There’s a TV, radio and literature extravaganza going on within the boundary of the M25 this weekend and everyone who’s anyone is going to be there. Yes, it’s the first EVER Radio Times Festival and it’s a four day event that’s not to be missed.
Even the celebs are coming out in their droves to talk telly, radio, reading and writing with some of the finest names in Britain so if you’re up for a weekend of respectable star spotting then you’d best make your way to the ticket booth.
1. Sir David Attenborough
Nature’s Number 1 kicks the proceedings off on Thursday evening, taking us from the poles to the tropics as he discusses his 60 year career in broadcasting.
2. Russell T Davies
The man who brought Doctor Who back to our TV screens, gave us Cucumber, and is soon to adapt A Midsummer Night’s Dream discusses his journey from Swansea schoolboy to leading creative voice.
3. Natalie Gumede
Corrie’s Kirsty has come a long way since she left the Cobbles, dancing up a storm on Strictly and making some cracking drama. She’s the leading lady in ITV’s autumn blockbuster Jekyll & Hyde and will be on hand to answer questions after an exclusive FREE preview screening.
4. Candace Bushnell
If you’re a big fan of Sex & The City, Lipstick Jungle and The Carrie Diaries then you will NOT want to miss the chance to see Candace Bushnell live. The New York Times best-selling author will be in session to discuss her new novel Killing Monica on Friday night.
5. Peter Capaldi
The Doctor is IN. Peter Capaldi’s popping by to talk all about Doctor Who series 9 on Friday evening, just six days after he and the Tardis returned to our TV screens. Got a burning question? Don’t miss the chance to put it to him yourself on the night. Book tickets
6. Steven Moffat
You can’t talk Doctor Who without its showrunner now can you? Steven Moffat’s got a busy weekend at the Festival, and you’ll have TWO opportunities to see him. On Friday night he’s talking Doctor Who with Peter Capaldi, Frank Skinner and Brian Minchin, followed by a Sunday Women of Sherlock session that’ll knock yer sleuthing socks off.
7. Mark Gatiss
Speaking of Doctor Who and Sherlock, Mark Gatiss is making his way to Hampton Court too. The man who penned an episode for series 9 will join Moffat, Sue Vertue, Amanda Abbington, Una Stubbs and Louise Brealey for Women of Sherlock on Sunday.
8. Emilia Fox
Can you believe Silent Witness is almost 20 years old? There’s nobody better to discuss the iconic BBC series than the enigmatic Dr Nikki Alexander herself, Emilia Fox. She’ll be showing us how to catch a killer with the assistance of the show’s forensic pathology adviser Dr Stuart Hamilton and writer Graham Mitchell.
9. Omid Djalili
Couldn’t get your hands on a ticket for his box office busting tour? Catch Omid chatting about his memoir, Hopeful, with Natalie Hynes on Friday night.
10. Shaun Evans
Bringing Inspector Morse back to TV screens has been some Endeavour for Shaun Evans, but he certainly has done a delightful job with the detective’s younger incarnation. Ask him how he does it and what lies ahead in series 3 on Saturday.
11. John Challis
Being Boycie must be a right laugh, eh? You’d have to ask John Challis, and it just so happens you can on Saturday afternoon because the Only Fools and Horses star will be sitting down for a chat with RadioTimes.com’s Tim Glanfield. Don’t miss it Marlene!
12. Danny Dyer
Ever wanted to scream GET OUT OF MY PUB? Danny Dyer’s got that luxury on EastEnders these days. He and cast mate Natalie Cassidy join EastEnders boss Dominic Treadwell-Collins to talk about life in Walford, and what it’s like to grow up in London’s most famous East End square.
13. Mackenzie Crook
Danebury’s Metal Detecting Club broke comedy records on BBC4 and two Baftas later it’s back for a second series. Who better to tell us the secrets of the show’s success than writer, director and star Mackenzie Crook?
14. Paul Hollywood
If you want to make a brilliant loaf of bread there’s no better man to consult that Paul Hollywood. GBBO’s male judge will be giving his advice, tips and tricks for baking all sorts – from big crusty loaves to glorious gateaux. And if you catch him on Saturday you’ll surely go home armed with some exciting ideas for Sunday’s pud.
15. Steph & Dom
Friday nights might be spent watching them on the Gogglebox sofa but you can get the real deal on Saturday evening as Steph & Dom drop by to discuss their Guide to Life. They’ll even be entering their top five faux pas into the Radio Times Vault of Shame.
16. Jenny Agutter
Call The Midwife never seems to have any trouble delivering of a Sunday evening with leading ladies like Jenny Agutter at the helm. She’ll be joining us at the Festival on Saturday night – along with Emerald Fennell, executive producer Pippa Harris and writer Heidi Thomas – to hint at what’s yet to come in series 5.
17. Rebecca Front
She wasn’t long stealing the show in Channel 4’s Humans earlier this year, probably because she’s no stranger to a cracking story. Rebecca Front joins Ben Miller and Kevin Eldon to talk all things Crackanory, the brilliant little series that proves bedtime stories aren’t just for kids. And there’s even a chance to view a never before aired episode with Back To The Future’s Christopher Lloyd in the storytelling chair.
18. Cillian Murphy
He’s made quite the name for himself in the theatre and on both the big and small screens but Irish actor Cillian Murphy hits the Radio Times Festival Main Stage on Saturday to talk all things Peaky Blinders. The show’s no-holds-barred portrayal of Birmingham’s criminal underworld during the interwar period excited both the critics and viewers, but without the brooding leading man the show just wouldn’t be the same.
19. Sir Bruce Forsyth
Knight of the Realm? Bafta Fellow? National treasure? How do you describe Sir Bruce Forsyth? It’s probably best to let him do it in his own words, and that’s precisely what Susanna Reid will be doing on Sunday as the pair sit down for a chat about Brucie’s incredible life on stage and screen on the Eric Stage.
20. Alex Jones
What’s Life After Strictly like? Allow former contestant Alex Jones and her panel of ex toe tappers – including Dragon’s Den’s Deborah Meaden, astrologer Russell Grant and Strictly pro Robin Windsor (who is also taking a Ballroom Dance Masterclass on Sunday morning) – to take you back to their glory days, and give their verdicts on this year’s Strictly stars.
21. Melvyn Bragg
It’s been nearly 20 years since broadcaster and author Melvyn Bragg gave us a work of historical fiction so it’s only fitting for him to be on the Eric Stage on Sunday to discuss Now Is The Time. Bragg bring to life the Peasant’s Revolt of 1381, telling the story of how a sudden uprising of common people nearly unseated the King.
22. Robson Green
From Soldier, Soldier to Unchained Melody, Robson Green has certainly made his mark and he’s been lighting up the small screen again in ITV’s adaptation of James Runcie’s Grantchester. The Robson of Robson and Jerome will be on the Ernie Stage on Sunday to talk about bringing Sidney Chambers and Geordie Keating to the small screen.
23. David Walliams
He might be best know for making rather naughty jokes but David Walliams has become a best-selling children’s author. Just days after the debut of his latest creation, Grandpa’s Great Escape, the author, actor and comedian embarks on an hour of hilarity, mischief and mayhem to celebrate his books.
24. Amanda Abbington
And last, but by no means least, Amanda Abbington and the Women of Sherlock grace the Main Stage. The veteran actress joins Una Stubbs, Louise Brealey, Sue Vertue, Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss to discuss the ladies that keep the boys of 221b Baker Street in line.
Tickets for the Festival are available (along with the full programme) via the on-site Festival Box Office or in the Radio Times Tent on the Festival grounds. You can also call 0871 2305 539* to book tickets by telephone.
*Calls cost 10 pence per minute plus standard network charges