‘Best ever’ line-up includes Parky and a Python

Borders Book Festival 2016. The annual book festival in the gardens of Harmony House, Melrose. Sunday 19th June

Picture by Alex Hewitt/Writer Pictures
Borders Book Festival 2016. The annual book festival in the gardens of Harmony House, Melrose. Sunday 19th June Picture by Alex Hewitt/Writer Pictures

Baillie Gifford Borders Book Festival director Alistair Moffat hailed what he believes will be the best event yet ahead of today’s programme launch.

Topping the bill at this summer’s Baillie Gifford Borders Book Festival in Melrose are Monty Python and Fawlty Towers star John Cleese, TV legend Michael Parkinson, and Andy Murray’s tennis coach mum Judy.

Talking to The Southern on Monday, Mr Moffat enthused: “I really think this is the strongest programme ever, I’m really pleased.

“Every year, I say to our team that we are making a rod for our own backs – how can we possibly top this?

“And every year, we seem to do just that.”

The full line-up has been announced for the 14th festival, which runs from June 15-18, with the stunning backdrop of Harmony Garden in Melrose.

Mr Moffat added: “Advance ticket sales to Festival Friends are shattering records, but we always make sure that there are still plenty left for general sale.”

The programme of more than 100 events includes best-selling novelists Joanna Trollope and Arabella Weir, journalist Misha Glenny; broadcaster James Naughtie; satirist and Private Eye co-founder Richard Ingrams; gardening expert Carol Klein; star of Dinner Ladies and Last Tango in Halifax Anne Reid, and No. 1 crime writers Val McDermid, and Ann Cleeves, best known for the TV hit series Vera and Shetland.

Also from the world of crime, Chris Brookmyre and Mark Billingham are back by popular demand with their double act, as well as foodie raconteur Jay Rayner with his Ten (Food) Commandments; wildlife TV-presenter Steve Backshall; Top Gear and Grand Tour TV script editor Richard Porter and, of course, political satirist and impressionist, Rory Bremner.

A new Scottish Mortgage Investment Trust non-fiction series, featuring high-profile events on a variety of topical subjects by experts such as political journalist Tim Shipman, current affairs commentator and writer James Fergusson and politician and diplomat Rory Stewart, while ex-BBC correspondent Allan Little, who has reported for over 30 years from more than 80 countries, will be delivering the inaugural Brewin Dolphin Lecture on the rapidly changing political world.

Judy Murray - Marc Atkins
image � Marc Atkins / panoptika.net

Judy Murray - Marc Atkins image � Marc Atkins / panoptika.net

And with children’s authors such as Philip Ardagh, Guy Bass, Vivian French, Petr Horacek and Derek Landy means the kids don’t miss out. And, for the first time, the popular SBHA Family Book Festival sees adults go free to any of its events when accompanied by at least one child.

The winner of the prestigious £25,000 Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction will be announced on Saturday, June 17.

In addition, throughout the four days, there will be live music, a street market, tented food village, champagne and whisky tastings and kids’ storytelling and circus skills, making the book festival a great day out for all the family to enjoy.