The Appledore Book Festival became the victim of its own success on Friday when the demand for tickets caused a website overload.

Telephone lines were jammed and the queue for tickets went out through the Box Office door.

The unexpected reaction came in response to Michael Palin’s headline talk which has now sold out - though organisers are looking to move it to a bigger venue.

David Carter, who with his wife Jenny, runs the Box Office in Appledore, said: “It was incredible to get so many people wanting tickets on the first day.

“In all our years working in the Box Office we have never seen anything like it.”

Festival director Miche Tompkins added: “We knew the 2018 line-up was popular as more than 400 Friends had renewed their annual membership. However, we never anticipated the demand we actually received.”

The show sold 2,521 tickets on Friday - more than double the normal first day sales of 800.

Miche added: “Our website coped with the majority but a small minority were affected and for that we can only apologise.

“We are working on a solution for the Michael Palin event and will move the event to a bigger venue, we are just scoping the logistics.

“So the capacity will increase and we should be able to satisfy the majority of the Friends on our waiting list.

“With the exception of Michael Palin there are still tickets left for 99 per cent of events.”

This year’s line-up includes Michael Morpurgo, Jeremy Vine, Harriet Harman, Kate Mosse, Simon Mayo, Ken Livingstone, Louise Minchin, Michael Palin, Anthony Horowitz and many more.