BBC unveils 'unparalleled' Hay Festival presence

BBC unveils 'unparalleled' Hay Festival presence

The BBC will give this year's Hay Festival "unparalleled coverage" across television, radio and online as part of their ongoing global partnership.

BBC Radio 4’s flagship lunchtime news programme "World at One" will broadcast from the site of the festival (which runs from 26th May - 5th June) in front of a live audience; and, on television, BBC2’s "Artsnight" will film over the first weekend, presenting a Hay Festival special with Paul Mason on Friday 3rd June. 

Hay will present events celebrating major BBC dramas, including a "War and Peace" event with adaptor Andrew Davies, events on "Shetland" and "Poldark", and Russell T Davies and Maxine Peake on the forthcoming BBC adaptation of "A Midsummer Night’s Dream".

As for children's coverage, Blue Peter’s Lindsey Russell is presenting a Blue Peter Book Awards event at the festival, the CBBC Book Club will be on site, and there will be opportunities to meet the creative talent behind the channel’s most popular programmes.

CBBC’s new drama "Jamie Johnson "will be presented by the original book’s author Dan Freedman; Dame Jacqueline Wilson will introduce clips of the adaptation of her book Hetty Feather (Yearling) alongside the director; and actors and creators of the award-winning "Wolfblood" will reveal how the show is made.

BBC World News will record four sessions for their literary series "Talking Books" to be broadcast on BBC World News. Martha Kearney will be in conversation with Man Booker winner Marlon James and Australian novelist Peter Carey; and journalist and author George Alagiah will be interviewing We Need to Talk About Kevin author Lionel Shriver and British Bangladeshi writer Tahmima Anam. 

For BBC Radio 3, Clemency Burton-Hill is presenting lunchtime concerts live from St Mary’s Church, Hay, and World on 3 at Hay will feature Senegalese superstar Baaba Maal. There will also be special editions of "Free Thinking", "In Tune", "The Essay" and "The Verb". 

The festival also marks 3rd June with a "Hay Jam" as part of BBC initiative Get Playing on BBC Music Day. 

The BBC Radio Wales’ Arts Show and BBC Radio Cymru’s cultural programme "Stiwdio" will also spotlight events, while the BBC Wales and Arts Council of Wales music project, Horizons/Gorwelion, will provide a "musical backdrop" to the festival, from folk to hip hop.

In the BBC Tent, meanwhile, broadcasters, commissioners and controllers will be running sessions on arts documentaries and what makes a great radio adaptation, workshops on how to write the perfect script ,and masterclasses on how to break into the media. There will be information about Get Reading, the BBC’s new year-long campaign encouraging people to read, too. 

BBC Arts Online will stream sessions live and curate a selection of daily festival highlights, with selected content on BBC iPlayer. Short films celebrating the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare ands showcasing the best of Hay will be shown online. These and other videos will be showcased on Hay Festival: Talking About Shakespeare, a new digital platform launched with films from the world’s leading actors and academics, playwrights and directors, poets and novelists. The platform, designed to give insight into Shakespeare’s "contemporary resonance", has contributions already from Judi Dench, Benedict Cumberbatch, Toni Morrison, Stephen Fry, Germaine Greer, Simon Schama, Jeanette Winterson, Tom Stoppard and Maxine Peake.

Jonty Claypole, director of BBC Arts, said: “BBC Arts always aims to make the broadest range of arts programmes accessible to as many people as possible. Our partnerships with extraordinary arts and cultural organisations like Hay Festival help audiences who otherwise wouldn’t be able to attend these great events to have access to the best thinkers and writers from around the world in the comfort of their own homes via local, national and global BBC broadcasts.”

He added, of this year's line-up: "There really is something for everyone.”

Peter Florence, director of Hay Festival, said: “Our partnership with BBC Arts means that conversations that take place in a field in Wales, on a beach in Cartagena, in a public square in Arequipa, are amplified to readers and thinkers in every country on Earth. It’s an extraordinary opportunity to be both local and global, intimate and public, to share stories and ideas beyond borders or silences. The BBC will give everyone, everywhere, the best seat at the table.”