Bridget Jones 'wretched' in widowhood
30 September 2013 Last updated at 09:48 BST
Bridget Jones fans have taken to social networks to voice their horror at the news that author Helen Fielding has killed off the character Mark Darcy.
In extracts from her new book, Mad About The Boy, published in the Sunday Times magazine, Bridget reveals that Darcy - her husband and father to her two children, died five years earlier.
Widowhood has long been used as a plot device in fiction, film, television, and drama.
John Sutherland, a professor of literature at University College London, said society tended not to think about widowhood. "We haven't really paid [widowhood] enough attention, socially, culturally or even in literature."
Bridget Jones "was born to be creatively wretched" in widowhood, he added.
Lisa Holdsworth, a television scriptwriter, told the Today programme's John Humphrys that, "grief is quite hard to do in television drama" and reflected on a character that she had killed off in Emmerdale.
First broadcast on BBC Radio 4's Today programme on Monday 30 September 2013.