What’s on Bedford: 8 – 18 December 2022


The temperatures may be dropping, but the Christmas excitement is rising in Bedford. Some great family-friendly theatre shows, the obligatory Love Actually screening, comedy, film, panto, amazing live music plus the much-anticipated Bedford Makers’ Market.


This week’s What’s on Guide is sponsored by Clapham Cars

Friday 9 December 2022

Theatre: The Greatest Magician
The Quarry Theatre @ 7.30pm
Tickets: from £18

A dazzling new magic show – presented by the magician most famous for jamming the BBC switchboards after he correctly predicted the lottery. This astonishing, enigmatic, five star rated magic show will leave you aching from
laughter and dizzy in disbelief.

Directed by the late Paul Daniels, this mind-blowing magic show comes to the stage for the first time – you’ll be transported to a jaw-dropping world of light-hearted hilarity, wonderment, and mystery.

Friday 9 December 2022

Live music: Spear of Destiny
Bedford Esquires @ 7.30pm
Tickets: £20

Kirk Brandon returns to Bedford with Spear of Destiny, fresh from a UK tour which saw a sell-out show at the 100 Club and a packed-out arena at Rebellion in Blackpool.

Spear Of Destiny first appeared on the scene back in 1983 fronted by Kirk Brandon after the break up of his previous band, Theatre Of Hate. Kirk and co are back with a new album ‘Ghost Population’ to coincide with the dates.

Saturday 10 and Sunday 11 December 2022

Shopping: Bedford Makers’ Christmas Fair + Love Bedford Train + free children’s fairground rides
Town centre, Harpur Suite and Harpur Square
Free entry

On Saturday 10 & Sunday 11 December, the council and BedfordBID will host the Christmas Town Market featuring local artists and makers with festive cheer provided by local bands and choirs.

Made in Bedford has been a treasured part of Bedford’s Christmas festivities since 2016, when they held their first Artisan Fair in the Harpur Suite.

This year they’re back as part of Bedford’s Christmas celebrations, going back to their roots at the Harpur Suite with some great local makers but also a mini indoor piazza where you can sit and try locally produced festive goodies like spiced coffee, smoothies, mince pies and savouries.

They’re alsospilling out onto Harpur Square, with yet more local makers plus mulled wine, coffee and food.

An exciting addition to this year’s run-up to Christmas will be free train rides between Silver Street Square and Midland Road on the Love Bedford Express.

Gumble’s Amusements will once again be returning to offer free rides for children and Santa’s Grotto will be taking place in the Harpur Centre.

Saturday 10 December 2022

Theatre: Yippee Ki Yay
The Quarry Theatre @ 2.30pm
Tickets: from £13

Acclaimed retelling of the classic film Die Hard from Richard Marsh – Fringe First-winner, London poetry slam champion, BBC Audio Drama Best Scripted Comedy Drama award-winner and New York cop (one of these is untrue). This joyfully funny show heads out on tour following rave reviews for its premiere at the Edinburgh Fringe, which also won it a London transfer.

When gunmen seize an LA skyscraper, off-duty policeman John McClane is the hostages’ only hope. This uplifting action romp (and unauthorised parody) pays affectionate tribute to the iconic 80s festive fan favourite. Essential viewing for Hans Gruber superfans and newcomers alike.

Saturday 10 December 2022

Live music: East 17 – Stay Another Day Tour
Bedford Corn Exchange @

The now legendary EAST 17 embark on their first ever National theatre Tour which promises to be the Christmas must-see show in 2022.

Achievements include 18 top 20 singles and 4 top 10 album with worldwide record sales in excess of 18 Million Units. They are one of the most influential acts of their generation mixing up hip hop, RnB and pop into their own style with special guests S CLUB ALL STARS featuring Bradley and Tina from S CLUB and Stacey from S CLUB JUNIORS plus Blazin’ Squad.

Saturday 10 December 2022

Theatre: A Warning to the Curious
The Quarry Theatre @ 7.30pm
Tickets: from £12

R James first wrote his ghost stories to perform to friends in Kings College Cambridge in the year leading up to World War One. Now, over a century after their first publication, Nunkie Theatre Company have brought two of the eeriest and most entertaining back to life in this gripping, candlelit one-man show.

Lost Hearts was among the first stories the author wrote and it offers one of his most memorable villains, the predatory scholar Mr Abney. It is paired here with perhaps James’s most poignant and personal work: A Warning to the Curious, in which a young archaeologist is haunted and hunted by the guardian of an ancient treasure.

The English seaside has never looked so menacing.

Performer Robert Lloyd Parry has been touring several shows based on the works of M R James round the country for a decade and he appeared as the author in Mark Gatiss’s acclaimed BBC Documentary: “M R James: Ghost Writer.”

Saturday 10 December

Live music: Henry and the Bleeders + Surfin WomBatz + GraveYard Rats + DJ Razor Smith
Bedford Esquires @ 7pm
Tickets: £8

Henry and the Bleeders return to Esquires to play their first show after three long years.

Fantastic support comes from their label mates and KlubFoot legends Surfin Wombatz, Graveyard Rats and DJ Razor Smith.

Saturday 10 December 2022

Live music: The Devout Depeche Mode tribute
Bedford Esquires @ 8pm
Tickets: £15

The Devout return to Bedford Esquires, ready to please the audience with classic Depeche Mode tracks,
programmed to delight all those who come along.

They are fans entertaining fans with the very best in track reproduction, stagecraft and visual effects. Start off the festive period right by celebrating these icons of electronic music.

Sunday 11 December 2022

Live music: WACO + guests
Bedford Esquires @ 7.30pm
Tickets: £7

WACO are coming to Esquires for the very first time, with support from two of our faves, Bruises and Make You Cry!

Monday 12 December 2022

Family favourites: Neil Sands Christmas Memories 2022
Bedford Corn Exchange @ 2pm
Tickets: £14

An unforgettable afternoon of nonstop nostalgia, filled with more songs and carols, more stunning costumes and more festive fun than ever before, taking you back to the time when Christmas was the most wonderful time of the year.

Tuesday 13 December 2022

Children’s Comedy: Bring Your Own Baby Comedy
The Quarry Theatre @ 12pm
Tickets: £12

Bring Your Own Baby Comedy is the award-winning lunchtime comedy show for parents… and you can bring your baby!
These shows feature the funniest comedians from TV and the circuit telling their grown-up jokes in a totally baby-friendly environment.

These shows are all about you – the parents! But don’t worry, we also make sure our younger guests are well looked after. We provide buggy parking, baby changing, and helping hands so that your baby is happy and you can relax.

The bar is fully stocked, whether you fancy a cuppa or something a bit stronger. If you need to whip out a bum (the baby’s please!), a boob or a bottle then feel free.

The comics won’t mind being heckled by our younger guests* either!

Wednesday 14 December 2022

Film: Cinema @ 3 St Peter’s presents – Maverick
3 St Peter’s Street @ 7pm
Tickets: £12/£10.50/£9/£6

After more than 30 years of service as one of the Navy’s top aviators, Pete “Maverick” Mitchell is where he belongs, pushing the envelope as a courageous test pilot and dodging the advancement in rank that would ground him.

Training a detachment of graduates for a special assignment, Maverick must confront the ghosts of his past and his deepest fears, culminating in a mission that demands the ultimate sacrifice from those who choose to fly it.

Thursday 15 December 2022

Live music: The Chameleons 35th-anniversary tour + The Membranes
Bedford Esquires @ 8pm
Tickets: £20

The Chameleons are back.

Original members Mark Burgess and Reg Smithies have reformed The Chameleons in 2022 to celebrate the 35th anniversary of the ‘What Does Anything Mean? Basically” album.

Known for their atmospheric, guitar-based sound and passionate lyrics, The Chameleons are regarded as one of the most underrated Manchester bands of the 1980s.

Thursday 15 December 2022

Comedy: Castle Comedy Xmas Special
The Quarry Theatre @ 8pm
Tickets: £16

Castle Comedy is back with its traditional Christmas Special.

The show, headlined by Ivo Graham – will feature star names, big laughs, mince pies, crackers and plenty of Christmas cheer.

Apologetic Eton and Oxford alumnus, Ivo is a regular fixture in the clubs and theatres of the UK circuit, his gauche charm and crafty, self-aware wit has proved a hit with audiences of all ages, and led to appearances on multiple TV and
radio shows including Backstage with Kathrine Ryan, Live At The Apollo, British as Folk, Have I Got News For You, Mock The Week, Comedy Central At The Comedy Store, Live From the BBC and Fighting Talk.

David Eagle is one of the funniest, fastest-rising acts on the comedy circuit with an array of competition wins and some quality comedy club performances already under his belt. With David being blind, his comedy often explores how his disability means the most ordinary, commonplace events are turned into surreal and convoluted dramas.

Mad Ron is the Third Hardest Man in Uxbridge, is a comedy creation of Steve Lee, first appearing on the comedy circuit back in December 2015. Since then Mad Ron has gone on to win multiple awards.

Castle Comedy favourite Paul Revill will host the show.

Thursday 15 December 2022

Community: Death Café
The Place Theatre @ 7pm
Tickets: Free

Join the Death Café at The Place Theatre every third Thursday of the month. A Death Café is an informal gathering of people (often strangers) to talk about death over a cup of tea and a piece of cake. The topic of discussion is generated by the group and there is no agenda, objective or prescribed theme.

A Death Café is an open, accessible and confidential space for those interested in talking about anything in relation to death.

Thursday 15 December 2022

Live music: The Drifters 2022
Bedford Corn Exchange @ 7.3pm
Tickets: £25/£27

The Drifters are the longest running singing group in pop history still performing live, having enjoyed over 50 hits world wide.

Performing all the hits Saturday Night At the Movies, You’re More Than a Number, Come on Over to My Place, Up On the Roof, Under the Board Walk, Kissin in the Back Row, Save the Last Dance for Me, Down on the Beach, Stand By Me, Like Sister and Brother and many many more.

Friday 16 December to Saturday 24 December 2022

Theatre: Pantaloons present: Dick Whittington and his Cat
The Place Theatre @ 2.30pm and 7.30pm
Tickets: from £10

After the success of Cinderella in 2019, the team returns with another panto classic, Dick Whittington and his Cat. It’s time to find out what the streets of London are really paved with (hint: it isn’t gold) in this raucous new family pantomime from the critically-acclaimed Pantaloons Theatre Company.

Adventure awaits brave Dick Whittington in the big city – and beyond – where he’ll need all the help he can get from his furry friend… And from you, of course!

Expect musical mayhem, rampaging rats, silly sailors and a cat who’s convinced the story is actually Puss in Boots.

Friday 16 December 2022

Live music: The Ramonas Revelations Christmas Knees Up
Bedford Esquires @ 7pm
Tickets: £15

The Ramonas are the UK’s best tribute act to the iconic New York forerunners of punk; The Ramones.

The band began in 2004 and has since evolved into the ultimate re-creation of the 1976 spirit of the definite garage punk rock band. Known for high-energy performances that thrill the audiences with all the classic songs, you better be going to see them play!

Their relentless shows and non-stop touring has earnt them the label of one of the hardest working bands on the scene in recent years.

The Ramonas not only perform sets of Ramones tunes; since 2016 they have also written and released a number of self-penned albums and EP’s which include their hits First World Problems, Speak Up, The Daily Fail and more.

Friday 16 December 2022

Live music: Elijah Miller + special guests
Bedford Esquires @ 7.30pm
Tickets: £10

Elijah Miller returns for his final show of the year at Bedford Esquires with support from very special guests Hutch.

Friday 16 December 2022

Irish craic: One Night in Dublin
Bedford Corn Exchange @ 7.30pm
Tickets: £22

One Night in Dublin is back, the night when The Wild Murphys will set up Murphy’s Pub at the Corn Exchange, guaranteeing one glorious night of high-energy Irish music and more than a little bit of Irish Craic.

In their own inimitable style, multi-award-winning Irish band The Wild Murphys perform classics tracks including: Galway Girl, Tell Me Ma, Dirty Old Town, The Irish Rover, Brown Eyed Girl, Seven Drunken Nights, Sally MacLennane, When You Were Sweet Sixteen, Whiskey in the Jar, Wild Rover and Molly Malone, guaranteed to have the audience’s hands clapping and toes tapping all night long.

Saturday 17 December 2022

Comedy: Comedy Club for Kids Christmas Cracker
The Quarry Theatre @ 2pm
Tickets: from £6.50

Expect the finest Christmas Cracker jokes, tinsel tomfoolery and festive funnies, in the Comedy Club 4 Kids Christmas Cracker special yuletide family comedy show.

Starring Comedy Club 4 Kids’ regular host Tiernan Douieb himself, Howard Read of ‘Little Howard’ and CBBC fame, and the gregarious Helen Duff, this show will be jam-packed with a whole heap of Christmas Comedy Fun to get you in the
mood for the BIG DAY (you know, when the big red jolly guy comes down the chimney).

Comedy Club 4 Kids gives kids a chance to see some of comedy’s biggest names, just like mum and dad would go to see if they can get a babysitter, but without the rude bits!

Saturday 17 December 2022

Live music: Foo Fighters GB
Bedford Esquires @ 7.30pm
Tickets: £12

Foo Fighters GB return to Bedford following numerous previous sold-out shows at Esquires.Celebrating the hits of the Foo Fighters in full volume Foo Fighters GB have quickly established themselves as the UK’s finest and most talked about tribute to the Foo Fighters, the greatest rock band on the planet.Foo Fighters GB have been rocking out festivals and music venues since summer 2015 with their charismatic and adrenaline-pumping show and take audiences on an absolutely epic, exhilarating journey playing all their favourite Foos tracks, from the first eponymous album to their most recent instant classic Saint Cecilia.

Saturday 17 December 2022

Live music: Lost In Music
Bedford Corn Exchange @ 7.30pm
Tickets: £25

Get ready to recreate the Magical 70s and let us take you on a musical journey straight to the heart of D.I.S.C.O.

Relive some of the greatest songs of all time from artists such as Donna Summer, Gloria Gaynor, Earth, Wind & Fire, Sister Sledge and Chic.

This show boasts a sensational live band, incredibly talented cast and stunning vocals. So, come dressed to impress as we celebrate the golden age of Disco featuring songs such as Never Can Say Goodbye, On The Radio, Hot Stuff, Car Wash, Boogie Wonderland and many, many more.

It’s the feel-good show of the year!

Saturday 17 and Sunday 18 December 2022

Workshop: 48-hour Panto Workshop
The Place Theatre @ 10am
Tickets: £30 for both days

Join the fantastic workshop leaders from The Pantaloons for this full weekend exploring everything Panto. This two-day workshop for young performers aged 10-16 will make sure all participants leave knowing their Slop Scene from their Widow Twankies as we crash, jumble and bump our way through everything silly and slapstick.

At the end of the workshops participants will work together to make their own short Panto scenes, which will then be performed before the main Christmas show on Tuesday 20 December.

Sunday 18 December 2022

Film: Love Actually (2002)
The Place Theatre @ 6.30pm
Tickets: £5

The best Prime Minister we never had

Starting at 5pm, arrive in time to fill your glass with our delicious mulled wine, and enjoy this classic romantic comedy.

Love Actually follows the lives of eight very different couples dealing with their love lives, in various loosely and interrelated tales, all set during a frantic month before Christmas in London, England.

Festive church services

Christmas at St Paul’s church, Bedford (image: Facebook)

You can find details about festive services at Bedford town centre churches here.

Until April 2023

Art and culture: Changing Times: A century of modern British art
The Higgins Bedford
Free entry

Some of the most well-loved British artists of the 20th and 21st centuries feature in a new exhibition at the Higgins Bedford on Castle Lane this autumn.

From Eric Ravilious, Edward Bawden and Paul Nash to Elisabeth Frink, David Hockney and Lucian Freud, the exhibition brings together some of the biggest names in British art, and explores its history since the 20th century.

Changing Times: A Century of Modern British Art is the first large-scale exhibition since the post-pandemic reopening of The Higgins Bedford.

Read more: David Hockney and Lucian Freud shine in new Higgins autumn exhibition

Theatre highlights by Paula Walker