The Farnham Literary Festival launched in style on Friday with a literary variety show hosted by the well-known actor, reality TV star and presenter Christopher Biggins.

The launch event gave the audience a taste of what's to come in the festival, which runs until Sunday, March 12. 

The evening was expertly compered by Councillor Kika Mirylees, who kept the energy high and the audience engaged. 

Christopher Biggins entertained the crowd with his raconteur style and funny stories from his showbiz life, rubbing shoulders with the likes of Joan Collins and Frank Sinatra.

The British actor and television personality has had a long and varied career, but he is probably most recognised for his role as a pantomime dame in many stage productions and his appearances on reality TV shows including I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here! and Celebrity Big Brother.

He has also appeared on other popular UK TV shows such as Come Dine with Me, The Weakest Link, and MasterChef.

Christopher Biggins with the mayors of Farnham and Waverley at the launch of the Farnham Literary Festival
Christopher Biggins with the mayors of Farnham and Waverley at the launch of the Farnham Literary Festival (Farnham Town Council)

The audience was also treated to a literary festival exclusive with the screening of the second series of BAFTA-nominated filmmaker Jack Jewers' inVerse series.

This series focuses on bold and radical interpretations of Shakespeare's work to mark 400 years since the first publication of his plays and includes a sonnet which was spoken in seven different languages and performed by UCA students. 

Later in the evening local singer/songwriters Jim Cozens and Rebecca Jayne gave a taste of their music and shared their experiences of songwriting and the journey towards a great song.  

The show concluded with Rob Jeffreys from Waterstones interviewing local, internationally published author B A Paris, who spoke about her journey to getting published and her shift to writing crime and psychological thrillers. 

Commenting on the first of more than 40 Literary Festival events, Councillor Mirylees, lead member for tourism and events, said: "We are thrilled to have launched the Farnham Literary Festival which promises to be a celebration of all things literary. 

“The launch event showcased the diverse range of talent and entertainment that the festival will offer over the coming days, and we are excited to continue the festivities with our line-up of author talks, films, workshops, and special events." 

For more information about the Farnham Literary Festival and to purchase tickets, visit the festival's website at