The BFI & Radio Times Television Festival, the biggest, most exciting public television festival in the UK, featuring the very best TV shows and a star-studded line up, is returning to BFI Southbank and BFI IMAX from Friday 20 May to Sunday 22 May 2022. 

Over the course of three jam-packed days, it will preview some of the most hotly anticipated shows of the year, including the BBC’s new adaptation of Sally Rooney’s award-winning novel Conversation with Friends and the first chance for members of the public, worldwide, to see Sir David Attenborough’s groundbreaking series for AppleTV+, Prehistoric Planet. Executive produced by actor and filmmaker Jon Favreau and legendary natural history producer Mike Gunton, Prehistoric Planet uses cutting-edge science, world class natural history filming and the very latest CGI to transport audience back 66 million years to the last great dinosaur era. 

The festival will also reunite the cast and crew from some of the biggest dramas of the last year, including Russell T Davies’ masterly It’s a Sin, which has just picked up an extraordinary 11 BAFTA nominations, Channel 5’s charming new take the classic on All Creatures Great and Small, the BBC’s epic adaptation of Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials, starring Ruth Wilson, and the beloved long-running BBC One drama series Call the Midwife. 

There will be sessions dedicated to some of the best comedy series of the past year, including Stephen Merchant introducing a preview screening from the second series of his BBC hit comedy thriller The Outlaws, which is returning soon, Matt Berry and Arthur Mathews will discuss their hilarious comic creation Stephen Toast, who recently returned to screens in Toast of Tinseltown, and Rose Matafeo will appear to talk about her pitch-perfect millennial romcom Starstruck, which just aired its second season. 

Family favourite Malory Towers, returning for a third season this year, will also be previewed, while the festival’s much-loved sessions that draw on rarely-seen material from the BFI National Archive, this year celebrates a bona-fide musical superstar, with Prince: Purple Passion and Pomp. 

In addition to the stars appearing live on stage to talk about their hit shows, there will be directors, producers and writers giving audiences the inside track and an exclusive look behind the scenes of some of television’s biggest shows. Names to look out for include: 

  • It’s a Sin – writer and executive producer Russell T Davies, executive producer Nicola Shindler, actors Omari Douglas and Callum Scott Howells 
  • Conversations with Friends – actors Alison Oliver and Joe Alwyn, director Lenny Abrahamson, executive producer Emma Norton and series producer Catherine Magee
  • Starstruck – creator and star Rose Matafeo, actor Emma Sidi and writer and actor Nic Sampson 
  • Call the Midwife – creator and writer Heidi Thomas, executive producer Pippa Harris and key cast members (TBC)
  • The Outlaws – creator and star Stephen Merchant, co-stars Eleanor Tomlinson (TBC), Gamba Cole, Clare Perkins, Darren Boyd and Jessica Gunning
  • Toast of Tinseltown – writer and star Matt Berry, writer Arthur Mathews, director Michael Cumming, actors Doon Mackichan and Harry Peacock
  • All Creatures Great and Small – actors Nicholas Ralph, Callum Woodhouse, Rachel Shenton and Anna Madeley, executive producer Melissa Gallant
  • Malory Towers – actors Ella Bright, Danya Griver, Sienna Arif-Knights and Beth Bradfield

More than 20 sessions will take place throughout the weekend, with around half of them being announced today, and the remaining events announced on 26 April. Co-programmed by the BFI and Radio Times, the festival draws on the expertise of both organisations, for a broad range of audiences from telly addicts and boxset-bingeing aficionados, to those who love to discover archive gems and people who love nothing more than coming together to watch the latest prime-time entertainment. 

The inaugural edition of the festival in 2017 welcomed star names including Tom Hiddleston, Claire Foy, Maggie Smith, Freida Pinto, and Thandie Newton, with Michael Palin and Steven Moffat both inducted into the Radio Times Hall of Fame. Palin and Moffat were joined in the Hall of Fame in 2019 festival by Dame Helen Mirren and Joanna Lumley, which also featured Keeley Hawes, Jed Mercurio, Josh O’Connor, Zawe Ashton, Charlie Brooker, Suranne Jones, Nadiya Hussain and the cast of Derry Girls. Both the 2017 and 2019 festivals attracted more than 10,000 people over the course of the weekend. 

The BFI and Radio Times is a partnership that underlines how both organisations have played an essential part in British television heritage for decades. The BFI is responsible for maintaining the BFI National Archive, home to one of the most significant archives of film and television in the world and is the UK’s designated National Television Archive. This includes the largest accessible archive of British TV programmes, an estimated 750,000 titles collected since the late 1950s. In addition the BFI curates television seasons and events at BFI Southbank, providing public access to that TV heritage. Radio Times is the UK’s leading voice on television and radio, across print, digital and live events. Founded in 1923, Radio Times was the world’s first broadcast listings magazine and remains the UK’s best-selling quality magazine.