The BBC at Hay Festival

Hay Festival and the BBC have a global partnership. The exciting collaboration continues at Hay Festival in 2017, with unprecedented coverage across the BBC’s domestic television, radio and online networks, and globally with BBC World News.

The BBC brings you unparalleled coverage of the festival’s greatest writers, thinkers and performers across radio, television and online.

For the first time ever, BBC Radio 4’s flagship lunchtime news programme World at One will be broadcasting daily from the festival with presenter Martha Kearney. Other Radio 4 programmes on site include Start the Week, Front Row, Four Thought, Inside Science, and Gardeners’ Question Time.

BBC Radio 3 will be highlighting Hay with a week of programmes including Free Thinking, In Tune, The Essay and The Verb. Radio 3’s Lunchtime Concerts will be coming live from St Mary’s Church, and World on 3 will be recording a concert by Senegalese superstar Baaba Maal. On BBC Music Day, 3rd June, guitarist Morgan Szymanski will be inviting amateur guitarists to join him for a ‘Hay jam’.

John McGrath will give this year’s Patrick Hannan Lecture, broadcast live on BBC Radio Wales. Presenters Wynne Evans and Jamie Owen will be broadcasting from the festival along with the Radio Wales Arts Show. BBC Radio Cymru’s cultural programme Stiwdio will also be reflecting the festival’s activities. The BBC Wales and Arts Council of Wales music project, Horizons, will provide a musical backdrop to the festival from folk to hip hop and everything in between.

For television, journalist Paul Mason will be recording a special edition of Artsnight for BBC Two. BBC World News and BBC Culture will be recording four sessions for their literary series Talking Books; Martha Kearney and George Alagiah will be interviewing authors Marlon James, Lionel Shriver, Peter Carey and Tahmima Anam.

There will be sessions on major BBC dramas including War and Peace, Shetland, Poldark and Russell T. Davies’ A Midsummer Night’s Dream. In the BBC Tent, broadcasters, commissioners and controllers will be running sessions on arts documentaries including events on award-winning documentary strands Arena and Storyville, and Dan Cruickshank will be discussing his BBC Four series on the British home. CBBC will be celebrating the Blue Peter Book Awards and welcoming author Dan Freedman to introduce a screening of CBBC’s adaptation of his children’s book series Jamie Johnson. Dame Jacqueline Wilson will also be introducing an episode of the channel’s popular drama Hetty Feather.

In addition, there will be sessions on what makes a great radio adaptation; workshops on how to write the perfect script and masterclasses on how to break into the media. Plus information about Get Reading, the BBC’s new campaign celebrating the pleasures of reading.

BBC Arts Online will be streaming sessions live and curating a selection of daily festival highlights, with selected content on BBC iPlayer. BBC Shakespeare Lives will cover sessions devoted to celebrating the Bard’s 400th anniversary. This is the strongest commitment to Hay Festival we’ve made. Our coverage this year will demonstrate our ambition to join up arts on the BBC like never before – across television, radio and digital. By doing so we can give the public access to the greatest writers, performers and thinkers in a way that no one else can. The BBC will be broadcasting a broad range of programmes from the Hay Festival, including the One Show, Radio 3’s In Tune and World News’ Talking Books specials, in addition to reflecting the true spirit of the festival and its unique cultural line-up to those who cannot attend – this to me is a model of public service broadcasting.” Tony Hall, Director General of the BBC, 2014 This partnership takes conversations that take place in a field in Wales, on a beach in Cartagena, in a garden in Bangladesh, and amplifies them 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.” Peter Florence, Director of Hay Festival

About BBC Arts

The BBC is the biggest investor in original arts and music programmes and events. It aims to provide the broadest range and depth of music and arts programmes across television, radio and online.

The BBC creates non-commercial partnerships with the arts sector that go beyond broadcast, from sharing expertise to widening public engagement in UK arts e.g. Southbank Centre, The Royal Opera House, Sage Gateshead, Edinburgh International Festival, and many more.

BBC World News and, the BBC's commercially funded international 24-hour English news platforms, are owned and operated by BBC Global News Ltd. BBC World News television is available in more than 200 countries and territories worldwide, and over 380 million households and 1.8 million hotel rooms. The channel's content is also available on 178 cruise ships, 53 airlines and 23 mobile phone networks. offers up-to-the minute international news and in-depth analysis for PCs, tablets and mobile devices to more than 76 million unique browsers each month.

Visit during the festival for more highlights from Hay Festival for international audiences around the world.

Audience in BBC tent at Hay Festival