Press Office

Wednesday 24 Sep 2014

Press Release

Celebration of books on the BBC in 2011

The BBC today announces its Year of Books 2011 which will celebrate books and matters related by inviting audiences to free their imagination with a broad range of quality programmes.

From established literary strands to new documentaries, readings, debates and dramas, the year will champion the power of books with a host of new programmes, as well as drawing upon the BBC's extensive literary archive and regular programming strands.

On television, the year begins with Sebastian Faulks' look at some of our most enduring fictional characters in his new series on the British novel, Faulks On Fiction, and ends with a pan-BBC focus on Dickens to mark the 200th anniversary of this great British writer's birth.

Along the way there are a number of new programmes. From August, BBC Two's flagship arts discussion programme, The Review Show, will be dedicating a monthly edition to regular book discussion. The Book Review Show with Kirsty Wark and Martha Kearney, will see a panel of experts and book-lovers casting their eyes over recent releases. Each show will also feature an in-depth interview with a leading author.

In addition to this there will be a new daytime chat show on BBC Two, hosted by Anne Robinson, which will feature personalities sharing their life stories through the books they have read. The new daily show, My Life In Books, will run for two weeks in the lead up to the inaugural World Book Night on 5 March.

The BBC partners with World Book Night to bring the nation's attention to this remarkable event, both in the lead up to and live from the evening itself. On Tuesday 1 March BBC Radio 4's Good Read invites guests to select their favourite title from World Book Night's list of 25. BBC Radio 7 presents a selection of archive readings from the books, including Alan Bennett's Untold Stories, and Radio 4's Front Row will be interviewing some of the contemporary writers, whilst the Radio 4 website will have a wealth of related archive content, including programmes and interviews on the books and authors featured on the list.

On World Book Night, The Culture Show on BBC Two will be hosting an evening of book-themed programming which will include a showcase and celebration of 12 of the brightest new British writing talents in New Novelists Twelve of the Best, a Sue Perkins special on The Books We Really Read, a behind-the-scenes look at World Book Night as well as live coverage of the event itself. A Culture Show Special has exclusive access to the work of Hilary Mantel as she writes The Mirror And The Light – the sequel to her Booker prize-winning novel, Wolf Hall.

In August, Stephen Fry will chart the development of the spoken word and share our linguistic achievements in Fry's Planet Word. The year will close by marking the 200th anniversary of the birth of one of the most celebrated authors of all time, Charles Dickens, in a pan-BBC Dickens season. Gearing up to the UK-wide 2012 celebrations, the BBC Dickens season will run throughout December, across radio and TV culminating in an ambitious adaptation for BBC Four which will see writer Gwyneth Hughes finish Dickens' final novel, Edwin Drood; and a bold new Sarah Phelps adaptation of Great Expectations for BBC One. Radio 4 will also bring two new Dickens adaptations to the airwaves – A Tale Of Two Cities and Martin Chuzzlewit, and Woman's Hour presents Dickens' London, a drama written by Michael Eaton.

Life-long Dickens fan, Armando Iannucci sets out to rediscover Dickens the novelist for BBC Two, examining how he wrote, what he thought and why it works. In co-production with Dickens 2012, the BBC's flagship arts television documentary strand Arena has commissioned a documentary for BBC Four. Arena: Dickens On Film will open the door on the vast Dickens onscreen archive that has been generated over more than a century and all over the world. The BBC and Film London, working in partnership with the BFI, will also celebrate Dickens 2012.

Alongside Radio 4's regular book strands, (Book Of The Week, Book At Bedtime, Open Book, Bookclub, A Good Read, Classic Serial and Front Row) the network also presents three literary landmark series for 2011 – Life And Fate, The Far Pavilions and The History Of Titus Groan, with contemporary adaptations including Stephen Kelman's critically acclaimed debut novel Pigeon English. Also this year, Open Book presenter Mariella Frostrup celebrates a sometimes under-rated but much loved genre, launching the search for Britain's Funniest Book.

Every Sunday night on BBC Radio 3, Drama On 3 has a mixture of new plays commissioned for radio, radio productions of stage plays, adaptations from fiction and stage transfers, highlights this year include a new adaptation of Emily Bronte's haunting Wuthering Heights.

Jana Bennett, Director of Vision, and Tim Davie, Director of Audio & Music, unveiled the year of books content at a launch yesterday in The Virginia Woolf Room at the Russell Hotel, Bloomsbury.

Tim Davie said: "Radio has a strong tradition of both dramatising and discussing books. By focussing on literature in 2011, we hope to bring listeners even more special programmes and unmissable adaptations."

Jana Bennett added: "Since the BBC's first broadcast in 1922, a key part of our role has been to impart knowledge through programmes that inform, educate and entertain. What better than to share the pages of our most treasured cultural asset with BBC audiences than through a year of programming that celebrates the BBC's vast collection of books programmes, both historic and new.

"In 2010, the BBC championed science and we know that it was incredibly powerful, increasing the reach of science on television by several million viewers. We very much hope that this year's focus on books will both enhance the enjoyment of books for of fans and help to bring books to a whole new audience."

Notes to Editors

The BBC is the biggest producer and investor in original arts and music programmes in the UK

The BBC creates partnerships with the arts sector that go beyond broadcast, from sharing expertise to widening public engagement in UK arts.

Across 2010 on average the BBC reaches 15% of the wider television viewing audience a week, through arts and music programmes

BBC Radio is the biggest commissioner of original drama and new writing in the UK and transmits more fiction and non-fiction readings a year than any other broadcaster.


To top

Press releases by date:

Press release by:

Related Press Office links

Press packs

Related BBC links

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.