Toby Jones reveals why real-life Alan Bates turned down Glastonbury opportunity

Virgin Radio

3 Jun 2024, 10:35

Alan Bates in real-life and Toby Jones as Alan in the ITV drama Mr Bates vs The Post Office

Credit: Getty/Rex

Mr Bates vs The Post Office star Toby Jones has revealed the real-life Alan Bates turned down the opportunity to make a speech at Glastonbury 2024.

While the opportunity to open the festival might be considered impossible to turn down for many, while speaking at Hay Festival Jones explained why famous Post Office scandal campaigner Alan Bates was not keen.

The Detectorists star revealed the story while describing Bates at the event. “I get to play a hero,” the actor said, in reference to his role as the lead in ITV’s drama about Alan and his fellow subpostmasters’ fight for justice in the wake of the Horizon scandal.



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“Really, someone who I think of as a hero. Someone in the culture who just doesn’t seem to be subject to the same forces that we all are,” he continued.

“He can’t be bought. He’s asked to open Glastonbury: ‘No thank you.’ He’s asked to do these things, he doesn’t want to do any of that. He says, ‘I’ve got work to do’, which is to get that stuff done.

“[Alan]’s a hero and he doesn’t want any honours until he’s finished the job. And these are the values that, I’m not going to say I grew up with, but I sort of remember being lectured about. About duty and about following things through.”

The actor then added: “These are very, very unfashionable things that maybe stand in stark contrast with what we’ve been living with in government for some time.”

Had Alan chosen to accept his invitation to speak at Glastonbury this year, the justice campaigner would likely have opened the headliner stage for this year’s acts: Coldplay, Sza, Dua Lipa, and Sunday Legends performer Shania Twain.

But while other political and culturally relevant figures such as Sir David Attenborough and Greta Thunburg have previously given speeches to Glastonbury’s crowds as Jones suggests Alan was asked to do this year, evidently the humble but heroic subpostmaster would rather stay focused on making his mark behind the scenes rather than on Glasto’s Pyramid Stage.