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Bees and breakfast – Television presenter Bill Turnbull joins festival headliners

Press release   •   Jul 03, 2014 11:21 BST

Television presenter Bill Turnbull will be one of the headline speakers at this year’s Rochdale Literature and Ideas Festival.

The journalist and presenter, best known for presenting BBC Breakfast on BBC1, is one of the UK’s most famous faces, having also appeared in popular programmes including ‘The One Show’, ‘Strictly Come Dancing’, ‘Children in Need’, ‘Celebrity Who Wants to be a Millionaire’ and ‘Doctor Who’.  Last year he joined ‘Songs of Praise’ and appeared on comedy panel show ‘Would I Lie to You?’, but it’s perhaps for being on the sofa in the mornings as BBC Breakfast anchorman that he is best known.

Away from the small screen, he’s a well-known bee-keeping enthusiast and has written two enlightening books on the subject, including the imaginatively titled ‘The Bad Beekeepers Club: How I stumbled into the curious world of bees - and became (perhaps) a better person.’  Bill also answered questions on bee-keeping on ‘Celebrity Mastermind’ and has presented the Queen with a jar of his own homemade honey!

On Sunday 26 October he’ll be talking about his love of bee-keeping and his life in front of the camera,  revealing what it’s like to cover breaking world news including New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and King's Cross Station following the 7/7 London bombings. Bill has also promised to include stories from his interviews with some of the biggest stars in showbusiness.

Councillor Neil Emmott, Cabinet Member for Corporate Services and Neighbourhoods at Rochdale Borough Council, said:

“As well as being an engaging and popular personality, Bill is a highly-skilled interviewer who has broadcast on major news stories from all corners of the globe.  He is a fantastic speaker and I’m sure that his festival performance will be extremely entertaining.”

Rochdale Literature and Ideas Festival runs from Friday 24 to Sunday 26 October, with a feast of events covering drama, comedy, dance, music, theatre, films, visual arts and children’s shows. 

Bill Turnbull joins the line up alongside the previously announced singer/songwriter Lucy Spraggan, comedian Dave Spikey, author Chrissie Manby, poet Ian McMillan and writer Jackie Kay. 

The festival will include guest speakers, authors, writers and local arts organisations and is aimed at encouraging more people to engage in reading and philosophy. It will include events at venues in Rochdale town centre and boroughwide, aimed at all ages.

More authors, acts, performers and workshops will be confirmed later this month.  Tickets go on sale from 9am on 17 July from 

The festival is due to the generosity of Annie and Frank Maskew, a Rochdale couple who shared a passion for reading and thinking, and originally met in Rochdale Library. They left a sum of money to be used on resources and events related to literature and philosophy to ensure classic works are available for future generations.

For information about appearing at the festival or getting involved in other ways, email

For festival updates on Twitter connect with @RochdaleLitFest

The festival is organised by Rochdale Borough Council, funded by the Maskew Bequest.

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