‘Sherlock’ Creators, Michael Palin to Attend New U.K. Television Festival

Leo Barraclough
Variety

The British Film Institute and Radio Times, one of the U.K.’s leading TV listings magazines, have teamed up to create the BFI and Radio Times Television Festival. The event, set to be the largest public television festival in the U.K., will take place April 7- 9 at BFI Southbank.

The festival will have more than 30 events, including talks with some of the biggest names in British broadcasting; exclusive U.K. and international previews; rare archive screenings; book signings; family programming; and a “fiendishly tricky” TV quiz.

The festival’s line-up includes appearances from British TV stars such as Monty Python’s Michael Palin, “Sherlock” creators Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss, and “The Durrells” actress Keeley Hawes, as well as a tribute to comedy actress Victoria Wood with guests including Julie Walters.

There will be premieres of the new season of “The Durrells,” and an exclusive look at new Sky series “Guerrilla,” starring Freida Pinto, Babou Ceesay and Idris Elba, who is also executive producer. Pinto and Ceesay will attend the premiere of the series, which has been created by John Ridley, the Oscar-winning adaptor of “12 Years a Slave.”

There will also be appearances from Walter Iuzzolino, the mastermind behind Channel 4’s streaming service Walter Presents, and children’s authors Jacqueline Wilson (“Hetty Feather,” “Tracy Beaker”), Michael Morpurgo (“War Horse”) and Judith Kerr (“The Tiger Who Came to Tea,” “Mog”). The full program will be announced in February.

The festival will kick off with Palin being inducted into the Radio Times Hall of Fame, taking the audience on a journey through his life, from “Monty Python’s Flying Circus” to travel series “Around the World in 80 Days.” There will also be a screening of “East of Ipswich,” which Palin wrote in 1987: a bittersweet drama about a teenager’s first sexual experiences on a seaside family holiday was described by Palin as “the nearest I’ve come in fiction to the autobiographical.”

Gatiss and Moffat will be interviewed on April 9. “Gatiss: From League of Gentlemen to Sherlock” will see Gatiss take the audience on a tour of his favorite television moments. Later in the day Moffat will also be inducted into the Radio Times Hall of Fame, when he will discuss his career with comedian Frank Skinner — from the early days of “Press Gang” and “Coupling” through to his work on two of the biggest shows on U.K. TV, “Doctor Who” and “Sherlock.”

Friends and colleagues will come together to share their memories in “Victoria Wood: A Tribute,” a session that will be “full of fun, warmth and memorable clips.” Guests include Walters and Piers Wenger, controller of BBC Drama. There will also be a screening of two examples from both ends of Wood’s career: “Two Creatures Great and Small” (1981), Wood’s first starring vehicle, sharing top billing with Walters, and “Victoria Wood at the Albert Hall” (2002), which “captures all her brilliance as an award-winning stand-up performer.”

The festival will also celebrate the hugely popular medical drama “Call the Midwife” with a panel event that “offers an insight into how a frayed news clipping or long-forgotten medical development can trigger a storyline.” Heidi Thomas, creator of the hit TV series, will share the production secrets of the show, from research to filming, alongside executive producer Pippa Harris and members of the “Call the Midwife” cast.

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