TV’s Anita Rani, Dan Snow and Tony Robinson headline the biggest-ever Gloucester History Festival

Gloucester MP Richard Graham (centre) with History Festival committee member Donna Renney (centre le

Gloucester MP Richard Graham (centre) with History Festival committee member Donna Renney (centre left) Festival Co-ordinator Mhairi Smith (centre right) and keen history fans, students Callum Nimmo (Marling School) and Kim Mann (Stroud High School) - Credit: Archant

An amazing line-up of TV personalities, top historians, actors and leading politicians will be appearing at the 2017 Gloucester History Festival (September 2 - 17).

This year’s Gloucester History Festival is the biggest so far and includes something for everyone from a host of free family events and workshops to thought-provoking talks by some of our most famous broadcasters and authors.

The theme of the fantastic 2017 Gloucester History Festival is “Revolution and Innovation” which will be explored at the very popular Blackfriars Talks (September 9 - 17)

TV’s Countryfile presenter Anita Rani, who made a moving journey into her family’s Indian heritage in the BBC’s Who Do You Think You Are, will talk about India’s partition on its 70th anniversary (Saturday September 16).

Ever-popular TV broadcaster Dan Snow will present a rare chance to see his podcast Dan Snow’s History Hit (Thursday September 14) and veteran politician and former Chancellor of the Exchequer Ken Clarke will give his forthright and often witty views on British politics (Sunday September 10).

Politician turned historian Roy Hattersley will reveal the fascinating story of the Catholics in Britain from before the Reformation to the present day as explored in his new best-selling book (Wednesday September 13).

And Tony Robinson, TV’s Baldrick and Time Team presenter, will lift the lid on his life-long passion for history (Saturday September 9) while the BBC’s former Moscow correspondent Bridget Kendall takes a fascinating look at the Cold War (also Saturday September 9).

The packed programme at Gloucester History Festival (with many events free) also includes:

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• Gloucester Day (Saturday September 2): Celebration of the end of the Civil War siege of Gloucester with historical re-enactments, parades and lots of fun with a strong community focus

• City Voices (Saturday September 2 - Sunday 17): Events in stunning locations across the city with historical and community talks, musical events and concerts, hands-on workshops, family shows including storytelling, nature trails and pop up activities

• Family Day (Saturday September 9): Free events for children of all ages and their families including fun hands-on workshops, great art activities, storytelling, exciting family trails and free shows across seven city venues

• Heritage Open Days (Thursday September 7- Sunday 10): Visit many of Gloucester’s historic buildings free of charge with talks, walks and music. A national scheme overseen by the National Trust.

The range of events at the Gloucester History Festival is vast and varied. Paddy O’Connell from BBC Radio 4’s Broadcasting House will talk about Capt. Jerry Roberts, one of the greatest codebreakers at Bletchley Park who helped win the Second World War (Friday September 15).

David Olusoga, one of the presenters of the new BBC2 Civilisations history series, will ask whether TV can bring history and art to the people and change lives (September 10).

The History Festival is breaking new ground with the first public event for Shaun Greenhalgh , one of the world’s greatest art forgers who fooled many of the experts. He will discuss the forger’s skills with Sunday Times art critic Waldemar Januszczak (Saturday September 16)

And fans of Radio 4’s serial about country folk, The Archers, are in for a treat. Actor Barry Farrimond who plays the character Ed Grundy, agricultural story editor Graham Harvey and writer Joanna Toye will talk about the world’s longest running radio soap opera (Tuesday September 12).

Festival committee member Donna Renney said: “The enthusiasm of people in Gloucester for their heritage is inspiring and we are particularly pleased to be working with new partners such the City Farm. I am looking forward to seeing the animals at Blackfriars.”

Gloucester MP Richard Graham, who has led the creation and development of the Gloucester History Festival, said: “The Festival is designed to maintain our second place in the national rankings for Open Heritage Weekend activities, expand the City Voices programme and increase the range of the Blackfriars Talks.”

He said he was especially pleased that the City Voices series of talks and activities will be more inclusive and provide opportunities for some great local stories.

“Our Blackfriars Talks guest speakers love the setting of the country’s oldest, best preserved Dominican Priory and especially the feeling of being part of our history in its 800-year setting,” said Mr Graham. “This is hard to rival anywhere in the country and I really do feel that there is something for everyone during the two weeks of the 2017 History Festival.”

Value day passes are available Monday to Friday for the Blackfriars Talks and start from just £15 for a whole day’s events.

For further details about the festival and to book tickets visit the website, call the box office on 01452 396572 or visit the Tourist Information Centre at 28 Southgate Street, Gloucester GL1 2DP.

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