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16.04.03

FACTUAL & ARTS TV


The Big Read television special to reveal Nation's Top 100 books


The Nation's 100 best-loved novels as voted for by the British public will be revealed in The Big Read Top 100 on BBC TWO on Saturday 17 May.


The poll, which closes on 19 April, has already received more than 100,000 nominations - three times the number received in the first stage of the Great Britons poll.


The one-off special programme will reveal the country's favourite works of fiction and find out, for example, how many are British, how many are classics, who are Britain's most nominated authors and which books have failed to make it into the lasting affections of the British public.


Dozens of literary luminaries and well-known faces will be on hand to answer some of the big questions about the people's favourites.


To complete an evening of programming on the Nation's choices, BBC FOUR will be subjecting the Top 100 to the scrutiny of a host of eminent critics and commentators in a round-the-table discussion.


The panel will analyse trends and themes, and reflect on what the list reveals about British reading tastes and habits.


But the programmes will not reveal the order of the Top 100. This won't be made public until the Autumn, when The Big Read returns to BBC TWO and presents ten films - one on each of the Top Ten novels.


The public will then be asked to vote again to decide which book is the Nation's favourite of favourites.


The programme uncovering Britain's literary loves follows the huge response to The Big Read campaign since its launch on 5 April.


Members of the public still have until midnight on Saturday 19 April to nominate their best-loved book by phone, on 09011 110 820, or via the BBC website www.bbc.co.uk/bigread


Jane Root, Controller of BBC TWO, says: "The response so far has been tremendous.


"The project has captured the public's imagination and we hope it will encourage everyone to read and discuss books this summer, whether in the home, schools, libraries or through reading groups.


"These programmes will offer an insight into the fantastic range of books selected by the Nation and should prove an inspiration to viewers."


The Big Read is one of the biggest ever campaigns to get the country reading and the project stretches far beyond BBC TWO; alongside new programming throughout the year across all BBC networks and a dedicated BBCi website, the BBC is harnessing the support of schools, libraries, national literacy organisations and charities, and all major publishers and book retailers.


The Big Read hopes to get the whole country enthused, excited and talking about the books that bring pleasure to the Nation, from avid readers to anyone who hasn't opened a book since school.


The Big Read - Britain's biggest ever reading campaign (14.03.03)


All the BBC's digital services are now available on Freeview, the new free-to-view digital terrestrial television service, as well as on satellite and cable.

Freeview offers the BBC's eight television channels, interactive services from BBCi, as well as 11 BBC radio networks.


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