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Friday 30 May 2014, 15:38
Wilfrid Brambell as Albert Steptoe I am not grumpy about failing to get to Hay again this year. Really. I’m not at all jealous that Jon made it down there to do Radio 2’s live blog for the announcement of the 500 words winner. Hay may be billed as a gathering of people, “a big conversation about discovery and intellectual adventure” but who wants to be involved in that? I’d rather be at home in London. It’s a highly cultural place. Except EVERYONE’S IN HAY. They must be, there was NO ONE on the tube this morning. Just me. So I’m the only one missing out (I am currently doing my grumpy Steptoe face).
That was how I was feeling. Until I remembered the BBC's Hay partnership, and that lots of events are being streamed live from the muddy field. And then many of those recordings are going to be available on the BBC Arts website for four weeks.
So, I will be able to watch Toni Morrison, whose amazing novel Beloved I studied at school, talk about her work and the late great Maya Angelou; Sebastian Faulks author of Birdsong which to my shame I’ve yet to read (it’s on my bedside table though); funny folk Jennifer Saunders and Stephen Fry are also there, as well as former Children’s Laureate Jaqueline Wilson and conductor John Eliot Gardiner. To come this weekend are talks from Huffington post founder Arianna Huffington, and especially exciting for theatre-loving me, Richard Eyre talking about telly adaptations of Shakespeare and The Hollow Crown series. The annual Hamlin Lecture is also available in full – this year given by American satirist PJ O’Rourke.
And if you are just after a little flavour of the Haylights (ahem), rather than full portions, there are clips featuring something for everyone from Chris Tarrant, Ruby Wax, footballers Ossie Ardiles and Ricardo Villa, Tony Parsons, Carrie Fisher, Mary Berry, Al Murray, the list goes one – but I won’t you can just browse through the selection here.
So rather than feeling grumpy I’m beginning to feel rather smug that I’ll be able to enjoy a little bit of Hay this weekend from the comfort of my sofa, with slippers instead of wellies on. Hay-ho, I’m virtually there.
Hannah Khalil is Digital Content Producer, About The BBC website and Blog.