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.
Ultra-high-functioning addict meets gravity in this latest volume of autobiography. The writer and actor talks to Peter Florence.
‘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.
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.
An interview with the treasured actor, writer, traveller and diarist.
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.
The late-onset superstar and stadium-rocking comedian discusses his extraordinarily happy memoir How Did All This Happen?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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’.
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.
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.
The Booker-winning comic master conjures his new novel Zoo Time, a book about love – love of women, love of literature, love of laughter.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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?