The Secret World Of Lewis Carroll

Confirmed for BBC Two on 31 January at 9.00pm to 10.00pm

Saturday 31 January

9.00pm-10.00pm

BBC TWO

It's a timeless classic of children's literature and the third most-quoted book in English after the Bible and Shakespeare. But what lies behind the extraordinary appeal of Alice's Adventures In Wonderland?

To mark the 150th anniversary of its publication, this documentary explores the life and the imagination of the man who wrote it, the Reverend Charles Dodgson, better known as Lewis Carroll.

Broadcaster and journalist Martha Kearney delves into the biographies of both Carroll and of the young girl Alice Liddell, who inspired his most famous creation. Kearney's lifelong passion for Carroll's work began when, as a young girl, she starred as Carroll's heroine Alice in her local village play.

She discusses the book with a range of experts, biographers and distinguished cultural figures, from the actor Richard E Grant to children’s author Philip Pullman, and explores with them the mystery of how a retiring, buttoned-up and meticulous mathematics don, who spent almost his entire life within the cloistered confines of Christ Church Oxford, was able to capture the world of childhood in such a captivating way.

Martha places Carroll's pioneering work in the context of the Victorian imagination, where a fascination with the innocence of young girls was widespread, and goes on to explore the true nature of the relationship between Lewis Carroll and the Liddell family, uncovering the surviving clues in a piece of forensic literary detective work.

SH8