The BBC is to provide "unparalleled coverage" across television, radio and online of this year's Hay Festival which will feature star names such as US senator Bernie Sanders, actor and writer Stephen Fry, show producer and writer Steven Moffat, screenwriter Jimmy McGovern, playwright Mike Bartlett, comedian Simon Amstell and Radio 3 presenter Katie Derham.
Across TV and radio, more than 25 BBC shows will be recorded on site – from BBC World News’ HARDtalk, Talking Books and Click to BBC Radio 4’s Front Row, Start the Week, and Broadcasting House, to BBC Radio 3, BBC Wales, and BBC Hereford and Worcester.
BBC World News’ HARDtalk will see special guest US senator Bernie Sanders interviewed by Stephen Sackur on stage, while four sessions of literary series "Talking Books" will be recorded with George Alagiah meeting authors Ahdaf Soueif and Elizabeth Strout. BBC World Service will record a special edition of "The Arts Show", and Owen Sheers presents a special screening of BAFTA-nominated "The Green Hollow", his film poem marking the 50th anniversary of the Aberfan disaster.
Sheers said he is "thrilled" to be screening his film at the festival: "The film was both one of the hardest and most important projects I’ve ever worked on. The aspiration was to create a choral poem in the voice of Aberfan and I hope we’ve gone some way towards achieving that. Television can be the most ephemeral of mediums, so I’m hugely grateful to the BBC for making it possible for this film to be experienced again and especially pleased that the screening is happening at Hay. Growing up in the area, the Festival was a vital source of inspiration and knowledge for me so it has, I’ve no doubt, played a significant role in my being able to write this piece in the manner I did.”
Meanwhile, BBC Arts Digital will launch coverage of the opening weekend with two days of live streaming, featuring Stephen Fry, while selective events will be available throughout the week on BBC iPlayer.
Additional events in the BBC Tent will offer an inside look at the latest BBC dramas and documentaries, including tips from some of the broadcaster's leading screenwriters, documentary makers and show runners.
Radio 3 will be broadcasting “a week at Hay” from Monday 29th May to Sunday 3rd June, with programmes every day across its schedule coming from the Festival. Radio 3 will bring a distinctive blend of 'slow radio’ to Hay audiences with a four-hour-long immersive broadcast of a walk from the Black Mountains to Hay with music, poetry and moments of reflection from writer Horatio Clare. Meanwhile, "The Sound Walk" will be broadcast on Monday 29th May from 2pm to 6pm and audiences will be able to listen to the broadcast by collecting headphones from the BBC Tent.
As for poetry, Manchester-based collective Young Identity will present a live set from some of the rising stars of the UK spoken-word scene, with performances by Isaiah Hull, Shirley May, Inna Voice and Chris Jam, plus a reading from novelist Desiree Reynolds.
CBBC's Katie Thistleton will explore the "amazing world of children's books" and record some special links to be broadcast on the channel as part of CBBC Book Club, which airs on CBBC every Sunday morning and afternoon.
Jonty Claypole, director of arts, BBC, said: “Giving books, storytelling and ideas a platform to reach audiences everywhere is something the BBC has always been committed to, so we’re delighted to partner with Hay Festival on such a rich and comprehensive range of programming – both onsite and on-air.”
Peter Florence, director of Hay Festival, added: “For 30 years Hay Festival has brought readers and writers together to share stories and ideas, to imagine the world. Today, our partnership with the BBC enables these conversations to be heard globally – whether from our fields in Wales, or the beaches of Cartagena de Indias - giving everyone, everywhere, front-row seats.”
The full Hay Festival programme is available to view online.