The Gloucester History Festival Talks got off to a blistering start with record crowds, sell-out events and brilliant sunshine. 

As weekend temperatures reached 30C (86F), the first two days of the autumn Blackfriars Talks exceeded all expectations, say organisers. 

Crowds of festival-goers from as far away as Leeds, London and Liverpool flocked to the medieval priory in the city centre for a series of events.

These featured some of Britain’s top authors and broadcasters including Countdown wordsmith Susie Dent, A House Through Time presenter David Olusoga, actor Stephen McGann and screenwriter Heidi Thomas from Call the Midwife, and the ‘rockstar mythologist’ Natalie Haynes.

Former Foreign Secretary, David Owen, brought a personal perspective to the history of UK-Russian relations with tales of his meetings with leading Soviet figures such as Leonid Brezhnev and Andrei Gromyko.

Gloucester History Festival curator, Sarah Smyth, said: "This has been a tremendous start to what promises to be an extraordinary week.

"Our audiences are proving just what an appetite there is for compelling stories of the past."

The Festival continues until Sunday, September 17 with appearances to come from former Prime Minister Theresa May, rock music legend Robert Plant, the BBC’s veteran Middle East editor Jeremy Bowen and Radio 4 broadcaster James Naughtie among others.