Press Office

Wednesday 24 Sep 2014

Books On The BBC

Free Your Imagination

Free Your Imagination – Books On The BBC

Foreword by Jana Bennett and Tim Davie

This year the BBC will be celebrating books, in all their forms, by inviting audiences to free their imagination through the exploration, enjoyment and discussion of Books On The BBC.

As the biggest producer of books programming, the BBC has chosen 2011 to highlight and celebrate our related programming, from established literary strands to new documentaries, series and dramas.

Whether they are hardbacks or paperbacks, eBooks, audiobooks, costume dramas or radio plays, books tell stories, contain knowledge, pass on experiences and fire the imagination.

At the core of the BBC's mission is the same truth. 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, so we are delighted to champion the power of books through a broad range and depth of quality content.

Highlights of Books On The BBC include: book-related documentaries presented by personalities such as Melvyn Bragg, Sue Perkins, Sebastian Faulks and Stephen Fry; coverage of the key moments in the literary year, from the Booker Prize and Samuel Johnson Prize to the newly inaugurated World Book Night on 5 March with an evening of BBC Two programming dedicated to the biggest ever book giveaway; debate and opinion with a new monthly book debate show as part of The Review Show on BBC Two; numerous Open Book specials on BBC Radio 4; and, on BBC One, Anne Robinson will host a two-week long investigation into the part books have played in the lives of well-known figures.

Literary adaptations will be plentiful from Wuthering Heights on BBC Radio 3 to The Moonstone on Radio 4, The Crimson Petal And The White on BBC Two to Women In Love on BBC Four.

There will also be a pan-BBC Dickens season at the end of the year heralding the Dickens 2012 celebrations.

We are excited about continuing to celebrate books and how they culturally enrich our lives, and hope you will join us to mark Books On The BBC in 2011.

Jana Bennett, Director of BBC Vision, and Tim Davie, Director of BBC Audio & Music


Books On The BBC – Mariella Frostrup

"From the moment we learn to read, books expand our horizons. They tell us about far away places where there 'be dragons', introduce us to larger than life characters and help us to negotiate emotions that are just beginning to stir in our hearts.

"On every stage of our path through life books are the perfect companion, they make us cry or feel empathy, laugh or inspire courage and often they are the safest place to retreat when our lives are beset by storms. The image of a child with a torch under the covers desperate to finish their story is an abiding testament to the power of the book to ignite our imagination.

"As a guide to humanity in all its guises, as inspiration and education, there is nothing to replace the perfectly formed and utterly unbeatable book. They're at the heart of my life and I'm delighted we are putting books centre stage throughout this year."

Books On The BBC – Sebastian Faulks

"To me, the people who matter most in novels are not the authors but their characters; the heroes, lovers, snobs and villains, people whose inner lives we get to know so well that they're more familiar to us than our own families and friends – so much so that it's in the power of their experiences that we see our own lives in a new light.

"These characters live beyond their times and beyond the page, in our imagination, in our memory, and on both the big screen and the small. The events that befall them shape them as people – but they affect us, too. The lives of these characters help us to understand ourselves. The British novel has made us who we are."

BBC Year of Books showreelClose video player

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