Pryce, Bonham Carter and Fry in line-up for first digital Hay Festival after event axed due to coronavirus

The line-up for the first ever digital Hay Festival has been announced after the Hay-on-Wye event was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Welsh actor Jonathan Pryce, actor Helena Bonham Carter and actor, writer and comedian Stephen Fry are among the names featuring in the now-virtual literature festival.

Organisers had initially voiced concerns over the future of the not-for-profit festival, but a fundraising drive has secured its immediate future.

The festival generates a huge amount of annual revenue for the small Powys town, with local pubs and other venues hosting talks and events.

The Hay Festival brings hundreds of big names to the small Powys market town every year. Credit: PA Images

Events this year will be live-streamed and accessible for free for 24 hours, after which they can only be viewed by paying members.

More than 100 award-winning writers, global policy makers, historians, pioneers and innovators will take part.

Names in the 2020 line-up also include actors Benedict Cumberbatch, Helen McCrory and Dominic West, authors Cressida Cowell and Margaret Atwood, comedian and presenter Sandi Toksvig, historian Simon Schama and former England chief medical officer Sally Davies.

Speakers will celebrate fiction and non-fiction as well as challenging topical issues, including Covid-19, world health and the climate crisis.

In March festival director Peter Florence told our National Correspondent Rob Osborne events like his have "a lot of depth in people's lives".

He said Hay Festival and other Welsh event organisers have been working together to tackle the challenges of the pandemic.

The festival joins numerous events around the world to be cancelled amid the pandemic. Credit: PA Images

The festival joins numerous other events around the world to be cancelled due to the crisis, including the National Eisteddfod and the Royal Welsh Show.

On Monday it was announced ITV dating series Love Island would be postponed until 2021.

The UK Government banned mass gatherings in March, with police forces later being given new powers to enforce social distancing measures.

The restrictions are being kept under constant review but the government is not committing to a date.

First Minister Mark Drakeford said on Monday that considering lockdown restrictions will be the "primary focus" of the Welsh Government this week.