Bishop Auckland Food Festival

Foodies are about to see the return of one of County Durham’s tastiest yearly traditions: Bishop Auckland Food Festival! A wide array of traders and producers will gather to show off their products at the market place near the town hall – and the star chefs turning up this year will include This Morning regular Phil Vickery and former The Great British Bake Off winner Candice Brown. It’s all happening on 21st to 22nd April.

Phill Jupitus: Juplicity, The Witham, Barnard Castle

Former Never Mind The Buzzcocks captain Phill Jupitus visited Durham’s Gala Theatre in November with his latest stand-up show. Still, if you missed it, he’s re-staging it in Barnard Castle this month. Expect Phill to recall elements of his “chaotic” life, including his daughter Molly’s gay marriage; the trope of gay marriage is “very much in vogue at the minute”, Phill has remarked. He’ll be at The Witham on 21st April.

Queen Victoria in Paris, The Bowes Museum, Barnard Castle

Thanks to the recent success of ITV period drama Victoria, there has been renewed interest in the 19th-century queen’s early life and reign. In 1855, she spent time in Paris – as a guest of the then Emperor of the French, Napoléon III – on a state visit. This historic occasion was captured in 51 watercolours currently on display in this exhibition, which will run until 24th June.

Maker Faire UK, Life Science Centre, Newcastle

In the States, Maker Faire has long been helping amateur inventors to show off their creations – and the UK version of Maker Faire has become a yearly tradition in Newcastle. At the time of writing, Maker Faire UK has not yet released its programme for the 2018 outing; however, you can expect over 300 DIYers, hackers, coders and other creative types to descend on Life Science Centre for the weekend of 28th to 29th April.

Hexham Book Festival

While County Durham has its own prestigious book festival, that won’t be returning until October. In the meantime, Hexham will be welcoming plenty of big-name writers for its own literary festival running from 26th April until 6th May. Harriet Harman, Evan Davis and Jeremy Vine are among this year’s speakers set to discuss such topical issues as Brexit, Russia and the scourge of “fake news”.

Westworld, Sky Atlantic

The sci-fi thriller series Westworld debuted in 2016 and quickly impressed both viewers and critics with its plotting, visuals and performances. However, as creators Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy know well, Westworld also incorporates Wild West elements in adapting Michel Crichton’s 1973 film.

The show is set in a future with a Westworld theme park that lets its visitors sample an immersive simulation of the Wild West. This simulation takes place in Sweetwater, a frontier town populated by “hosts”, human-resembling androids whose memories are wiped each day. However, as some of the hosts become self-aware, this doesn’t bode well for the future of the park…

The second series will start airing on 23rd April, at 2am on Sky Atlantic. That’s when the show is getting simulcast with the US; however, Sky Atlantic will also later repeat it at 9pm that day.

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