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Jennifer Saunders talks to Francine Stock

Bonkers – My Life in Laughs

Hay Festival 2014, 

The writer and actor’s life is full of riotous adventures: accidentally enrolling on a teacher training course with a young Dawn French, bluffing her way to each BBC series, shooting Lulu, trading wild faxes with Joanna Lumley, and touring India with Ruby Wax and Goldie Hawn.

 

Jennifer Saunders talks to Francine Stock

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Stephen Fry

More Fool Me

Hay Festival 2015, 

Ultra-high-functioning addict meets gravity in this latest volume of autobiography. The writer and actor talks to Peter Florence.

Stephen Fry

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Tom Hollander, James Wood and Jon Canter

The Rev. Diaries

Hay Festival 2014, 

‘I went into the newsagent’s for a packet of fags and I saw the exercise book, and I thought, yes, that’s got your name on it. Or it soon will. Buy it and fill it with your thoughts, which are many and beautiful and frequently in service to the Lord. Make a diary of your time at St Saviour’s. Maybe, in two hundred years’ time, you’ll be celebrated as the Samuel Pepys of the Church of England. Or a sort of Reverend Bridget Jones. Is that too much to hope for, Lord?’ The creators of the glorious television comedy present the thoughts of Rev. Adam Smallbone.

Tom Hollander, James Wood and Jon Canter

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Caitlin Moran

Moranifesto

Hay Festival 2016, 

This is a statement from the superstar author of How To Be A Woman about the world and the causes she cares about. It’s a compelling and hilarious rallying call for our times, tackling topics as pressing and diverse as reclaiming the word feminism, gaying up the Olympics, affordable housing, 1980s swearing, boarding schools and the reasons the internet is like a drunken toddler. Chaired by Stephanie Merritt.

Caitlin Moran

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Michael Palin talks to John Crace

Travelling to Work

Hay Festival 2016, 

An interview with the treasured actor, writer, traveller and diarist.

Michael Palin talks to John Crace

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Hugh Dennis talks to Marcus Brigstocke

Britty Britty Bang Bang

Hay Festival 2013, 

The Now Show and Outnumbered star muses on a self-confident, pluralist Olympic Britain – a country where a major politician can dangle helplessly from a zip wire like a discarded straw dolly and gain in popularity, and whose Jubilee Queen can send herself up and then descend by parachute.

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John Bishop talks to Dylan Jones

How Did All This Happen?

Hay Festival 2014, 

The late-onset superstar and stadium-rocking comedian discusses his extraordinarily happy memoir How Did All This Happen?

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Steve Coogan and Stephen Frears

Philomena

Hay Festival 2014, 

Martin Sixsmith’s book Philomena has been made into a multi-award-winning film by screenwriter and actor Steve Coogan (Alan Partridge, The Trip, Despicable Me) and the director Stephen Frears (The Queen, Dirty Pretty Things). They talk to Alan Yentob.

Steve Coogan and Stephen Frears

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The John Finnemore Sketch Show

Winter Weekend 2011, 
John Finnemore, writer and star of Radio 4’s Cabin Pressure, regular guest on The Now Show, and popper-up on Miranda and That Mitchell And Webb Look, presents an hour of sketches from his new Radio 4 sketch show, with Simon Kane, Carrie Quinlan and Lawry Lewin. Come and laugh your Christmas stockings off.

The John Finnemore Sketch Show

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Jo Brand talks to Peter Florence

Hay Festival 2011, 
The comedian and writer discusses her new volume of autobiography Can’t Stand Up for Sitting Down.
Jo Brand talks to Peter Florence

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John Lloyd and Jon Canter

Afterliff

Winter Weekend 2013, 

The brilliant successor to Douglas Adams’ and John Lloyd’s 1983 classic The Meaning of Liff. A liff is a familiar object or experience that English has no words for. Afterliff corrects this disgraceful oversight: including ‘Ljubjana’ interj. – What people say to the dentist on the way out; ‘Eworthy’ adj. – Of a person: worth emailing but not worth phoning or meeting. John Lloyd is the legendary producer of Blackadder, Not The Nine O’Clock News and QI, and is joined by Jon Canter, Afterliff's co-author.

John Lloyd and Jon Canter

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Tim Minchin talks to Sarah Crompton

Words and Music

Hay Festival 2012, 
The comedian-songwriter talks about satire, love-songs and his work on the smash-hit RSC production Matilda.

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John Lloyd, John Mitchinson and James Harkin

1,339 QI Facts to Make Your Jaw Drop

Winter Weekend 2013, 

At QI’s very core is the astonishing fact: painstakingly researched and distilled to a brilliant and shocking clarity. Pigs suffer from anorexia. Wagner always wore pink silk underwear. Rugby School’s first official rugby kit in 1871 included a bow tie. Lord Kitchener had four spaniels called Shot, Bang, Miss and Damn. It is impossible to whistle in a spacesuit. Join in the fun with the QI writing team.

John Lloyd, John Mitchinson and James Harkin

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Michael Rosen

Alphabetical: How Every Letter Tells A Story

Winter Weekend 2013, 

From minding your Ps and Qs to wondering why X should mark the spot, Alphabetical is a book for everyone who loves words and language. Whether it’s how letters are arranged on keyboards or Viking runes, text-speak or zip codes, this book will change the way you think about letters forever.

14+ years

Michael Rosen

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Bryony Gordon

The Wrong Knickers: A Decade of Chaos

Hay Festival 2014, 

Like Carrie Bradshaw, Gordon may have had a column in a national newspaper, but her twenties weren’t one long episode of Sex and the City. They were a decade of hangovers, heartbreak, and hideously awkward mornings-after, all over her overdraft limit. She tells the tales to Georgina Godwin.

Bryony Gordon

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John Mitchinson, John Lloyd and James Harkin

1,339 QI Facts To Make Your Jaw Drop

Hay Festival 2014, 

At QI’s very core is ‘the astonishing fact’: painstakingly researched and distilled to a brilliant and shocking clarity. Pigs suffer from anorexia. Wagner always wore pink silk underwear. Rugby School’s first official rugby kit in 1871 included a bow tie. Lord Kitchener had four spaniels called Shot, Bang, Miss and Damn. It is impossible to whistle in a spacesuit. Join in the fun with the QI writing team.

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Jasper Fforde

The Song of the Quarkbeast

Winter Weekend 2013, 
The comic crime thriller author and all round nice guy reveals his latest caper - A long time ago Magic faded away, leaving behind only yo-yos, the extremely useful compass-pointing-to-North enchantment and the spell that keeps bicycles from falling over.

11+ years
Jasper Fforde

Hay Player

David Baddiel talks to David Aaronovitch

Hay Festival 2011, 
The comedian and writer whose credits include the fundamentalism satire movie The Infidel discusses his new novel The Death Of Eli Gold.
 
The Death of Eli Gold - David Baddiel

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Jon Ronson

Lost At Sea

Hay Festival 2013, 

In his latest curious adventures into human eccentricity the humorist investigator goes on patrol with America’s real-life superheroes, nerds a UFO convention in the Nevada Desert with Robbie Williams, and asks a robot whether it has a soul. 

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Tony Robinson

No Cunning Plan

Hay Festival 2017, 

The actor and hugely successful children’s writer yarns his working life from child stardom in the first production of Oliver! and the joy of Baldrick, to the documenting of Time Team archaeology and The Worst Jobs in History. Robinson was knighted in 2013 for public and political service. Chaired by Lucy Cotter.

Tony Robinson

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Helen Fielding talks to Peter Florence

Bridget Jones: Mad About the Boy

Hay Festival 2014, 

What do you do when a girlfriend’s 60th birthday party is the same day as your boyfriend’s 30th? Does the Dalai Lama actually Tweet or is it his assistant? Is sleeping with someone after 2 dates and 6 weeks of texting the same as getting married after 2 meetings and 6 months of letter writing in Jane Austen’s day? Pondering these, and other modern dilemmas, Bridget Jones stumbles through the challenges of single-motherhood, Tweeting, texting and rediscovering her sexuality in what SOME people rudely and out-datedly call ‘middle age’.

Helen Fielding talks to Peter Florence

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Giles Coren talks to Paul Blezard

How To Eat Out: Lessons From A Life Lived Mostly In Restaurants

Hay Festival 2013, 

Bad waiters, bum tables, little rip-offs, big cons, old fish, cheap meat, yesterday’s soup and tomorrow’s gastroenteritis… The splenetic humorist tells us how to avoid the lot, and even come out of it with free champagne and a dish named after you by way of apology.

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Marcus Brigstocke, Andre Vincent, Carrie Quinlan and Guest

The Early Edition

Hay Festival 2010, 
The comedians review the papers and mock the day’s media.

Hay Player

Julian Clary talks to Fiona Lindsay

Briefs Encountered

Hay Festival 2012, 
More than one thing is about to go bump in the night at Noel Coward’s Kent retreat, Goldenhurst. The higher the society the looser the morals. A dark, and wickedly funny ghost story.

Hay Player

Tim Quinn

Nostalgic & Hilarious Afternoon of Comic Book History

Hay Festival 2010, 
Entertaining show from the Marvel Comics editor.
Tim Quinn

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Eric Lampaert

Comedians’ Cinema Club

Hay Festival 2015, 

We are thrilled to welcome the inspired and hilarious improv show in which Eric and a cast of comics act out a famous movie. They’ve done Die Hard, Pretty Woman, all the Harry Potters, and for tonight they want the Hay audience to choose the movie. Let us know what you’d like them to take on – we’ll go with the best nomination on our Facebook page.

Update 15.05.15 - Film Choice is Mary Poppins.

Eric Lampaert

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Howard Jacobson talks to Peter Florence

The British Council Series 2

Hay Festival 2013, 

The Booker-winning comic master conjures his new novel Zoo Time, a book about love – love of women, love of literature, love of laughter.

Hay Player

Marcus Brigstocke, Andre Vincent, Carrie Quinlan and Guest

The Early Edition

Hay Festival 2010, 
The home team satirists read the Sunday papers.

Hay Player

Marcus Brigstocke, Steve Punt, Carrie Quinlan and Andre Vincent

Something's Going Funny with the Climate

Hay Festival 2015, 

Climate change is no laughing matter, but when all else fails, perhaps it’s time to take humour a bit more seriously? We really do need something to laugh about.

Marcus Brigstocke, Steve Punt, Carrie Quinlan and Andre Vincent

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John Mitchinson, John Lloyd and James Harkin

QI’s Greatest Hits

Hay Festival 2015, 

QI’s very core is ‘the astonishing fact’: painstakingly researched and distilled to a brilliant and shocking clarity. To celebrate the reissue of their backlist, join us for a canter through their best-ever discoveries: Jeeves wasn’t a butler. Coffee isn’t made from beans. Woodlice drink through their bottoms. Light is invisible. Mount Everest isn’t the tallest mountain. Florence Nightingale spent 50 years in bed. There are 613 commandments in the bible. Monkeys pay to look at porn. An hour of endless fun with the QI writing team.

John Mitchinson, John Lloyd and James Harkin

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Stephen Fry and friends

Not The European Election Coverage - Wonderweaving

Hay Festival 2019, 
With Huw Edwards recalled to London to present the television coverage of the EU election results, some of the festival stars including Stephen Fry, Robert Macfarlane & Jackie Morris, Sarfraz Manzoor, Pat Barker, Marcus Brigstocke, Xinran and Kamal Ahmed join us in a gala variety show to conjure tales, cast spells, paint otters, tell love stories and interrogate the notion of balance on BBC News.
Stephen Fry and friends

Hay Player

Marcus Brigstocke, Carrie Quinlan and Andre Vincent

Early Edition 1

Hay Festival 2011, 
The satirists rip up the weekend papers.

Hay Player

The John Finnemore Sketch Show

Hay Festival 2012, 
The writer and star of Radio 4’s Cabin Pressure, regular guest on The Now Show and popper-up on Miranda, The Unbelievable Truth and That Mitchell and Webb Look, presents an hour of sketches with Simon Kane, Carrie Quinlan and Lawry Lewin.

Hay Player

John Finnemore, Carrie Quinlan, Andre Vincent and Tiffany Murray

The Early Edition 2

Hay Festival 2012, 
Merciless mockery of muppets and mags. Exclusive! In all Sundays...

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Russell Kane

The Humorist

Hay Festival 2012, 
The brilliant comedian presents his savagely funny debut novel.

Hay Player

John Sutherland and John Crace

The Two Johnnies Do Sex And Marriage: From Austen To McEwan

Hay Festival 2013, 

Can literature show us how to have a good sex life and a successful marriage? The SuperProf and the Digested Reads satirist romp through the bedrooms and letters where less is more. And where more is sometimes more too.

Hay Player

Steve Punt, Will Smith and Marcus Brigstocke

Talking Funny

Hay Festival 2015, 

Just because you can say funny things doesn’t mean you can write funny things. Three of the best comedy writers spill the beans on what makes a good script. The writers Will Smith (The Thick of It and Veep) and Steve Punt (The Now Show, The Mary Whitehouse Experience) talk to Marcus Brigstocke.

Steve Punt, Will Smith and Marcus Brigstocke

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Jon Ronson

So, You’ve Been Publicly Shamed…

Hay Festival 2015, 

A powerful and sometimes humorous look at the phenomenon of artificial high dramas and public shamings that are characteristic of a world dominated by social media. Why do we do it and how does it affect the shamed? Ronson was prompted into looking at public shaming after his own online identity was stolen in 2012. He met famous shamers and shamees to discover how public ridicule and vitriol can devastate the victim, and to uncover the true reasons behind the rise in public shaming.

Ronson is a documentary maker and author of many bestselling books including The Psychopath Test, The Men Who Stare at Goats, Lost at Sea and Them: Adventures with Extremists. Chaired by John Mitchinson.

Jon Ronson

Hay Player

Marcus Brigstocke, Saci Lloyd, Ed Gillespie and Juliet Davenport

I’m An Expert, Get Me Out of Here

Hay Festival 2017, 

Join enthusiastic host Ed Gillespie and two teams of the great and the good for this riotous and irreverent game show. Expect a heady mix of topicality, tomfoolery and randomness. No (live) insects will be hurt during the proceedings. We can’t guarantee the same for our heroic participants’ feelings, pride or reputation.

Marcus Brigstocke, Saci Lloyd, Ed Gillespie and Juliet Davenport

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Bridget Christie, Tony Law, James Acaster and Nish Kumar hosted by Ed Gamble

The Machynlleth Comedy Festival Showcase

Hay Festival 2012, 
The Saturday Night Showcase returns, featuring the best breaking comedians and the comet-tailed stars of our fabulous sister festival over the mountains. You’ll hear them here second!

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Simon Singh

The Simpsons and their Mathematical Secrets

Winter Weekend 2013, 

The writers of The Simpsons are so fascinated by mathematics that they have drip-fed morsels of number theory into the series over the last twenty-five years – so many that they could form the basis of an entire university course. The author of The Codebook and Fermat’s Last Theorem uses specific episodes to explain concepts ranging from pi and the paradox of infinity to the origins of numbers.

Simon Singh

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Mark Watson with Eric Lampaert and Joel Dommett

Stand-up

Hay Festival 2011, 
The award-winning comedian headlines an evening of sparkling comedy. He really does make the world substantially better.

Hay Player

Matt Parker

Number Ninja

Hay Festival 2013, 

The Infinite Monkey Cage stand-up maths star takes an hilarious tour through the world of numbers. Expect everything from debunking number nonsense and flagrant sudoku abuse to the mysterious patterns in the locations of ancient monuments and defunct Woolworths’ stores.

Hay Player

Greg Proops

The Smartest Man in the World

Hay Festival 2014, 

The comic from San Francisco, known here for his unpredictable improvisations on Whose Line Is It Anyway? brings his comedy proopcast to Hay for one night only. ‘Some of the boldest comedy on the podcasting frontier right now.’ Rolling Stone Magazine

Greg Proops

Hay Player

Helen Lederer talks to Georgina Godwin

Fictions – Losing It

Hay Festival 2015, 

When Millie’s asked to be the front woman for a new diet pill, she naively believes that all her troubles will be solved… The actress and comedy writer introduces her desperately funny first novel.

Helen Lederer talks to Georgina Godwin

Hay Player

Srđa Popović

Blueprint for Revolution: How To Use Rice Pudding, Lego Men, and Other Non-violent Techniques to Galvanise Communities, Overthrow Dictators, or Simply Change the World

Hay Festival 2015, 

How do ordinary people become revolutionaries? In 2000, too-cool-to-care Belgrade rock kid Srđa Popović found himself at the centre of a movement which was about to change the world. Popović was one of the unexpected leaders of the student movement Otpor! that overthrew dictator Slobodan Milošević and established democracy in Serbia all by avoiding violence and opting for something far more powerful: a sense of humour.

Srđa Popović

Hay Player

Marcus Brigstocke, Juliet Davenport, Ed Gillespie and Special Guests

I’m An Environmentalist, Get Me Out of Here

Hay Festival 2016, 

Join host Ed Gillespie and two teams of the great and the good from the world of sustainability for this riotous and irreverent game show. Expect a heady mix of topicality, tomfoolery, ritual humiliation and randomness. No (live) insects will be hurt during the proceedings. We can’t guarantee the same for our heroic participants’ feelings, pride and reputations.

Marcus Brigstocke, Juliet Davenport, Ed Gillespie and Special Guests

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Mark Watson, Carrie Quinlan and Andre Vincent

The Jubilee Edition 4

Hay Festival 2012, 
Scoundrels, rogues and fools - these people have no respect at all: to the Tower with them all.

Hay Player

Robin Ince

Happiness Through Science

Hay Festival 2012, 
The Uncaged Monkeys star asks if you can be happy and rational at the same time. Join him in a world of Schrödinger cats, multiverses and evolutionary conundrums as he orienteers through the craggy landscape of evolution while plumbing the depths of his own murky consciousness, all without the aid of a safety net.

Hay Player

Meera Syal talks to Sarfraz Manzoor

Fictions – The House of Hidden Mothers

Hay Festival 2015, 

Little India, East London: Shyama, aged 44, has fallen for a younger man. They want a child together. Meanwhile, in a rural village in India, young Mala, trapped in an oppressive marriage, dreams of escape. When Shyama and Mala meet, they help each other realise their dreams. But will fate guarantee them both happiness? The author of Life Isn’t All Ha Ha Hee Hee launches her new novel.

Meera Syal talks to Sarfraz Manzoor

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Suzy Bennett and Guest Comedians, Carrie Quinlan MC

Funny Women Comedy Gala

Hay Festival 2010, 
A showcase of budding female comedy performers vying for a finalist’s place in the Eighth Funny Women Awards in September.

Hay Player

Greg Jenner

A Million Years in a Day: A Curious History of Everyday Life

Hay Festival 2015, 

Who invented beds? When did we start cleaning our teeth? How old are wine and beer? Which came first: the toilet seat or toilet paper? What was the first clock? In this gloriously entertaining romp through human history Greg Jenner, historical consultant to Horrible Histories, explores the gradual and often unexpected evolution of our daily routines.

Greg Jenner

Hay Player

Marcus Brigstocke, Carrie Quinlan and Andre Vincent

The Teatime Edition 3

Hay Festival 2012, 
The press-gang sharpen their wits to slice up the news, much of which may relate to tomorrow.

Hay Player

Matt Pritchett

Matt

Hay Festival 2012, 
The Telegraph’s superstar cartoonist on drawing, humour and satire.

Hay Player

Robin Ince, Carrie Quinlan and Andre Vincent

The Early Edition 5

Hay Festival 2012, 
The satirists’ final word on the stories of the day.

Hay Player

John Crace and John Sutherland

The Two Johnnies Do Emma

Hay Festival 2015, 

Jane Austen’s comic masterpiece was published 200 years ago by John Murray. Our awareness of her heroine’s limitations is one of the great joys of the book. The Guardian’s Digested Read satirist is joined by UCL’s Emeritus Professor of English, John Sutherland – co-author of The Connell Guide to Jane Austen’s Emma, Lives of the Novelists and How To Be Well Read – to celebrate the book.

John Crace and John Sutherland

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James Ward

Adventures in Stationery: A Journey Through Your Pencil Case

Hay Festival 2015, 

We are surrounded by stationery: half-chewed Cristal Bics and bent paper clips, rubber bands to fiddle with or ping, blunt pencils, rubbers and Tipp-ex. Exploring these everyday objects, Ward reveals tales of invention – accidental and brilliant – and bitter rivalry. He also asks the difficult questions, like who is Mr Pritt, and what are the thousands of uses claimed for Blu-Tack?

James Ward

Hay Player

Ben Miller

The Aliens Are Coming!

Hay Festival 2016, 

Ben Miller is, like you, a mutant ape living through an Ice Age on a ball of molten iron, orbiting a supermassive black hole. He is also an actor, comedian and approximately one half of Armstrong and Miller. He explores The Exciting and Extraordinary Science Behind Our Search for Life in the Universe.

Ben Miller

Hay Player

Elif Shafak, Rachael Jolley, Sarah Churchwell and David Aaronovitch

The Index Debate: Diss My Mother: Expect a Punch

Hay Festival 2015, 

What are the limits of free speech and civility? What is the nature of ‘offence’? What earns ‘respect’? If words can hurt you, are sticks and stones and broken bones the answer?

Elif Shafak, Rachael Jolley, Sarah Churchwell and David Aaronovitch

Hay Player

Terence Blacker and Derek Hewitson

Let’s Misbehave! The Songwriters’ History of Love, Lust and Loathing

Hay Festival 2012, 
If you want to know what’s really been going on in the hearts and beds of men and women over the past century or so, it’s songs that will tell the true story…