ROBERT Hardy CBE will join actor James Murray at the Theatre Royal Winchester on Friday, July 8 as part of the week-long Winchester Festival in a relaxed Q&A about Sir Winston Churchill.

Hardy's BAFTA-winning performance in The Wilderness Years will be the starting point for what promises to be a fascinating occasion. Proceeds from the evening will go towards the Murray Parish Trust's #2MillionSteps appeal which aims to raise £2 million match-funding for a new children's A&E department at Southampton Hospital.

The show will see the two Hampshire-based actors working together again, as James Murray cajoles wisdom and insight from Robert Hardy about Churchill, a character Hardy played on an incredible nine occasions, including in Bomber Harris, War & Remembrance and The Sittaford Mystery, in which he and James first worked together. The audience will also have the rare chance to ask their own questions of the award-winning theatrical great, at the end of the evening.

Robert Hardy says that he's more of an historian of the longbow than he is a national treasure of stage and screen, but his lengthy career and awards would suggest otherwise. One thing that cannot be disputed is his love and knowledge of all things Churchill. Of playing his most famous role, Hardy said: "Churchill is a hero of mine. It's a challenge portraying real people but I adore researching roles in great depth and nailing the little details. Churchill's voice was key. I immersed myself in the records of his speeches, hour after hour, day after day, week after week. Eventually a familiarity comes. You stop thinking in terms of imitation, and you think in terms of approaching a person from the voice. I thought I had nailed it, but I hadn't. But never mind, it was enough to suggest to people."

Murray adds "It's a great honour to have this opportunity and even more that it is being done to raise funds for a cause that could not be closer to mine and Sarah's hearts. Our thanks go out to all involved and chiefly Robert, The Winchester Festival and The Theatre Royal. It's truly an evening not to be missed."

The Murray Parish Trust was one of three charities chosen by George Osborne to receive match funding, to improve health facilities for children nationally. The new department will provide state of the art children's accident, emergency and trauma facilities at Southampton Hospital. There will be a collection after the show or you can donate at

Tickets are priced £20 and £17 and are available from The Theatre Royal Box Office 01962 840 440.