature with Alastair Fothergill

If the daily grind is getting you down, there’s no better man to get you out of town than Alastair Fothergill.

The producer of landmark series such as Planet Earth and Frozen Planet has helped shape how we see the natural world and will be revealing how he does it.

The former head of the BBC’s Natural History Unit will show us clips from and discuss his upcoming series for the BBC, The Hunt, which looks in detail at the relationship between predators and their prey from 2.30pm. (Book tickets)


5. See a piece of TV comedy history that was thought lost to the world

Are you a fan of the Pythons? Then you’ll be delighted to hear that the BFI has unearthed a valuable piece of television history.

Two missing episodes of the cult comedy At Last the 1948 Show – a precursor to Monty Python – have been found 48 years after they aired and you can see one of them at the Radio Times Festival on Friday at 2.30pm.

The episodes from the 1967 show, which starred John Cleese, Graham Chapman, Tim Brooke-Taylor, Marty Feldman, and “the lovely” Aimi Macdonald (with many other guest stars), had been thought lost until a fan named Mark Rigby alerted the British Film Institute, the organisation whose long-running Missing Believed Wiped initiative has unearthed an array of lost TV programmes from Doctor Who episodes to Dad’s Army.

Even better, Tim Brooke-Taylor will be on hand to discuss the episode and the show. (Book tickets)


6. Fancy a free thrill ride with Jekyll and Hyde?

Get a sneak preview of ITV’s blockbuster autumn drama, Jekyll and Hyde, with an exclusive free screening of the first episode at 4pm.

The ten-part, big-budget production, inspired by Robert Louis Stevenson’s classic tale, has been written by Charlie Higson, and stars Richard E Grant, Tom Bateman and Natalie Gumede.

Gumede, executive producer Francis Hopkinson and Charlie Higson will be on hand to answer audience questions after the screening. (Book tickets)


7. Take a trip down memory lane with Russell T Davies

The man who brought the Doctor back to our screens ten years ago will be talking about his own adventure in space and time, explaining how he went from Swansea schoolboy to leading screenwriter.

Got a question about Nine or Ten that you’ve always wanted to ask? Then you’d best get your bum on a seat fast. He’s in session on Friday September 25th at 4pm. (Book Tickets)


8. Just what the Doctor ordered: a Time Lord and the man behind him

There will most definitely be a Doctor in the room when Peter Capaldi and Steven Moffat sit down for a chat with Frank Skinner, just six days after The Magician’s Apprentice hit out TV screens. We’re sure Whovians are brimming with questions to ask about Clara’s departure and the Doctor’s next companion.

Have you got a burning question for the 12th Doctor and the man who keeps him travelling through space and time? The pair will also be joined by executive producer Brian Minchin so there’ll be plenty of Who powers-that-be on hand to give us the inside scoop on everyone’s favourite Time Lord from 7pm.

Timey-wimey to get a ticket while they’re still available. (Book here)


9. You don’t even have to miss Gogglebox

Don’t shoot off home too soon! You can also catch Sex and The City creator Candace Bushnell talking about her new novel Killing Monica, Silent Witness star Emilia Fox bringing the pathology drama to the festival, Annie Nightingale reflecting upon her six decades in radio with Edith Bowman and Omid Djalili discussing his new biography.

Worried about missing Gogglebox? Don’t. The show’s co-creators and producers Tania Alexander and Stephen Lambert will be on hand to take us behind the scenes with real-life Goggleboxers Mary and Giles in tow to bring the TV-watching magic to the festival stage. Tickets are still available here.

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The Radio Times Festival runs from Thursday September 24th to Sunday September 27th. For more information about the full line-up, head to the official website.


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