The BBC has today unveiled the full BBC Tent line-up for the 31st Hay Festival (24 May to 3 June). The line-up includes events with: Mary Beard, David Olusoga, Marian Keyes, Åsne Seierstad, Anuradha Roy, Kamila Shamsie, Sarah Churchwell, Colm Tóibín, Brian Hill, Akala, Dan Cruickshank, Don McCullin, Emily Wilson, David Christian, Jonathan D Quick, Simon Russell Beale, Javier Cercas, Juan Gabriel Vasquez, Dr Rowan Williams, and Helen Mort.
Across TV and Radio, 38 BBC shows will be recorded on site, from BBC World
News’ Talking Books, HardTalk and Click, to BBC Two’s Front Row Late, BBC Radio
4’s Today, Start the Week, and Beyond Belief, BBC Radio 3, BBC Wales, and BBC Hereford and Worcester.
Online, BBC iPlayer will carry selected sessions while BBC Arts Digital will offer festival highlights throughout the week.
Additional events in the BBC Tent offer an inside look at the latest dramas and documentaries, including tips from some of our leading filmmakers, presenters and producers.
“The greatest writers in the world go to the Hay Festival and the BBC broadcasts them back to the world. Our BBC Tent has an action-packed programme with a wide array of writers from poet Helen Mort to novelists Colm Toibin and Marian Keyes and the verbal dexterity of Manchester’s Young Identity. And we’ll be out and about throughout the festival too, bringing the very best events to audiences everywhere” – Jonty Claypole, director of BBC Arts
“It’s a joy to work with the BBC to amplify the conversations in this Welsh field and bring the festival to the world” – Peter Florence, director of Hay Festival
BBC World News records four editions of Talking Books in front of a live audience as Martha Kearney talks to bestselling Irish novelist Marian Keyes, while Gavin Esler meets Norwegian journalist and author Åsne Seierstad and Indian writer and publisher Anuradha Roy. BBC Culture report live from the festival throughout the week, while a panel of writers including Kamila Shamsie, Sarah Churchwell and Colm Tóibín debate their new Stories that Shaped the World project. Meanwhile, Spencer Kelly presents the BBC’s flagship science and technology TV show Click, offering mind-bending live demos and tales of AI and virtual reality.
BBC Two presents a live broadcast of its flagship arts show Front Row Late with classicist Mary Beard, while new documentaries are previewed: filmmaker Clare Beavan offers an exclusive preview of her new film about Germaine Greer; chief executive of the Royal Academy Charles Saumarez Smith joins producer Martin Rosenbaum and director Adam Low to talk about their new film The Private Life of The Royal Academy; historian David Olusoga talks about his contribution to the BBC’s landmark art series Civilisations; film maker Teresa Griffiths and academic and writer Dr Tim Kendall discuss the challenges of making a new film about Sylvia Plath’s iconic novel, The Bell Jar; and there’s the UK premiers of The Life After a moving poetic response to the Troubles.
BBC Four previews a documentary about the ice skater John Curry – The Ice King followed by a Q&A with the director James Erskine; hip-hop artist and writer Akala talks to the BBC’s Director of Arts Jonty Claypole about his recent documentary on Homer’s Odyssey Akala’s Odyssey; presenter Kirsty Wark and film maker Morag Tinto discuss the challenges of making The Many Primes of Muriel Spark; and historian Dan Cruickshank and legendary photographer Don McCullin talk to director Adrian Sibley about The Road to Palmyra.
BBC Radio 4’s flagship news show The Today Programme will broadcast two editions live in front of a festival audience. Tom Sutcliffe presents a live recording of Start the Week with guests Emily Wilson, David Christian and Jonathan D Quick. Adam Rutherford returns with Inside Science; and Beyond Belief asks how far comedians can go with religion and humour. Meanwhile, there’s a behind-the-scenes look at key Radio 4 dramas as editor Susan Roberts talks to Simon Russell Beale about the challenges of playing Satan in the latest adaptation of Paradise Lost; Head of Audio Drama Alison Hindell talks about Home Front and The Archers; and presenter Martha Kearney and editor Sarah Sands discuss the day to day running of the Today programme.
BBC Radio 3 presents two live recordings of Free Thinking with guests including Javier Cercas, Juan Gabriel Vasquez and Dr Rowan Williams. Five leading writers choose their favourite fictional female characters for two sessions of The Essay. Poet Helen Mort weaves poetry and music to take audiences on a journey to the Lake District with Between the Ears: Give Me Space Below My Feet. Ian McMillan presents a live recording of the ‘cabaret of the word’ The Verb, featuring The Last Poets. A live recording of The Listening Service explores how to write for children, while a series of Lunchtime Recitals from St Mary’s Church run throughout the week featuring Sophie Daneman (soprano), Simon Lepper (piano), Tom Poster (piano), Ildiko Szabo (cello), Roman Robinovich (piano), and the Albion Quartet.
BBC Radio Wales broadcasts a new daily show from the festival site presented by GQ Editor Dylan Jones. Tonight at Hay will offer a roundup of festival highlights each day and conversations with star guests. Meanwhile, Tom Price returns with guests from the world of comedy and entertainment to review the week’s biggest stories in a recording of The Leak, and BBC Hereford and Worcester showcase the region’s best new music in live sessions.
BBC Masterclasses offer industry insights and tips from media greats as researchers and producers from radio, television and online talk how to break into the media; music hitmakers Alan McGee and Jim Eliot talk how to write a hit record; and BBC commissioning editor Rhian Roberts looks at the art of podcasts with Fortunately’s Georgia Catt and Blue Planet II’s Becky Ripley.
BBC Asian Network comes to Hay Festival for the first time to present a live broadcast of Asian Network’s Big Debate, discussing the big issues affecting British Asians today. Plus, the BBC’s new poetry and spoken word festival Contains Strong Language celebrates the UK’s vibrant spoken word scene in an event led by Manchester-based poetry collective Young Identity.
Tickets for BBC Tent sessions are free and are available online now at hayfestival.org or by calling 01497 822 629.
Outside of the BBC Tent there are sessions featuring a range of BBC stars including Dan Saladino, Russell Kane, Amol Rajan, Gemma Cairney, Katya Adler, Simon Schama, Rachel Parris, Ruth Jones, Jules Hudson, Fergal Keane, Clemency Burton-Hill, Alex Jones, Jon Sopel, Jim Naughtie, Amy Lamé, Maggie Aderin-Pocock, and Robin Ince, while screenwriter Andrew Davies joins script editor Laura Lankester and producer Faith Penhale to talk about their upcoming adaptation of Les Miserables.