The author of The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel and Tulip Fever previews a deliciously funny, poignant and wry new novel, full of surprising twists and turns, to be published this summer. James is getting on a bit and needs full-time help. So Phoebe and Robert, his middle-aged offspring, employ Mandy, who seems willing to take him off their hands. But as James regales his family with tales of Mandy’s virtues, their shopping trips, and the shared pleasure of their journeys to garden centres, Phoebe and Robert sense something is amiss. Is this really their father, the distant figure who never once turned up for a sports day, now happily chortling over cuckoo clocks and television soaps?
A conversation with two leading QCs and authors about the often sensational legal cases that have shaped contemporary society. Thomas Grant is author of Court Number One: The Old Bailey Trials That Defined Modern Britain and Jeremy Hutchinson’s Case Histories. Geoffrey Robertson led students in the sixties to demand an end to racism and censorship. He went on to become a top human rights advocate, saving the lives of many death-row inmates, freeing dissidents and taking on tyrants in a career marked by courage, determination and a fierce independence. He is founder of the redoubtable Doughty Street Chambers and author of the memoir Rather His Own Man: In Court with Tyrants, Tarts and Troublemakers.
Follett’s third novel in the Kingsbridge series went straight to the no.1 position on bestseller lists in the USA, Spain, Italy, Germany and France. In A Column of Fire, voices of tolerance struggle to make themselves heard under authoritarian rule as England faces challenges from Europe. The social and political concerns of the first Elizabethan era resonate loudly in the second. Following the screening of a short film, Follett discusses with the audience how the themes of his Tudor-time novel echo in today’s political theatre.
The author of Agent Zigzag and Operation Mincemeat tells the story of Oleg Gordievsky – described by John le Carré as “the best true spy story I have ever read”. On a warm July evening in 1985, a middle-aged man stood on the pavement of a busy avenue in the heart of Moscow, holding a plastic carrier bag. In his grey suit and tie, he looked like any other Soviet citizen. The bag alone was mildly conspicuous, printed with the red logo of Safeway, the British supermarket. The man was a spy for MI6. A senior KGB officer, for more than a decade he had supplied his British spymasters with a stream of priceless secrets from deep within the Soviet intelligence machine. No spy had done more to damage the KGB. The Safeway bag was a signal: to activate his escape plan to be smuggled out of Soviet Russia.
Taken from Matt Everitt’s acclaimed BBC Radio 6 Music show, The First Time invites you inside the lives of forty of the music world’s most notable legends. From Alice Cooper to Yoko Ono, Courtney Love to Elton John, follow their lives and careers starting with their first musical memories, first records and first gigs, finding out the songs that have shaped them along the way. He is joined by a true music icon – the lyricist and bass player for the Manic Street Preachers, Nicky Wire.
Most people are familiar with the dodo and the dinosaur, but extinction has occurred throughout history, with the result that nearly all the species that have ever existed are now extinct. Today, species are disappearing at an ever-increasing rate. In this lecture the professor of Palaeoenvironments looks at the causes and nature of extinctions, past and present, and the factors that can make a species vulnerable. Summarising what we know about all of the major and minor extinction events, including meteorite impacts and volcanic eruption, he examines some of the greatest debates in modern science. He analyses the relative role of climate and humans in the death of the Pleistocene megafauna, including mammoths and giant ground sloths, and the roles that global warming, ocean acidification and deforestation are playing in present-day extinctions.
The Kingdom Choir, known for their angelic and spellbinding performance at the royal wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, sing out the last, party night of the Festival. The Choir is a unique group of seasoned and dedicated men and women, bringing their strong blend of choral discipline with raw Gospel spiritual sound. Their extraordinary talent, sound, energy and ability to execute have kept them in high demand nationally and internationally for well over a decade. Their debut album Stand By Me is titled for their version of Ben E King’s soul classic. The diverse album track listing also includes captivating renditions of Beyoncé’s ‘Halo’ and John Legend’s ‘All Of Me’ as well as Stormzy’s ‘Blinded By Your Grace Part 2’. Also on the album is brand new, emotionally powerful ballad ‘Chases’, written by members of the Choir. The Kingdom Choir is directed by Karen Gibson.