Top five things to do in Hampstead and Highgate this week

Michael Palin joins other stars to perform readings at the Royal Free Hospital

Michael Palin joins other stars to perform readings at the Royal Free Hospital - Credit: Nigel Sutton

An evening of readings, songs and more with Michael Palin and guests, a chat over lunch with author David Mitchell and the annual Mitzvah Day are just some of the things featured in our top five this week.

1. Thursday - 1914-1918: Memories with Palin, Powell, Montague and guests

Keats Community Library presents a stellar line-up of actors and writers to commemorate Hampstead and the country during the First World War.

Actors Michael Palin (Monty Python), Robert Powell (Holby City) and Lee Montague (Moulin Rouge) join actresses Sally Giles (Midsomer Murders) and Dearbhla Molloy (Foyle’s War) in performing a unique evening of readings, songs, and more.

Literary historian Ken Parrot and pianist Simon Haynes will also be present.

The extracts that will be read include Ham&High reports from the time of the First World War, letters from the front and memorable songs of the period.

Of the event, Mr Powell said: “Because the programme includes those stirring songs from the period, it will be both a commemoration of the war and the extraordinary verse and prose it produced, as well as a celebration of the spirit of the British people who endured so much a hundred years ago.

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“I think it will be a very uplifting experience and even for those who think they know about the war, there’ll be something new.”

Mr Palin added: “There will be laughter as well as tears.”

Held at the Royal Free Hospital Theatre in Pond Street, Hampstead. Tickets £15. On sale at the library, in Keats Grove, Hampstead, or at

2. Sunday - Mitzvah Day

Jewish charity Mitzvah Day hosts its annual day of social action. Residents are being urged to join an army of volunteers across the country as they take part in a number of worthwhile projects. This includes cleaning up Highgate Cemetery, helping out at Kentish Town Farm, or helping entertain seniors at care homes across Hampstead and Highgate. Visit for a full list of projects in your area.

3. Thursday - David Mitchell

A unique chance to have an informal chat over lunch with author David Mitchell as Primrose Hill Books holds its second literary lunch. Writer of Ghostwritten, number9dream, and Cloud Atlas, the Booker shortlisted novelist will be performing readings from his latest book The Bone Clocks. He will also be chatting to fans and answering any of your questions. The lunch includes a welcome drink, starter and main course, followed by coffee. Held at Greenberry in Regent’s Park Road. Starts 12.30pm. Tickets £30. Book at

4. Tuesday - Ken Follett and Marina Lewycka

Get into the minds of best-selling authors Ken Follett and Marina Lewycka as they discuss their respective approaches to writing and quiz each other on “humour, battles and tractors”. Follett became a household name after writing The Pillars of the Earth. He will be introducing his new novel The Edge of Eternity. Lewycka’s A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian became a best-seller and she will introduce her latest book, Various Pets Alive and Dead. Introduced by Labour’s Hampstead and Kilburn Prospective Parliamentary Candidate Tulip Siddiq. Held at Queens Park Community School in Aylestone Avenue, Brondesbury. Starts 7pm. Tickets £10 (proceeds to the Promise Foundation). Email or call 020 3441 7676 to book.

5. Tuesday - Owen Jones

Political commentator and award-winning journalist Owen Jones gives a talk on his latest book, The Establishment: And How They Get Away With It. Looking at the reasons for political and economic injustice, the author explores the role of the establishment and the “demonisation of the public sector”. Held at the Working Men’s College in Crowndale

Road, Camden Town. Starts 7pm. Book for free at