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Radio Times Festival - live

All the latest happenings from THE television event of the season

Welcome to the Radio Times Festival, four days of events featuring the biggest stars and shows from TV, radio and film.


From Peter Capaldi and Sir David Attenborough to Sherlock, Call the Midwife and much, much more, we'll be down here at Hampton Court keeping you up to date with everything that's going on.

Of course, if you fancy joining us, you can still get your tickets at the event at The Green at Hampton Court.

Radio Times Festival as it happens...

17:27: The creator of Educating Yorkshire, Essex, the East End and Cardiff series David Clews told an audience that the hit channel 4 fixed-rig show was originally going to have a different focus.

“The series was originally going to be called Classmates and be much more focused on young people.

“We thought GCSE year, we’d just concentrate on that year and then actually through the research period the thing that always fascinated me was the relationship the teachers had with kids and the challenges they were facing every day.

“So it definitely did evolve. The sense of seeing teachers as human beings was ultimately then what we got most excited about.”

17:18: Strictly Come Dancing star Robin Windsor talked to crowds about how it felt to hang up his Strictly dancing shoes. The 36-year-old dancer will be a regular on It Takes Two this season and isn't partnering a celebrity.  

"It was really hard to sit and watch from home," Windsor admits of the 2014 series, when he was unable to compete due to injury, adding that this year has already been easier.

"After five years, it's a good time to move on," he said at the Radio Times Festival, adding: "I will live Strictly for the rest of my life – which is fabulous!"

17.00: Granchester fans were treated to a sneak peek of series two – and the sight of actors James Norton and Robson Green 'doing a Poldark' and disrobing.

Norton and Green – who play priest and amateur sleuth Sidney Chambers and detective Geordie – go further than Aidan Turner in the BBC1 period drama. Instead of scything topless like Turner's Ross Poldark, they strut around in nothing but swimming trunks.

"We had scything in series one," executive producer Diederick Santer explained to a tent of (suddenly rather flushed) festival-goers afterwards. "Poldark raised the game. And so now we’ve two guys in just shorts."

"We’re raising it again!" added writer Daisy Coulam.

Robson Green explained why he got to wear "snazzier" trunks and that trouble is in store for Sidney and Geordie's "bromance" in series two. You can read what he said here.

16.01: This is the kind of brilliant, exclusive, TV-based fun you can expect at the Radio Times Festival...

...and this!

15.46: David Walliams is in the house!

15:39 We're very much enjoying our preview of the new Grantchester series...

13.37 writers don't do it for the glory, but the glory helps.

The Bruce Forsyth panel was one of the hottest tickets at the Radio Times Festival (or Glastontelly, as we call it) and the veteran broadcaster was on good form.

"I should be dead," he told the audience. "I don't know what I'm still doing here."

Then he told seven jokes about getting old.

At least, we think they were jokes...

13.13 EXCLUSIVE: Robert Peston tastes of Twiglets.

12.52 Children's day takes a shocking turn.

12.46  Hampton Court is quite nice. Well done Henry VIII. Nice one.

12.34 Writer Kasia Delgado is running about the Live Lounge, giddy and giggling.

12.25 There's more dancing at the Radio Times Festival than you get at Glastonbury.

18.50 Shall we dance? Chin Chin! Steph and Dom for Strictly?

18.45 The Eric Stage is packed with TV and radio royalty as Call The Midwife kicks of a Women's Hour power hour with Dame Jenni Murray at the helm.

18.15 Paul Hollywood's doing the rounds this afternoon - we learned something rather special during his session...

18.00 Detectorist MacKenzie Crook gave us a sneak peek at series two of the BBC4 comedy. Would he like to see the series make the move to BBC1 or BBC2?

"It's difficult because I really do feel like its home is on BBC4." Crook said. "That's who commissioned it, it sits so beautifully in between the documentaries and the programmes they have on BBC4, but at the same it is frustrating because I would love more people to find it."

However, producer Adam Tandy had an important point to make: "You could say we're a signpost to the rest of the channel" he said. "When the first series went out we got more viewers on our broadcast than Channel 4 did. So BBC4 beats Channel 4, that's pretty good going!"

And the pair said there's no way Detectorists would be the show it is if it wasn't for the BBC.

"I can't think of an organisation other than the BBC that would have commissioned this" Crook said. "It's hard to think of another channel anywhere in the world" Tandy added, admitting that it was hard to think of another broadcaster who'd allow a sitcom that cracked jokes about metal detecting in-jokes to be broadcast.

"It's true, BBC4 is about the only place" Tandy said, "so thank heavens for the BBC."

17.30 It turns out that Danny Dyer is a big softie. (Either that, or he's had one too many glasses at our retro prosecco bar.)

Other things we learned during the EastEnders session:

1) Executive producer Dominic Treadwell-Collins has Cumberbatch at the top of his fantasy cast list... and the Oscar nominated actor has said he'd do it. You can read the full story here.

2) And Danny Dyer promised that Matt Di Angelo’s character Dean Wicks is going to get what’s coming to him… and it involves his character Mick and a wet suit. All the slippery details here.

17:20 How we wish we could have eavesdropped on this conversation...

17.02 Barry Cryer said the BBC was "under siege" while being interviewed by Robert Peston and Eddie Mair this afternoon and that we must "preserve it because it's ours." He also told a few excellent jokes...

16:50 Danny Dyer spoke today as part of EastEnders 30th celebrations and revealed that he works hard to ensure Cockney rhyming slang is part of his dialogue. "I sneak it in," he admitted, saying some words are harder to get past the writers than others. "I need to check the word because it could be rude," executive producer Dominic Treadwell-Collins joked. "Some I just make up," Dyer added. "Like 'slice', which just means idiot."

16:32 John Challis (that's Boycie) exclusively revealed that there were plans for an Only Fools and Horses reunion in 2011... and told the festival the plot to the comedy comeback that sadly never happened because of the death of creator and writer John Sullivan.

16:00 Danny 'Mick Carter' Dyer seems to have enjoyed his day at the Radio Times Festival anyway. Our David Brown was right when he described Mick and Linda as the "best Queen Vic double act since Den and Angie"

15:53 Philippa Gregory's been offering the festival audience some pearls of wisdom about... time travel:

"If you are a woman, do not go back before 1854 when the married woman’s property act comes in and you can leave your husband and you have a fighting chance of taking your children and certainly keeping your fortune.

"If you’re a young woman, do not go back much before 1920 – it’s really essential that you get political power because unless you get political power, you cannot change the laws which are absolutely stacked against you. And if you’re a fertile woman, don’t go back before 1960 because women die in childbirth.

"If you’re offered the chance to go anywhere at any time in the world, anywhere, go as an immensely wealthy man because being a woman, almost everywhere, almost every time, is a massive disadvantage."

To find out what Gregory made of the Wolf Hall TV series, see here.

15:40 Back at The Eric Stage we've FINALLY found out who else is joining Mair and Peston

And he's already cracking jokes too!

15:35 Jekyll & Hyde's Charlie Higson was with us last night to premiere ITV's new supernatural drama and paid tribute to Doctor Who's Russell T Davies.

"I was really pleased when Russell T Davies brought Doctor Who back so well, when he did. Because he managed to pull off that thing of doing a big show, but he made it popular as well by rooting it in very strong drama, particularly a family drama with Rose's family."

15:30 Show us YOUR Shaun!

15:20 Peston and Mair's mystery guest has been revealed!

Meanwhile, over at The Archers acting for radio masterclass, Charles Collingwood has high hopes for Brian Aldridge's future...

"I know quite a lot of Brian Aldriges and quite a lot of them are the same age and haven't stoppped philandering, so there's life in the old dog yet!"

15.00 Did you spot the tribute to John Thaw in Inspector Morse spin-off Lewis?

Russell Lewis, who has written for Inspector Morse, sequel Lewis and prequel Endeavour over the years, told fans:

"There are an interesting four letters in Hathaway's name."

We’re going to go ahead and guess he meant these: HaTHAWay

This isn’t the first time that John Thaw’s name has snuck into a Morse spin-off either – in the pilot for Endeavour, the actor’s daughter Abigail played the part of journalist Dorothea Frazil.

Pretty innocuous, right? Wrong – the name 'D Frazil' is actually a bit of a crossword clue of the type Morse was fond of – Frazil is a type of ice, so de-ice is to Thaw.

We’re sure Morse himself would thoroughly approve.

14:50 Fancy joining us on The Green at Hampton Court? We've got 10 great reasons to spend your Saturday at The Radio Times Festival

And the good weather certainly helps...

14:39's entertainment correspondent Emma Daly is sitting in on the EastEnders session taking place inside the festival's main stage. We can't wait to hear what Mr Danny Dyer has to say...

14:05 Overheard at Being Boycie - "You could be the next Michael Parkinson". That's quite the endorsement for our own Tim Glanfield!

13.55 Seems as though The Archers fans are in their element with multiple sessions lined up throughout the afternoon. They're finally able to put faces to the names, and even put some tough questions to them...

13.50 We've got a really useful birthday boy at the Radio Times Festival today - Thomas The Tank Engine!

13.45 Over at The Eric Stage there's a special treat for the enchanted Endeavour audience - a sneak peek at an EXCLUSIVE clip from the new series

13.20 Can you speak about your perfect Christmas present in Just A Minute? Gyles Brandreth's given some junior Just A Minute-rs a cracking 60 second Saturday challenge

13.15 Where better to hear Philippa Gregory speak than in the grounds of Hampton Court? The queen of The White Queen is in to talk about her latest New York Times best-seller The Taming of The Queen

13.10 editor Tim Glanfield and John Challis give the people what they want as Being Boycie kicks off in The Studio...

12:40 Dramatic developments on The Main Stage as Ther Archers drama escalates - we'd expect nothing less!

12:50 We told you we were friendly... come and find us in The Radio Times Hub

12:45 It's set to be a brilliant hour on the Main Stage with Archers experts all round!

12:30 Over at the Main Stage Eddie Mair is taking us behind the scenes of The Archers with editor Sean O'Connor, Charles Collingwood (Brian Aldridge), Carole Bond (Lynda Snell), Louiza Patikas (Helen Archer) and Timothy Watson (Rob Titchener).

And the excitement is building...

12:00 The Saturday sessions are already underway. Here's Little Princess author and illustrator Tony Ross hosting a very special storytelling...

Meanwhile, over on the Blue Stage, Radio Times critics Alison Graham, David Butcher, Jane Rackham and David Brown are sharing a few secrets of the TV previewer's art:

11:29 Good morning, TV fans! It's sunny Saturday at the Radio Times Festival and we're here, sunglasses on, to cover all the biggest events of the day. And what a day it is: if you're here at Hampton Court Green, keep an eye out for the likes of Cillian Murphy, Paul Hollywood, Mackenzie Crook, Rebecca Front and Danny Dyer who are all taking to the stage this afternoon. And don't forget to keep checking this page where we'll continue reporting all the news from today's sessions.

18:52 Meanwhile, the main festival tent is filling up...

18:50 T minus 10 minutes 'til Peter Capaldi and Doctor Who. Backstage, two modern sci-fi giants are having what you might call a timey wimey moment.

18:47 Wonderful evening events everywhere you look. From the Science of Doctor Who to 'Transgender Trailblazers' with Kellie Maloney and Rebecca Root – and we haven't even got to the main event of Doctor Who yet...

18.20 Former Doctor Who showrunner Russell T Davies warned that that the BBC is will be be a subscription-only service in ten years' time if the Tory government have their way.

"They are dead set against the BBC. It’s just a fact. They are being honest Tories. Tories believe in a free market against the state and they think this the way to do it. They are not lying, they are being very true to themselves."

17.51  Can you guess who was Jon Snow's most difficult interviewee? Here's a clue...

"Unbelievable. It was an incredible thing, you would walk in at the end of the European summit, where of course she’d have lost her temper and be banging her drum and all the rest of it. She'd be drinking a glass of Bells or some other whisky. It would be 2.30 in the morning, and outside the engine would be running because she didn’t want to have to spend an extra night in Europe. But before she went, she would agree to do a couple of interviews.

"You’d knock and she’d say ‘Oh Jon, how perfectly lovely to see you!' And you knew perfectly well it wasn’t but you did think: 'oh God, she knows my name.' And then you realised that Bernard Ingham was standing over her shoulder ‘Jon Snow, Channel 4…

Yes, the answer was of course: Margaret Thatcher.

"For example," Snow continued, "at the end of the Madrid summit in which she'd signed – people forget this – the most pro-European document any Prime Minister has ever signed. After signing that document, she sat down and I said to her, 'Prime Minister you know, 12 to 1, every time it seems that we're outnumbered 12 to 1, is that really a sensible way of doing business in Europe?'

"And she said, 'what a perfectly stupid question!' So immediately you slap the back of your hand, 'stupid boy', but then you think: 'hang on it's my job to ask you questions and your job to answer them, it may be a stupid question but you can at least try to answer it'. But by which time she was kicking me around the room... psychologically."

"I think the score was 20 interviews with Mrs Thatcher, Thatcher = 20. Snow = Nil"

Nonetheless, the Channel 4 news anchor admitted that he couldn't help but respect Mrs Thatcher.

"Whatever you think of Mrs Thatcher, whatever anybody thinks of Mrs Thatcher, the fact is it was remarkable at that time a) for a woman to be prime minster, and, b) to have done it from Grantham."


17.34 If you're passing by the Radio Times Hub at the centre of the Radio Times Festival, be sure to stop in and say hello to the writing team! Plus, buy a Radio Times tea-towel!

17.32 This is literally true. Claire also audibly gasped, or GOLed.

17.30 Accept no substitutes.

17.27 Writer James Gill is pounding the streets of Radio Times Festival for the latest fashion tips.

16.57 Time for a sneak peek at upcoming ITV drama Jekyll & Hyde, Charlie Higson's twist on Robert Louis Stevenson's classic Victorian novel... and (another) snacks:

16:37 Russell T Davies was the man who first oversaw Doctor Who when it was brought back to BBC1 in 2005. 10 years on, it's still going strong – in fact, we can no longer remember a time when the Doctor and his TARDIS were absent from our screens. Davies clearly feels the same, telling an audience at the Radio Times Festival that he believes there would be "rioting in the streets" if the sci-fi series was ever cancelled again.

16:23 Say cheese!

16:08 It's fair to say the festival crowd were pleased to see Russell T. Davies. Check out the enormous applause that greeted the former Doctor Who showrunner and Cucumber creator when he took to the stage to be interviewed by Radio Times TV editor Alison Graham...

15.50 Justin Webb also asked Jon Snow, who was awarded a Bafta fellowship earlier this year, whether he was thinking of hanging up his ties any time soon.

"No, I’ve no particular interest in retirement. I enjoy it. It is a fantastic challenge every day; I wake up and there’s a new challenge, something new to do."

He added: "Everyone in the media is getting younger. So to have a couple of old codgers is probably a good thing."

15.40 Channel 4 news presenter Jon Snow chewed through all sorts of important topics in his session, including sartorial matters. Asked by a member of the audience whether his trademark colourful ties are a rebellion, Snow said:

“I’ve become a fetishist. I’ve become obsessive. I look for ties the whole time and I love them. I would never wear a tie other than to come and see you and maintain the television image… But I love them on telly. They are a way of competing with women."

Today programme presenter Justin Webb suggested he abandon the suits altogether and don a frock, but Snow demurred.

"Life is a compromise and for some people a suit is important," he said. "It’s a matter of respect. But I’m not going to go a whole hog. And yes, if you have to use the word ‘rebellion’ it is."

15:30 Tim Brooke-Taylor and the BFI's Dick Fiddy have been speaking at the BFI's Missing Believed Wiped session where a lost episode of At Last the 1948 Show was screened for the first time in nearly 50 years. Brooke-Taylor was on hand for a Q&A afterwards, and revealed his co-star John Cleese was famous for actually connecting with his punches. Although – perhaps wisely – he never punched Tim because he knew what he'd get in return!

14:43 So here's why everyone was wearing eye masks earlier...

"I want you to focus only on the sounds, music and words you'll hear," BBC director Helen Boaden explained at her Radio Times Festival event. "I hope this will give you a taste of some of the deep pleasures of radio as I see them."

She got the idea from In the Dark, a collaborative project between radio producers, audio artists and radio enthusiasts. In The Dark will be taking part in Radio 4's special Halloween event Fright Night later this October.

14:38 It really is Doctor Who Day at the Radio Times Festival. Peep Show's Paterson Joseph has been chatting about the time he auditioned to be the 11th Doctor.

"I was in Botswana at the time. My agent said that the bookies had me as a possible Doctor Who and I thought it was the funniest thing I'd ever heard."

He also has a great idea for who should take over from Peter Capaldi...

14:37 Glad to see Jon Snow enjoying the festival hospitality.

14:17 Knitwits...

14:11 "Politics has become just like any other profession" says veteran political commentator Andrew Marr in his Radio Times Festival talk with Kirsty Laing.

"They are in the House of Commons in their early 30s – or even their twenties – never having done an ordinary job, having no experience of anything other than politics. That narrows and shrivels our political culture and it’s a problem.

“I sometimes think, only half jokingly, that nobody should be allowed into the House of Commons until they are 40 and they have read some poetry….”

14:01 Coming up in half an hour, Jon Snow. The Channel 4 one, not the dead(?) Game of Thrones one.


13:26 Plenty of celebrities waiting in the Twitter wings. Here are just some of the famous faces you can spot over the weekend.

13:20 The BBC's Director of Radio Helen Boaden says this is the proper way to listen to radio. Or we could have just stumbled into 50 Shades of Grey filming...

13:09 writer Kasia Delgado has been watching a special preview screening of Sky 1's You Me and the Apocalypse starring Mathew Baynton. Think she's impressed.


12:46 Little reminder of what's on this Friday. Just in case you were thinking of finishing work early...

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

12:40pm Peter Capaldi isn't due until 7pm this evening, but already Whovians are making themselves at home.

12:15pm First sessions getting underway. Afternoon sailing by...

12:10pm First breaking news of the day: Andrew Marry confirms that new Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn WILL appear on The Andrew Marr Show after all. Tune in this Sunday 27th September, and find out more here.

12pm: The festival went wild last night for Sir David Attenborough. In front of a packed tent of 1200 people, the BBC naturalist talked about picking costumes for the Queen, meeting Barack Obama and the future of the BBC license fee. Read more here...

11.15am Andrew Marr is with Radio Times editor Ben Preston for a little opening day brunch. Love the posh drapes...


10.30am A gorgeous Friday morning at Hampton Court. Peter Capaldi will be here later this evening – but of course the Doctor can make the sun shine...


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