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When is the BFI and Radio Times Television Festival, what's on, and how can I buy tickets?

Everything you need to know about the star-studded television festival, including line-up, ticket information and dates

Published: Monday, 8th April 2019 at 3:11 pm

Whether it's the chance to hear Charlie Brooker discuss Black Mirror, enjoy a spot of tea with Bake Off's Nadiya Hussain, meet the stars of Clique, or you're looking to catch an exclusive preview of Russell T Davies' hotly-anticipated drama Years and Years, there's something for everyone at this year's BFI & Radio Times Television Festival.


The festival will comprise more than 30 interviews, screenings, talks and previews, with more to be announced. There'll be sessions on Black Mirror, Bodyguard, Line of Duty, new Keeley Hawes drama Summer of Rockets, and many more...

Plus, you can hear from stars such as Joanna Lumley, Zawe Ashton, Jamie Oliver and Big Narstie, as they talk about their life on TV.

How can I get tickets to the BFI & Radio Times Television Festival 2019?

If this sounds like your dream weekend, you can join us at London's BFI Southbank from Friday 12th — Sunday 14th April 2019. Priority tickets are on sale for Radio Times magazine readers from Monday 11th February at 11:30am (using the special booking codes found inside your 9th-15th and 16th-22nd February copies) and the general public from Friday 15th February at 11:30am. You can also buy tickets in person at BFI Southbank, London.

*Lines open 11.30am – 8.30pm; calls cost 5p per minute from a BT landline, other networks and mobiles may vary.

Here’s your guide to all the TV shows, stars and talent due to appear – look out for more events to be announced in the coming weeks...

Game of Thrones

Sunday 14th April, 7.30pm (Tickets £20)

On the same day that the eighth and final series of the epic fantasy drama airs around the world, two potentially key players – Joe Dempsie (Gendry) and Jacob Anderson (Grey Worm) – join Thronecast's Jamie East for an evening of conversation about all things Game of Thrones.

Did you spot these Easter eggs, returning characters and story teases in the new Game of Thrones trailer?

Expect behind-the-scenes insights, aided by clips from the series, plus Dempsie and Anderson's (spoiler-free!) thoughts on the possible outcomes for their characters.

Line of Duty

Line of Duty cast (Martin Compston, Adrian Dunbar, Vicky McClure)

Saturday 13th April, 4pm (Tickets £25)

Series creator Jed Mercurio and select members of the Line of Duty cast will reveal the inside story behind the upcoming season, and discuss what it's like being part of one of British television's most gripping crime dramas.

Centring on the police anti-corruption unit AC-12, the series stars Adrian Dunbar, Vicky McClure and Martin Compston as the unit's officers, while past guest-stars have included Thandie Newton and Keeley Hawes.

Joanna Lumley

Joanna Lumley festival use ONLY, Camera Press / Carsten Windhors
Credit: Camera Press / Carsten Windhorst

Friday 12th April, 6pm (Tickets £25)

After five decades of gracing our screens, Joanna Lumley will be inducted into the Radio Times Hall of Fame, taking to the BFI stage for a retrospective on her long and varied career, reflecting on highlights ranging from her Bafta-winning portrayal of Patsy in Absolutely Fabulous, to The New Avengers and Sapphire and Steel, and her presenting roles for adventurous travel shows and at the British Academy Film Awards.


Friday 12th April, 7.30pm (Tickets £25)

It was the biggest drama of 2018, winning Richard Madden a Golden Globe for his role as the eponymous security officer tasked with protecting Keeley Hawes' steely Home Secretary, Julia Montague.

So just how did writer Jed Mercurio and his creative team manage to keep the nation on the edge of their seats each Sunday night? Join us as they reveal the behind-the-scenes story of the international hit.

More like this

Black Mirror

Charlie Brooker festival use ONLY

Credit: Jack Barnes

Sunday 14th April, 6pm (Tickets £25)

Charlie Brooker and longtime collaborator Annabel Jones pushed the boundaries of streaming and interactive content with Netflix's Black Mirror movie Bandersnatch — but that won't be the last we hear from them this year, as 2019 will see the release of the hotly-anticipated Black Mirror season five.

The Emmy and BAFTA-winning duo will be discussing the ideas behind the new series, how they realised them on screen, their relationship with technology – and the future of television.



Saturday 13th April, 2.30pm, (Tickets £15)

Unforgotten is the cold-case crime drama that's taken the nation by storm, with each new season seeing Nicola Walker and Sanjeev Bhaskar's detectives take on a brand new case, along with a revolving cast of potential suspects.

Writer and creator Chris Lang will be joined by producers and select members of the cast, including Bhaskar and Walker (work permitting), to discuss the upcoming fourth series and the reasons behind the crime genre's enduring appeal.

Call the Midwife

Call the Midwife festival use ONLY, Nicky Johnston

Credit: Nicky Johnston

Sunday 14th April, 4.30pm (Tickets £20)

One of the nation's favourite Sunday-evening delights, Call the Midwife has become a staple of British television. But beyond its cosy exterior (tea breaks, wimples, those natty cardigans...), the show tackles a range of hard-hitting subjects, including racism, disability and backstreet abortions.

Writer and creator Heidi Thomas will be joined by cast members Helen George, Jennifer Kirby and Leonie Elliott to discuss the new series, and reveal how the show always manages to maintain its overriding message of hope.

Years and Years

Saturday 13th April, 7pm (Tickets £25)

Seize the opportunity to watch tomorrow's hit today, with an exclusive preview of Russell T Davies' new BBC1 drama series Years and Years, followed by a Q&A with Davies and members of the cast.

Starring the likes of Emma Thompson, Rory Kinnear and Jessica Hynes, the drama tells the story of the Lyons family in a fast-changing Britain, beginning as they converge on one crucial night in 2019 and then accelerating into the future, following the twists and turns of the next 15 years.

Helen Mirren

Helen Mirren, credit: Giles Keyte
Credit: Giles Keyte

Sunday 14th April 8.30pm (Tickets £25)

The legendary, award-winning actress will be in conversation at the BFI & Radio Times Festival ahead of being inducted into the Radio Times Hall of Fame.

From Prime Suspect and Elizabeth I to her new role in the upcoming Sky Atlantic drama Catherine the Great, Mirren will look back on her stellar career.

Gentleman Jack

Credit: BBC/Lookout Point/Jay Brooks

Sunday 14th April, 12 noon (Tickets £20)

Actress Suranne Jones and Bafta-winning writer Sally Wainwright will reveal the real-life historical inspiration behind their new BBC drama, Gentleman Jack. Based on the life of “the first modern lesbian”, landowner Anne Lister, the series is set in West Yorkshire in 1832.

Craig Parkinson and Richard E Grant

(Photo by Ray Burmiston)

Sunday 14th April, 7pm (Tickets £20)

Actor Craig Parkinson — perhaps best known for his stint as bent copper “Dot” Cottan in Line of Duty — has been busy interviewing actors about the lives and careers for his award-winning podcast The Two Shot Podcast. So far he’s interviewed everyone from Doctor Who’s Jodie Whittaker to Killing Eve’s Jodie Comer.

Listen in with a live recording of the podcast, with Oscar-nominee Richard E Grant as guest.

Dad's Army

Sunday 14th April, 1.30pm (tickets £20)

Three episodes from series two of Dad’s Army – The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Walker, A Stripe for Frazer and Under Fire – were all seemingly destroyed after they were first shown in 1969. But now, 50 years on, they are being remade by UKTV Gold, using the original scripts by Jimmy Perry and David Croft and with a new cast playing all your old favourites. Robert Bathurst (Sergeant Wilson), David Hayman (Private Frazer), Mathew Horne (Private Walker) and Tom Rosenthal (Private Pike) will be attending this exclusive first look at what must be one of the remakes of the year.

Beecham House

Credit: Nicky Johnston / ITV

Saturday 13th April, 11am (Tickets £20)

ITV’s new lavish six-part drama is set in India, 1795, and follows the former East India Company trader John Beecham, who’s keen to start afresh — despite the whispers about his “olive-skinned” child.

Watch a preview of episode one before hearing from the show’s stars including Tom Bateman, Leo Suter, Pallavi Sharda and director Gurinder Chadha.

Mark Gatiss

Mark Gatiss
Credit: Ray Burmiston Ray Burmiston

Sunday 14th April, 1.30pm (Tickets £25)

Sherlock’s Mark Gatiss has been a fan of the “very noble tradition” of ghost stories ever since he was a child, devouring everything from Scrooge starring Albert Finney to Nigel Keane’s The Stone Tap.

Ahead of his adaptation of Dracula for BBC1, listen to him discuss the power of ghost tales and his own spooky stories, including last year’s The Dead Room.

Midsomer Murders

Neil Dudgeon plays DCI John Barnaby in Midsomer Murders
Neil Dudgeon plays DCI John Barnaby

Sunday 14th April, 3pm (tickets £20)

For more than 20 years, murder has stalked the rural county of Midsomer. Now the stars of the show reveal the secrets of one of the most popular British detective shows ever made, which still has audiences gripped across the globe. Join stars Neil Dudgeon and Jane Wymark for our anniversary celebrations, a panel discussion and an exclusive sneak preview of clips from the 20th series.

Josh O'Connor

Credit: Joss Barratt

Saturday 13th April, 5.30pm (Tickets £15)

Best known as Marius from Les Miserables and as Lawrence Durrell in ITV’s hit family drama The Durrells, Josh O’Connor’s success is set to continue as he takes on the role of Prince Charles in Netflix’s royal hit The Crown.

Join him for a lively Q&A and have the chance to ask the acclaimed young actor your own questions.

Derry Girls

Sunday 14th April, 3pm (Tickets £25)

Lisa McGee’s Derry Girls, a sitcom set in 1990s Derry against the backdrop of The Troubles, follows a loveable, motley band of teenage girls (and one wee English fella) and has already achieved cult status after only one season.

As the show returns to our screens, McGee and cast members Nicola Coughlan (Clare), Saoirse-Monica Jackson (Erin), Dylan Llewellyn (James), Louisa Harland (Orla) and Siobhan McSweeney (Sister Michael) will be discussing the show’s success at the BFI and Radio Times Festival.

The Archers

Saturday 13th April, 7.30pm

The radio that has almost singlehandedly been turning the nation green since 1951, The Archers proves more relevant every year as Britain becomes increasingly urban.

Talking about the importance of the countryside, join editor Jeremy Howe, stars Patricia Gallimore (Pat Archer), Charles Collingwood (Brian Aldridge), Carole Boyd (Lynda Snell) and the show’s agricultural story adviser Sarah Swadling.


Friday 12th April, 2pm (Tickets £5)

Clique, series 2 (BBC)

Meet the cast and creators of BBC3’s hit thriller Clique, which sees haunted heroine Holly navigate her way through life at a university in Edinburgh as she becomes embroiled in the scandals of various cliques.

After bringing down the sinister Solasta Finance in her first year, Holly is now determined to keep her head down – but finds herself increasingly drawn to a new clique, a mysterious band of brothers. When they are accused of a horrific act that rocks the entire campus, Holly finds herself forced to intervene once more…

Actors Synnove Karlsen (Holly), Sophia Brown (Louise), Izuka Hoyle (Dani) and Leo Suter (Jack) are all set to attend, discussing last year’s suspenseful second season, followed by a Q&A.

This event is part of the Switched On series, which are for 16 to 25-year-olds and are all priced £5 each.

I Feel So Seen: the Messy Characters Tearing Up TV

Pure, Sophia Spring

How important is it to show characters’ imperfections onscreen? From E4’s groundbreaking Skins, to Channel 4’s recent success Pure, television hasn’t shied away from showing the messy reality of young characters’ lives.

Join actress Charly Clive (Pure) and TV writers Bryan Elsley (Skins), Kirstie Swain (Pure) and Ambreen Razia (Hounslow Diaries) to discuss the importance of messy, ‘flawed’ characters.

This event is part of the Switched On series, which are for 16 to 25-year-olds and are all £5 each.

TV in the Digital Age: an Alternative Careers Talk

Ever thought about breaking into the TV industry, but don’t know where or how to start?

This alternate career talk, featuring a panel of experts, focuses on how the industry is adapting and changing for a digital age, looking at everything from Netflix’s groundbreaking Black Mirror: Bandersnatch, to Instagram’s move into TV content.

This event is part of the Switched On series, which are for 16 to 25-year-olds and are all £5 each.

Also appearing at the BFI & Radio Times Festival 2019:

  • Nadiya Hussain
  • Keeping Faith
  • Jamie Oliver
  • Midsomer Murders
  • Summer of Rockets
  • The Big Narstie Show
  • Inside No. 9
  • Frank Gardner
  • Ackley Bridge
  • Vera
  • Ghosts
  • Taskmaster
  • Zawe Ashton
  • Samantha Morton
  • From the BFI Archive: David Bowie
  • TV quiz
  • From the BFI Archive: Britain's Earliest TV ads


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