Tuesday 30 June 2015

Savile Row and America: a Sartorial Special Relationship / Washington DC / VÍDEO: The US love of bespoke British suits

“America has had a wonderful Oedipal relationship with England in that it could not have us ruling them but could not do without our tailors.”
– Nick Foulkes

“It is a real honour to mount this exhibition showcasing the talents, craft and vitality of the most famous tailoring address in the world. Savile Row is rightly recognised for its long tradition of ultimate quality, but it is also a tradition that is living and thriving; training new generations of craftsmen, constantly inspiring the worlds of fashion and style and responding to customers’ changing needs and desires. Americans have long recognised the unique charms of a bespoke Savile Row suit and we have a truly rich selection of pieces in this exhibition exploring this special relationship from Buffalo Bill to Samuel L Jackson.”
– Pierre Lagrange, Chairman of Savile Row Bespoke

The Savile Row Bespoke Association takes pleasure in announcing the exhibition, Savile Row and America: a Sartorial Special Relationship. The event is hosted in Washington DC by Sir Peter Westmacott, British Ambassador to the United States of America, at the historic British Ambassador’s residence at 3100 Massachusetts Avenue, NW. An original Lutyens house, the Embassy is considered one of the most exceptional in the world.

Curated by critically acclaimed author and life-long Savile Row aficionado, Nick Foulkes, the exhibition centres on the special relationship between Savile Row and the United States. It focuses on important commissions from famous Statesmen and Hollywood legends through to customers of today. The showcase demonstrates Savile Row’s position at the forefront of its craft, today catering to the bespoke needs of the style-conscious modern gentleman. Visitors will appreciate the skill of London’s bespoke tailors in all their diversity: from historic companies trading as early as 1689 through to contemporary houses established within the past few years.

Homage is paid to Savile Row’s American customers both past and present, with names such as Junius Spencer Morgan and his son J. P. Morgan, William Randolph Hearst, John Jacob Astor, Rudolph Valentino, Charlie Chaplin, Fred and Adele Astaire, Bill Blass, Gary Cooper, Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jnr, Louis B. Meyer, Samuel Goldwyn, Gerry Ford, Douglas Fairbanks, Katharine Hepburn, Rex Harrison, Humphrey Bogart, Stewart Grainger, Gregory Peck, Duke Ellington, Ambassador Joseph Kennedy, Presidents Harry Truman, George Bush Sr, Ronald Reagan, John Paul Getty, Cole Porter, Bing Crosby, Steve McQueen and Michael Jackson, plus present stars such as Henry Kissinger, Madonna and Gwyneth Paltrow.

The above roll call and those of many more is brought to life by over 70 outfits and 175 artefacts, including ledgers, patterns, photographs, documents and curiosities, collectively demonstrating the history and heritage of Savile Row and the unique relationships formed between one small street and a nation.

In addition to the main exhibition, guests will also have the opportunity to view clothing made for members of the Royal family as well as a selection of garments specially created for Bentley drivers by five Savile Row tailoring houses. The show also includes a number of exquisite bespoke pieces from Huntsman ‘s Gregory Peck exhibition, which met with critical acclaim in London last year.

Henley is Coming !

Henley Royal Regatta's official YouTube channel is the best place to catch all the action from undoubtedly the best known regatta in the world.

All races from Henley 2015 will be streamed live & uninterrupted here on YouTube. If you’re in the UK you’ll also be able to follow the live coverage, on Sunday 5th July only, via the BBC Red Button.

Subscribe to us on You Tube: https://www.youtube.com/use...

Henley Royal Regatta is the pre-eminent, river-based international rowing regatta. It has an unparalleled

Monday 29 June 2015

Patrick Macnee 1922-2015

Macnee, then 43 with Catherine Woodville, 27, after their wedding at Hampstead register office
Photograph: PA/PA

Macnee with his wife Baba at their home in La Jolla, California
Photograph: Crollalanza/Rex Shutterstock

At his home in Palm Springs, Californa, to launch his autobiography

Photograph: Frederic Meylan/Sygma/Corbis

Patrick Macnee 

Actor best known as John Steed, bowler-hatted hero of The Avengers

Dennis Barker

Despite a long and diverse career in the theatre and cinema, Patrick Macnee, who has died aged 93, will be remembered as John Steed, the umbrella-twirling, bowler-hatted hero of the stylish derring-do TV series The Avengers. The programme, written and presented in “swinging” 1960s London, was thrilling and dynamic, and it made a star of Macnee and his sidekicks Honor Blackman (as Cathy Gale) and Diana Rigg (as Emma Peel).

In 1960, the series Police Surgeon, produced by ABC with Ian Hendry as its star, had come to an end. The writer Brian Clemens was asked to devise a show on similar lines, but more light-hearted, and came up with The Avengers, in which Hendry would be a doctor, David Keel, being helped in his search for revenge on the drug-dealer killers of his lover by a shady and enigmatic man, John Steed, from some mysterious intelligence service.

The show was immediately popular, with Hendry and Macnee investigating assassinations, lethal radioactivity, missing scientists and political extremists. Macnee was told to develop the character of Steed in any way he fancied. “They were very sweet people and they just gave me the name,” he recalled. “They said: ‘Have you read the James Bond books? Go away and make up a character.’”

When Hendry left the show after the first series, the emphasis shifted towards the flamboyant Steed. From the time the series took root in 1961 until 1969 when it was wound up, and by which time a third female sidekick, Tara King (played by Linda Thorson) had joined him, Macnee as Steed was the constant factor.

He reprised the role in 1976 when Clemens launched The New Avengers, which partnered Macnee with Gareth Hunt (as Mike Gambit) and Joanna Lumley (as Purdey), and ran for two series. Macnee claimed that Steed was based on his own ironic approach to life. During the second world war, many of his friends had been killed, he said, and he had acquired a “wry detachment” which he liked to think he had infused into The Avengers.

Macnee was born in London, the son of Daniel, a racehorse trainer at Lambourn, Berkshire, and his wife, Dorothea (nee Hastings), a niece of the Earl of Huntingdon. Macnee claimed that his family life had been chaotic and was dominated by a “tight group of women”. He was sent to boarding school – Summerfields, Oxford – at the age of five and then to Eton, where he recalled being whipped. While at Eton, he opened a betting book, helped by the racing tips passed on to him by his father. He also raced his own greyhound at the dog track in nearby Slough.

Macnee later said that he felt that first school and then the armed forces (in 1942 he went into the Royal Navy and commanded a motor torpedo boat) stifled his emotions. It was to escape this psychological straitjacket that his thoughts turned to the stage. He won a place at the Webber Douglas Academy of Dramatic Art, London, and became a leading man at Windsor Rep.

Unimpressed by the overall prospects in post-war Britain, he went off to Canada, where there were opportunities for young actors on TV. He sent much of his earnings back to his wife, the actor Barbara Douglas, whom he had married in 1942. He also took parts in many US TV shows and stage productions. In 1949 he appeared in a TV version of Macbeth and in 1953 was in Othello. In 1951 he played the young Jacob Marley in the film of Scrooge (A Christmas Carol in the US). He was working in London in a rare production role, on the documentary series Winston Churchill: The Valiant Years, when he was offered the part in The Avengers.

He appeared in more than 150 stage plays from his 20s to his 70s, including the Broadway production of Sleuth in the early 1970s and the leading role in Killing Jessica in the West End of London in 1986-87. He played both Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson several times. A memorable big-screen part was as Sir Denis Eton-Hogg in This Is Spinal Tap (1984). He was also in The Howling (1981) and the Bond film A View to a Kill (1985).

Kinky Boots, recorded by Macnee and Honor Blackman in 1964, finally made the charts in 1990.
The cult status of The Avengers continued to grow, and in 1990 a recording of Kinky Boots made by Macnee and Blackman and first released by Decca in 1964, which at the time had failed to reach the charts, made the UK top 10. In 1998 a film version of The Avengers, starring Ralph Fiennes as Steed and Uma Thurman as Emma Peel, featured Macnee as the voice of Invisible Jones. The following year he appeared with his former New Avengers co-star Lumley in a TV adaptation of Rosamunde Pilcher’s Nancherrow (1999).

Macnee’s first marriage ended in divorce, as did his second, to the actor Kate Woodville. His third wife, Baba Sekely, died in 2007. He is survived by the two children of his first marriage, Rupert and Jenny.

• Daniel Patrick Macnee, actor, born 6 February 1922; died 25 June 2015

Friday 26 June 2015

450 years of the Spanish Riding School / Vienna's historic Spanish riders trot into the 21st century/ VÍDEO below

450 years of the Spanish Riding School
In 2015, the Spanish Riding School will be celebrating the 450th anniversary of its first written mention with gala performances on Heldenplatz.

The first mention of the existence of a predecessor of the later Spanish Riding School is dated 20 September 1565: A document bearing this date refers to an amount of 100 gulden for creating a "Thumblplatz im Garten an der Purgkh alhie" (a playground in the garden on the castle boulevard). An outdoor riding and tournament ground was installed at the time near the Imperial Palace on land presently occupied by Josefsplatz.

On the occasion of the 450th anniversary festivities, an anniversary performance will be held on Heldenplatz at 7.00 pm on 26 June 2015 in front of the Office of the Federal President: The Royal Andalusian Riding School and its horses will be coming specially from Jerez to Vienna in order to give a very special presentation of classical riding art together with the Lipizzaners of the Spanish Riding School. The glittering Fête Impériale will then be held in the Imperial Palace. Another performance follows on 27 June 2015 at 7.00 pm. The general rehearsal starts at 7.00 pm on 25 June.

450 years of the Spanish Riding School

Dress rehearsal: 25 June 2015, 7.00 pm
Anniversary performance: 26 June 2015, 7.00 pm
Gala performance: 27 June 2015, 7.00 pm
Tickets priced from €25 to €250 can be purchased at www.srs.at

Monday 22 June 2015

The Kilties Golf Shoes

Like all things golf, it originated in Scotland and probably derived its diminutive name from the kilt. It’s a mini kilt of sorts – for your shoe. It probably had the job of keeping rain and mud from the golfer’s foot, since things can get messy in a hurry in the highlands.

Lore has it that the Duke of Windsor (of Wallis Simpson fame), popularized many of the styles of golf shoes worn today when he sported them stateside, handsomely festooned with the hitherto unknown kiltie. In the Duke’s time, kilties were known as oxfords – as in the whole shoe – with a ‘skirt’ of fringed leather draped over the instep covering the laces and eyelets. Today, the term refers simply to the fringed accessory that we all know and love.

So, about our kilties. You may have noticed that they’re pretty generous in width and length. That’s because like a good set of bangs, they make the haircut. There’s nothing worse, in my view, than a skimpy kiltie that’s too short or narrow for the shoe. It’s got a job to do and ought to have the heft to do it.

The unique feature of our kiltie is that it has two hidden metal strips inside that allow you to mold it to the shape of your foot. That keeps it looking neat and sweet, fitting for a round of golf with his highness. So wear it or not, as you choose – but remember that it’s history is a noble, if murky one, and the look, utterly, exquisitely royal.

From Fairway to Runway

IN some fashion quarters, enthusiasm for old-school heritage style is fading like embers. But elsewhere, it is raging out of control, with evermore vivid hues and ornate detail. One need only glance down, at the recent spate of colorized bucks and saddle shoes. Or take a gander at the even more surprising reappearance of an over-the-vamp, over-the-top shoe detail one might have thought was gone forever: the kiltie.

Like some soap-opera character declared dead in a South American plane crash, only to be found alive years later (and looking suspiciously like a completely different actor), the charmingly oddball golf-shoe detail that is the kiltie is back, in a totally different incarnation. Once an inescapable facet of 1950s country clubs, a kiltie is a long fringed tongue of leather that attaches to a golf shoe’s inside tongue and folds over the laces.

But just as those golf shoes, with their treacherous metal spikes, were verboten inside the clubhouse, the kiltie itself almost never appeared other than on golf shoes. The style, which was first spotted on George V in 1905, was widely adopted in the ’20s, then faded out in the ’70s. Today a kiltie is as likely to be found on a golf shoe as those old metal spikes are.

So the comeback was not on the links but the runways. Kilties have been spotted here and there for a couple of seasons, a favorite (in a black-and-white spectator style) of Thom Browne, but this spring several labels have come out with them. There is quite a range, too, from subtle styles in black and brown from Ralph Lauren, Mark McNairy, Billy Reid and Church’s English Shoes to far more conspicuous color combinations. Prada made a handful with eye-popping accents.

“I am wearing a pair even as we speak,” said Billy Reid, on the phone at home in Florence, Ala. “I love how it reminds me of a country club, and highballs and whiskey sours. When I was young, my summer job was bartender and lifeguard at a country club, so I saw a lot of these.”

Mr. Reid said he was surprised at how well they had sold.

“There’s a lot of novelty happening in shoes,” he said. “Whether it’s colored leather, fabric, hardware or soles, that is what guys seem to be interested in. What I like about the kiltie — at least the way I did it, in this beat-up horsehide — is that it’s good for the guy who might want to buy a colorful shoe but doesn’t want to go that far.”

He pointed out that they go well with a seersucker suit and also look great with jeans or khakis, adding a dandified note to lazy summer dressing. As preposterous as it may sound, the old-fashioned propriety and slightly silly elegance of the kiltie sends a message: that a man should both take, and not take, style too seriously.

Far better to let your shoes explain that than you.

Golf Strokes Analysed By The Ultra Rapid Camera (1923)

Saturday 20 June 2015

AUDREY HEPBURN: PORTRAITS OF AN ICON 2 July to 18 October 2015, National Portrait Gallery, London

2 July to 18 October 2015, National Portrait Gallery, London

This fascinating photographic exhibition will illustrate the life of actress and fashion icon Audrey Hepburn (1929-1993). From her early years as a chorus girl in London’s West End through to her philanthropic work in later life, Portraits of an Icon will celebrate one of the world’s most photographed and recognisable stars.

A selection of more than seventy images will define Hepburn’s iconography, including classic and rarely seen prints from leading twentieth-century photographers such as Richard Avedon, Cecil Beaton, Terry O’Neill, Norman Parkinson and Irving Penn. Alongside these, an array of vintage magazine covers, film stills, and extraordinary archival material will complete her captivating story.


Supported by Midge and Simon Palley

With support from the Bernard Lee Schwartz Foundation and the Audrey Hepburn Exhibition Supporters Group

Organised with support from the Audrey Hepburn Estate / Luca Dotti & Sean Hepburn Ferrer

The cult of Audrey Hepburn: how can anyone live up to that level of chic?
An exhibition of rare photographs of Audrey Hepburn reveals that even at the age of nine she knew how to work the camera. Bee Wilson celebrates the woman who set a new standard for style

Bee Wilson

The greatest film stars inspire certain labels that stick to them as surely and superficially as school nicknames. Marlon Brando is always a “screen legend”. Lauren Bacall is a “siren” and Montgomery Clift, a “heart-throb”. As for Audrey Hepburn, she was, and is, “iconic”: occasionally, an “icon of elegance”, sometimes a “style icon”, but mostly, just plain “icon”.

As labels go, it could be worse. It is certainly less reductive than “sex symbol” (Marilyn’s fate). Hepburn’s enduring iconic status is a sign of how strong her cultural currency remains. Fashion writers invoke her constantly. When enthusing about sunglasses or little black dresses or gloves, it is still de rigueur to mention that scene from Breakfast at Tiffany’s, with Hepburn clutching a paper cup of coffee and a croissant, staring coolly into a window full of jewellery.

Now, more than 70 photographs of the star can be seen in a small but dazzling exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery. Half are from the personal collection of her children, Sean Hepburn Ferrer (the son she had with her first husband, actor Mel Ferrer) and Luca Dotti (the son she had with her second husband, an Italian psychiatrist). Ferrer and Dotti own their mother’s name as Audrey Hepburn™. In 2013, they granted permission to Galaxy chocolate to recreate her image in CGI. You may have seen the adverts; they had a Roman Holiday vibe, with a young Audrey driving through Italy in an open-top car. Her sons also worked closely with the NPG on the new exhibition. Its title, you may not be surprised to hear, is Audrey Hepburn: Portraits of an Icon.

And what an icon she was. As Billy Wilder said: “God kissed Audrey Hepburn on the cheek, and there she was”, meaning: she was born a star. No one has ever worn a white shirt quite as she did. To peruse this glamorous collection of photographs – including work by Cecil Beaton, Yousuf Karsh and Irving Penn – is to be reminded how sublimely photogenic Hepburn was. Others have been called gamine, but only she fully inhabited that identity: the skittishness and innocence. On another face, to have eyebrows so darkly painted and eyes so swishily lined might have seemed overkill; on her it looked natural. She photographed equally well in black-and-white and in colour. Here she is in 1951, in one of her informal black tops, grinning for American Vogue, like a child with a secret. And there she is four years later, radiant in pink Givenchy couture during the filming of War and Peace.

Even in family album snapshots – or at least the examples chosen by the NPG – she has a ballerina’s poise. The earliest image in the exhibition shows her in 1938 aged just nine. She has a Milly-Molly-Mandy haircut and no eyeliner yet, but she has already mastered how to smile for the camera without giving everything away. Richard Avedon – whose 60s portraits are some of the most haunting in the exhibition, accentuating the vulnerability of her swan neck – claimed that he found Hepburn paradoxically hard to photograph. She left so little work for him to do: “However you defined the encounter of the photographer and subject, Audrey won.”
Our continued reverence for Hepburn is interesting because it reveals the extent to which we remain in thrall to beautiful stills. An icon is something lovely and precious but also motionless: symbolic, not real. It is a flat picture of a golden saint before which you kneel, unworthy. As such, an exhibition of photography – rather than a film retrospective – may be the perfect way to pay homage to Hepburn’s charm.

In theory, we inhabit the age of the moving image: Netflix, YouTube, Skype. Yet the Hepburn with the enduring fame and cachet is not, as you might expect, the witty, talky one who could actually act – Katharine – but the one who photographed well. The more you look at the exquisite images in the NPG exhibition, the more you see that Hepburn’s genius for still imagery far eclipsed her achievements in motion pictures. I wonder how many now watch her in Sabrina, a rather odd and stilted romantic comedy in which Hepburn gives one of her many less-than-convincing performances as a chauffeur’s daughter torn between Humphrey Bogart and William Holden. Yet we still recall the black slacks and ballet flats she wore in that picture, and her sylph-like waist.

The cult of Hepburn as “icon” has often seemed to be less about devotion to her film work and more a way for other women to put themselves down. Who can live up to that level of chic, not to mention the extreme slenderness? Hepburn herself insisted she ate “awfully well at meals”, but still, her figure would be a dangerous one for others to emulate. “Audrey maintained an impressive 31.5in-22in-31.5in her entire life,” remarked Pamela Keogh in her deeply annoying 2008 book What Would Audrey Do? Timeless Lessons for Living with Grace and Style.

As Billy Wilder said: ‘God kissed Audrey Hepburn on the cheek, and there she was’, meaning: she was born a star
In the exhibition catalogue, curator Helen Trompeteler admits that film “was just one of the ways Hepburn’s image was shaped, and arguably not the most enduring”. She points out that at the height of Hepburn’s career, audiences would often see a film only once, whereas photographic stills were treasured, to be viewed over and over again. Through such publications as Picture Post and Picturegoer, Hepburn’s image reached a huge public. She was on the cover of Life magazine nine times, more than any other celebrity (Marilyn only managed seven). In 1954, Vogue magazine said that she had so captured the public imagination that she had established a new “standard of beauty”. It was the costume designer Edith Head who first spotted that Hepburn was more like a model than an actor. Head worked with Hepburn on Roman Holiday and said “her figure and flair told me, at once, that here was a girl who’d been born to make designers happy”.

Friday 19 June 2015

Royal Ascot 2015

Royal Ascot Style Guide 2015

Partners In Crime - major new BBC One drama for Agatha Christie’s 125th celebration year /THE INTERNATIONAL AGATHA CHRISTIE FESTIVAL SEPTEMBER 2015 | TORQUAY, DEVON / VÍDEO: Partners in Crime scene

Partners In Crime - major new BBC One drama for Agatha Christie’s 125th celebration year

"In bringing these thrilling stories to the screen, it is our ambition for Tommy and Tuppence to finally take their rightful place alongside Poirot and Marple as iconic Agatha Christie characters."
David Walliams

Date: 18.09.2014 Last updated: 18.09.2014 at 08.42
Category: BBC One; Drama; Commissions and casting

BBC One brings Endor Productions and Acorn Productions' Agatha Christie’s married couple Tommy and Tuppence to life in a brand-new six-part adventure series for the channel. Partners In Crime stars David Walliams (Little Britain, Big School) as
Tommy and Jessica Raine (Call The Midwife, Wolf Hall) as Tuppence.
Directed by Edward Hall (Restless, Downton Abbey), episodes 1-3, 'The Secret Adversary', are written by award-winning author, playwright and director Zinnie Harris, (Spooks, Born With Two Mothers, Richard Is My Boyfriend) with the following three, 'N or M?' penned by Claire Wilson, (Where There Is Darkness, Twist).

Partners In Crime is produced by Georgina Lowe, (Mr Turner, Mad Dogs), executive produced by Emmy award-winning Hilary Bevan Jones (Roald Dahl’s Esio Trot, State Of Play), David Walliams, Hilary Strong (Poirot, Have I Got News For You) and Mathew Prichard for Acorn Productions/Agatha Christie Ltd and Matthew Read for the BBC.

Partners In Crime is an adventure series with espionage and humour at its heart. Set in a 1950s Britain rising from the ashes of the Blitz into the grip of a new Cold War, our beekeeping duo stumble into a world of murder, undercover agents and cold war conspiracy.

Tuppence is a woman who sees adventure round every corner, throwing herself head first into every mystery with passion and fervour, determined to get to the truth no matter what it takes, much to the dismay of her more cautious husband Tommy.

Hilary Bevan Jones, executive producer and founder of Endor Productions, says: “To introduce the iconic Christie characters Tommy and Tuppence and their adventures to a whole new generation, is a fabulous opportunity for all of us at Endor. Our incredible creative team of David Walliams, Zinnie Harris and Claire Wilson are crafting a drama that promises to be exciting, fun and fresh. With the inspirational Edward Hall directing the whole series, and Georgina Lowe producing, we have a clarity and cohesiveness of ambition that promises only the best.”

David Walliams says: “In bringing these thrilling stories to the screen, it is our ambition for Tommy and Tuppence to finally take their rightful place alongside Poirot and Marple as iconic Agatha Christie characters. I was first drawn to the delicious notion of a married couple solving crimes together, and the more I read of the Tommy and Tuppence novels and short stories, the more I realised they are among Christie’s very best work.”

Hilary Strong, Managing Director, Acorn Productions, says: “We are excited to be working with the BBC and Endor to bring Agatha Christie to a whole new generation of viewers as we continue to build the Christie brand worldwide. Partners In Crime is the first of two major new dramas for 2015, the second of which is a new production of And Then There Were None, one of Christie’s most popular novels of all time. I am delighted that our partnership with the BBC will play a central part in our 125th anniversary celebrations next year.”

Mathew Prichard, Chairman of Agatha Christie Ltd, says: “The first Tommy and Tuppence novel was published in 1922 and my grandmother, Agatha Christie, would be thrilled to see her crime-fighting team reinvigorated for the BBC over 90 years on from when she first brought them to life.”

Ben Stephenson Controller of Drama Commissioning, says: “This new and exciting partnership between David and Jessica promises to bring a fresh new take on these classic and well-loved adventures. With their combination of humour, wit and talent, I can’t think of two people better suited to take on the iconic roles of Tommy and Tuppence.”


The 2015 International Agatha Christie Festival takes place in Torquay, Devon, UK between 11 – 20 September.

Celebrating the 125th anniversary of the birth of the Queen of Crime, the festival offers a week-long programme of new and unique events.

Our programme includes performances and film screenings, expert talks exploring Agatha Christie’s life and times, and opportunities to enjoy food, drink and dancing in some of the finest venues on the English Riviera.

At Torre Abbey visitors will find the International Agatha Christie Festival ‘hub’. The entrance ticket will provide access to the house, gardens and Book Tent as well as a free programme of daily activities and a very special newly-curated exhibition, Agatha Christie: Unfinished Portrait.

Ticketed events will also be held in The Spanish Barn at Torre Abbey, The Grand Hotel, The Imperial Hotel, the Princess Theatre, the Palace Theatre, The Little Theatre, Torquay Museum, Cockington Court, Greenway (National Trust), Churston Church and Oddicombe Beach.

For those seeking creative inspiration there will also be a professionally led workshop programme for aspiring writers and plenty of participatory events for young people

We will shortly be adding a map of Torbay showing quirky quieter spaces in which visitors may wish to do their own creative writing or simply read and watch the world go by.

Tickets for most of the festival events are available through our dedicated festival online bookings system. Some venues are selling tickets directly so please read the booking details carefully.
This year the International Agatha Christie Festival celebrates the life, literature and legacy of Agatha Christie on the 125th anniversary of her birth in Torquay with an exciting mix of literary talks from best-selling crime writers, theatre performances, talks, writers’ workshops, children’s events, cookery demonstrations, film screenings, a birthday garden party, a tea dance and a glamorous ball.

Each day of our nine-day festival has a theme around which the events have been programmed.

Friday 11 September – Festival launch

Saturday 12 September – Festive Family Fun

Sunday 13 September – Agatha Christie and the First World War

Monday 14 September – Miss Marple, Music and Unsolved Mysteries

Tuesday 15 September – The Birthday and the next 125 years.

Wednesday 16 September – The Golden Age of Detective Fiction

Thursday 17 September – International Christie and Adaptations

Friday 18 September – Agatha Christie and the Theatre

Saturday 19 September – Agatha for Everyone

Sunday 20 September – Festival Finale
Agatha Christie: a life in brief

Born into a prosperous Anglo-American family in Torquay on 15 September 1890 and named Agatha Mary Clarissa by her parents, Frederick and Clara (nee Boehmer) Miller.
Acquires the name by which she becomes world famous in 1914 through her Christmas Eve marriage in Bristol to Clifton College graduate Archie Christie, a career soldier and qualified pilot already embroiled in ‘The Great War’.
As her war effort, Agatha becomes a Torquay hospital volunteer and so meets the Belgian refugees who are to influence the character of Hercule Poirot and gains, though her pharmacy duties, a basic knowledge of potions and poisons.
The first Agatha Christie crime novel The Mysterious Affair at Styles is published in 1920 and features the debut of Hercule Poirot.
Another 80 Agatha Christie crime novels and short story collections then follow, along with six romances published under the name Mary Westmacott.
In 1928 she and Archie Christie divorce and she subsequently meets and marries the archaeologist Max Mallowan, later Sir Max Mallowan. In 1938 they buy Greenway House, near Brixham, as a holiday retreat and it remains in family hands until 1999 when passes into the care of the National Trust.
During the Second World War, Max’s knowledge of Arabia sees him posted to North Africa while Agatha volunteers for pharmacy duties at University College, London.
On 21 September 1943, Agatha becomes a grandmother when her only child Rosalind – the daughter of Archie Christie and married to Hubert Prichard – gives birth to a son, Mathew.
In 1971, Agatha is made a Dame Commander of the British Empire, with the result that she and Max become one of the very few married couples in which both partners have earned a knightly honour in their own right.
Today’s estimate is that more than 2 billion of her books have been sold worldwide, making her the world’s best-selling author, out-ranked only by the works of Shakespeare and The Holy Bible.
Agatha Christie is also the world’s most translated novelist, with her books appearing in 100+ languages, according to UNESCO. She is also the most successful woman playwright.
Her play The Mousetrap holds the world record for the longest running theatre show, having opened in London’s West End in 1952 and still playing there, more than 25,000 performances later.
Agatha Christie dies on 12 January 1976, aged 85, and is buried in Oxfordshire.
The last book she writes is Posterns of Fate, a Tommy and Tuppence story, published in 1973 but it is followed into bookshops by Curtain, the last case of Hercule Poirot (1975) and by a final Miss Marple mystery, Sleeping Murder (1976) – both written more than 30 years earlier but held back in accordance with the author’s wishes.
Very many Christie stories have been made into films or television dramas and this year the number will rise even higher with the BBC making a new version of And Then There Were None and screening Partners in Crime, a series based on the Tommy and Tuppence stories and starring David Walliams and Jessica Raine.

Remembering "Partners in Crime" / 1983

Agatha Christie's Partners in Crime is a 1983 British television series based on the short stories of the same name by Agatha Christie. It was directed by John A. Davis and Tony Wharmby, and starred James Warwick and Francesca Annis in the leading roles of husband and wife sleuths Tommy and Prudence 'Tuppence' Beresford. Reece Dinsdale co-starred as Albert in all except episodes 3 and 5.

The series follows the adventures and exploits of the Beresfords, who have recently taken over the running of a detective agency based in London, and each episode features one of the stories from the book. Among these are a quest for missing jewels, the investigation of poltergeists and a story involving poisoned chocolates.

The series followed the short stories closely with two notable exceptions: First, the detective parodies, although alluded to on occasion, were for the most part dispensed with. Secondly, the story arc of the blue Russian letters and the search for the agent known as Number 16 were also dispensed with. For this reason three chapters (The Adventure of the Sinister Stranger, Blindman's Bluff and The Man Who Was No. 16) were not adapted.

The series' original run was immediately preceded by transmission on 9 October 1983 of the same production team's adaptation of Christie's second novel The Secret Adversary, which also starred Annis and Warwick in the same roles and which acted as an introduction for viewers to Agatha Christie's Partners in Crime.

The series ran for one season between 16 October 1983 and 14 January 1984 with ten episodes. It was poorly received at the time, but was later shown in the United States, where John Tribe, the series graphic designer, won an award at the 1985 Emmy Awards for Outstanding Graphic and Title Design in recognition of the programme's title sequence. As of 2007, the series is regularly aired in the UK on the digital channel ITV3. Unavailable on DVD for a long period, it was released by Acorn Media UK on 2 September 2013.