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18th JULY – 20th JULY 2014

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Friday 18th July 2014

 

 

 

 

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Ann Widdecombe
Strictly Ann: The Autobiography
Friday 18th July 16.45 - 18.00
 
With characteristic honesty, Widdecombe recalls the highlights of her life. From her early beginnings in Singapore, her days at convent school and Oxford, to her long-serving years as an MP, this is the life story of one of our most outspoken and celebrated politicians. She offers a unique insight into her time as a Minister in three departments and the Shadow Cabinet in the 1990s.
 
As a rare anti-hunting Tory, who campaigned for prison education and once put on a miner's overalls to go down a coal mine, Ann Widdecombe has never been afraid of controversy. She has lived life to the full.
 
From witty appearances on Have I Got News For You to her unforgettable and star-turning performances on Strictly Come Dancing, Ann Widdecombe has earned her place in the public's affections and has been heralded as a 'national living treasure' by The Guardian.
 
A Q&A session will follow.
 
Click HERE to purchase tickets.
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Mark Tully
The Magic of India
Friday 18th July 18.30 - 19.45
 
Tully bring to life the magic and mystique of the India he knows so well. He evokes the spirituality, sounds, smells and moods of his adopted country from the time of his youth during the last days of the Raj to the present day. He looks at the best and the worst of India and at what the future holds for the world’s biggest democracy and one of its fastest-growing economies.
 
Former BBC New Delhi Bureau Chief Mark Tully was born in India and spent the first years of his life there. After schooling in England he moved back to India as BBC India correspondent. Since then, he has worked as a freelance journalist and broadcaster based in New Delhi. He is the author of ‘India’s Unending Journey’ and ‘India: The Road Ahead’. He is currently a presenter on BBC Radio 4’s Something Understood, which views spiritual themes through music, prose and poetry.
 
A Q&A session will follow.
 
Click HERE to purchase tickets.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Kate Adie
Fighting on Home Front – The Legacy of Women in World War One
Friday 18th July 20.15 - 21.30
 
Adie shows how women emerged, for the first time, from the shadows of their domestic lives as a generation of men went off to fight in World War One. In public life, they began to take up essential roles - from transport to policing. They even began to enter into important roles in politics. They had finally become citizens and a recognised part of the war machine, often acquiring independent incomes. Adie charts the seismic move towards equal rights with men that began a century ago and asks what these women achieved for future generations.
 
Kate Adie became the BBC`s Chief News correspondent in 1989 and has reported from war zones around the world. She has won numerous awards including: three Royal Television Society awards; the Bafta Richard Dimbleby Award; and the Broadcasting Press Guild`s Award for Outstanding Contribution to Broadcasting.
 
A Q&A session will follow.
 
Click HERE to purchase tickets.
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 

Saturday 19th July 2014

 

 
 
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Gerard Lyons
The Consolations of Economics
Saturday 19th July 10.00 - 11.15
 
This is the good news from the Chief Economics Adviser to Boris Johnson. In this surprising take on the changing global economy, Lyons explains why we're better off than we think. He predicts that in the next twenty years the world economy will enjoy one of its strongest periods of growth ever.

While the West's share in the global economic cake may be relatively smaller, it will be a bigger amount of cake than before. Life expectancy, income and educational standards will rise and the trend in China and India will continue up, despite set-backs along the way.

Gerard Lyons, in addition to his role with Boris Johnson, was ranked by Bloomberg the number one global forecaster. He has testified to the US Senate, US Congress, spoken at the EU-China Summit in Beijing and at the IMF. He has been a regular on international TV and written press columns across the globe.
 
A Q&A session will follow.
 
Click HERE to purchase ticket
 
 
 

 

 

 
 
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Lucy Hughes-Hallett
The Pike - Gabriele d'Annunzio: Poet, Seducer and Preacher of War
Saturday 19th July 11.45 - 13.00
 
Hughes-Hallett's book on  Gabriele d'Aunnunzio - poet, daredevil, proto-fascist - has won all three of the UK's most prestigious prizes for non-fiction - the Samuel Johnson Prize,  the Costa Biography Award and the Duff Cooper Prize - as well as the Paddy Power Political Biography of the Year   In September 1919, d’Annunzio declared himself Commandante of the city of Fiume in modern day Croatia. His intention was to establish a utopia based on his totalitarian and artistic ideals. It was the dramatic pinnacle to an outrageous career.
 
Hughes-Hallett charts the life of this debauched artist and national hero and his evolution from idealist Romantic to radical right-wing revolutionary. We witness the political turbulence of early 20th century Europe and the emergence of fascism.
 
Lucy Hughes-Hallett's other books are Cleopatra: Histories, Dreams and Distortions and Heroes.  She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.
 
A Q&A session will follow.
 
Click HERE to purchase tickets.

 

 
 
 
 
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Andrew Williams
A Very British Killing
Saturday 19th July 13.30 – 14.45
 
In a story which won the George Orwell Prize 2013, Williams relates how on the 14th September 2003 Baha Mousa, a hotel receptionist, was arrested in Basra by British troops and taken to a military base for questioning. Less than forty-eight hours later he was dead. Williams tells the inside story of this crime and its aftermath, exposing the casual brutality, bureaucratic apathy and institutional failure to hold people criminally responsible for Mousa's death. What it reveals about Britain and its political and military institutions is explosive.
 
Professor Williams founded the Centre for Human Rights in Practice based in Warwick Law School. He is a leading public advocate for justice in the wake of the Iraq occupation and now Editor-in-Chief of the on-line magazine ‘Lacuna’ which investigates and reviews issues of injustice around the world. 
 
A Q&A session will follow.
 
Click HERE to purchase tickets.
 
 
 

 

 

 
 
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David Leigh and Luke Harding
Wikileaks
Saturday 19th July 15.15 - 16.30
 
The information dispelled in what became known as ‘Wikileaks’ infuriated the world's greatest superpower, embarrassed the British Royal Family and helped cause a revolution in Africa. The man behind it was Julian Assange, one of the strangest figures ever to become a worldwide celebrity. Was he an internet messiah or a cyber-terrorist? Was he an information freedom fighter or sex criminal? The debate echoed around the globe as some US politicians even called for his assassination. Assange's actions continue to be felt, in the trial of Bradley Manning and the flight of Edward Snowden, the NSA whistleblower.
 
Award-winning Guardian journalists David Leigh and Luke Harding were at the centre of a unique publishing drama that involved the release of some 250,000 secret diplomatic cables and classified files from the Afghan and Iraq wars. (At one point Julian Assange was hiding from the CIA in David Leigh's London house).
 
A Q&A session will follow.
 
Click HERE to purchase tickets.
 
 

 

 

 

 

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Jonathan Meades
An Encyclopaedia Of Myself
Saturday 19th July 17.00 - 18.15
 
Described by Stephen Fry as ‘one of the funniest writers we have,’ Meades describes his early years in Salisbury in an encyclopaedic way and gives post-war, rural English life its ‘due’. Remembering that 'Nothing wilfully invented. Memory invents unbidden,' he describes the 1950s as ‘not grey’ but rather ‘luridly polychromatic…and… peopled by embittered grotesques; bogus majors; reckless bohos; pompous boors; drunks; and suicides’. Salisbury, where he was brought up, had two industries: God and the Cold War, both of which provided a cast of adults for the child to scrutinise with wonder and fear. On one hand he describes ‘dessicated god-botherers’ and on the other ‘gung-ho chemical warriors’. Both form a controversial backdrop to his talk.
 
Jonathan Meades is a British writer on food, architecture, and culture, as well as an author and broadcaster. He is an Honorary Associate of the National Secular Society.
 
A Q&A session will follow.
 
Click HERE to purchase tickets.
 

 

 

 

 

 

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Luke Harding
The Snowden Files: The True Inside Story of the World’s Most Wanted Man
Saturday 19th July 18.45 - 20.00
 
Harding tells the story behind the biggest intelligence leak in history and the forces that tried to stop them. It began with an email: ‘I am a senior member of the intelligence community...’  There was no name, no job title and no further details. What followed was the most spectacular intelligence breach in history from the heart of US power.
 
This is the story of how a 29-year-old, working for the top secret National Security Agency, became the world’s most wanted man and the journalists who stumbled into the story and published against the odds. Harding relates a high-octane account of secrets and defiance, integrity and intrigue. Branded a traitor and hailed a hero, Snowden took extraordinary risks to reveal what he knew. This is the tale they didn’t want you to hear.
 
Luke Harding is an award-winning foreign correspondent with the Guardian. He has reported from Delhi, Berlin and Moscow and has also covered wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
 
A Q&A session will follow.
 
Click HERE to purchase tickets.
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Ann Treneman
Finding The Plot – 100 Graves to Visit Before You Die
Saturday 19th July 20.30 - 21.45
 
Treneman, who is best known for her hilarious parliamentary sketches in The Times, has branched out – to graveyards. Drawing on her book which is part travelogue, part biography, part social history – she takes you to some of the most interesting graves in Britain. You’ll meet: the real War Horse; Byron and his dog Boatswain; prime ministers; queens and kings; Florence Nightingale and her pet baby owl Athena; highwaymen; the real James Bond; and, of course, M. Then there are: writers; painters; poets; rakes and rogues; the meek and mild; and the just plain mad.

She draws on entries from her book: some of which are humorous and some poignant, but all tell us something about the British way of death. At times absurd, at times astounding, Treneman proves an entertaining guide to the Anglo-Saxon underworld!
 
US-born Ann Treneman is sketchwriter for The Times and one of the strongest female voices in the lobby. In 2010, she was nominated female political journalist of the year.
 
A Q&A session will follow.
 
Click HERE to purchase tickets.
 

 

 

 

Sunday 20th July 2014

 

 

 

 

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David Torrance
Scottish independence
Sunday 20th July 10.00 - 11.15
 
On the 18th September 2014, Scots will decide their future: should the country quit the UK and take control of its own destiny, or should it remain part of what advocates call the most successful political and economic union of modern times?
 
Everyone in the country has a stake in this decision. In a guide described by The Guardian as ‘clear, informed and balanced,’ Torrance charts his way through a minefield of different claims and knocks down fictions from both Nationalists and Unionists. He plunges into the key questions of the debate from the future of the pound to the shape of an independent Scottish army. With access to the strategists and opinion-makers on both sides of the political divide, he provides an incisive guide to the most dramatic constitutional question of our times – the battle for Britain.
 
David Torrance presented and produced The Week In Politics for Grampian and Scottish TV and was Parliamentary Aide to the Shadow Scottish Secretary David Mundell at the House of Commons. He currently works as an Edinburgh-based writer, journalist and broadcaster.
 
A Q&A session will follow.
 
Click HERE to purchase tickets.
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Peter Hain
Ad and Wal - Values, duty, sacrifice in apartheid South Africa
Sunday 20th July 11.45 - 13.00
'Sorry cancelled'
 
What would you do if you lived under a regime that was a byword for racism and injustice if you knew that you could stay safe only if you stayed quiet? Most of us like to think we would stand up to fight against evil and yet the vast majority of white South Africans either stood by or actively participated in the oppression and carnage during apartheid.

Ad & Wal is the story of two modest people who became notorious; two survivors who did what they thought was right; and two parents who rebelled against the apartheid regime, knowing they were putting themselves and their family in grave danger.  Hain, MP and former Cabinet minister, tells the story of his parents who were: campaigners; fighters; and eventually, exiles.
 
Peter Hain was the Leader of the House of Commons from 2003 to 2005 and Secretary of State for Northern Ireland from 2005 to 2007 under Blair. He was then Secretary of State for Wales from 2007 to 2008 under Brown.
 
A Q&A session will follow.
 
'Sorry cancelled'

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Rupert Christiansen
Does Opera have a future? 
Sunday 20th July 13.30 - 14.45
 
Opera is a wonderful musical form which often gives rise to questions that need a worthy guide: What does the plot mean? What should one listen out for? and what makes up the best kind of stage?
 
Christiansen provides a guide to some of today's most popular operas. They range from the Baroque operas of Gluc and Cavalli through to the classical operas of Mozart and the nineteenth-century masterpieces by Wagner, Verdi, and Puccini. He also looks at twentieth-century works such as Strauss and Stravinsky. He gives a pithy synopsis of each opera and includes short sections on the history of each work. He describes the main characters and gives recommendations for the best recordings of them. He also considers opera’s future.
 
Rupert Christiansen has written about opera for the Spectator, the Observer, the Times Literary Supplement and Vanity Fair. Since 1966 he has been opera critic of the Daily Telegraph and a regular broadcaster.
 
A Q&A session will follow.
 
Click HERE to purchase tickets.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Vicky Pryce
Prisonomics - Behind bars in Britain's failing prisons
Sunday 20th July 15.15- 16.30
 
When economist Vicky Pryce admitted taking speeding points meant for her former husband, the ex-Cabinet minister Chris Huhne, she found herself convicted of perverting the course of justice. After a very public trial she was sent to East Sutton Park prison near Maidstone. There, she kept a diary in which she recorded her very challenging experiences and her strong views on how the prison system works, especially with regard to how it treats women. The result, ‘Prisonomics', will provide a compelling analysis of the cost to the economy, as well as the human cost of keeping women in prison. In it, she uses her personal experiences and professional understanding to look at how prison works and should work, from an economist’s perspective.
 
Vicky Pryce was Director General for Economics at the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) and Joint Head of the UK Government Economics Service. Prior to then, she was a Partner and Chief Economist at KPM.
 
A Q&A session will follow.
 
Click HERE to purchase tickets.
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Polly Toynbee in debate with Jonathan Aitken, chaired by Norman Baker MP
Debate: ‘Margaret Thatcher’s Government – a force for good?’
Sunday 20th July 17.00 - 18.15
 
Margaret Thatcher was the longest-serving British Prime Minister of the 20th century and is the only woman to have held the office. A Soviet journalist called her the "Iron Lady", a nickname that became associated with her uncompromising politics and leadership style. As Prime Minister, she implemented policies that have come to be known as ‘Thatcherism’.
 
This debate centres on her key political, economic and social policies. It also looks at her legacy. The speakers will contest her key policies such as those centring on: deregulation; labour markets; privatisation; Europe; and trade union power.
 
Jonathan Aitken is a former Conservative MP and Cabinet minister. He is currently President of Christian Solidarity Worldwide.
 
Polly Toynbee is a columnist for the Guardian. She was formerly BBC Social Affairs Editor and Associate Editor of the Independent.
 
A Q&A session will follow.
 
Click HERE to purchase tickets.
 

 

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Alison Weir
The Marriage Game (the sequel to “The Lady Elizabeth”)
Sunday 20th July 18.45 - 20.00
 
Their affair is the scandal of Europe. From the time of her accession in 1558, the young Elizabeth I and Lord Robert Dudley cast caution to the wind in pursuing their passion for each other. The plot thickens when Dudley’s wife is found dead with her neck broken.

The young Queen is regarded by most of Christendom as a heretic and a usurper, yet many princes seek her hand in marriage. Knowing her hold on her throne to be desperately insecure, Elizabeth encourages them in order to keep them on friendly terms with England. She plays what becomes known as ‘the marriage game’, appearing seriously to entertain these suitors while holding them off indefinitely. The truth is that she has no inclination to marry, bear children or render herself subservient to any man.

Alison Weir is the highest-selling female historian in the UK. She writes historical novels, mostly in the form of biographies about British royalty with a speciality in the Tudor period.
 
A Q&A session will follow.
 
Click HERE to purchase tickets.
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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John Sweeney
North Korea Undercover – Inside The World’s Most Secret State
Sunday 20th July 20.30 - 21.45
 
North Korea is like no other tyranny on earth. It is Orwell's 1984 made reality. The regime controls the flow of information to its citizens, pouring relentless propaganda through omnipresent loud speakers. Free speech is an illusion: one word out of line and the gulag awaits. State spies are everywhere, ready to punish disloyalty and the slightest sign of discontent.
 
Posing as a university professor, Sweeney travelled undercover to the country. Drawing on his own experiences and interviews with defectors and other key witnesses, he provides a rare insight into life there today, examining the country's troubled history and possible future.
 
Sweeney is a reporter for BBC Panorama who became a YouTube sensation when he lost his temper with a senior member of the Church of Scientology. Before joining the BBC he worked at the Observer, where he covered wars and unrest in more than sixty countries.
 
He has won an Emmy, the ‘What The Papers Say’ Journalist of The Year Prize, an Amnesty International prize and the Paul Foot Award.
 
A Q&A session will follow.
 
Click HERE to purchase tickets.
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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