The Hero

Image for The HeroNot currently available on BBC iPlayer

Episode 1 of 4

Duration: 1 hour

Bestselling author Sebastian Faulks presents a major four-part series on the brilliance of the British novel and its characters. In this episode, Faulks looks at how the hero in literature and ideas of heroism have evolved over the last 300 years, from Daniel Defoe's Robinson Crusoe to Martin Amis's John Self.

With contributions from Simon Armitage, Brian Keenan, Ruth Rendell, Robert Harris, Boris Johnson and Martin Amis.

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See all episodes from Faulks on Fiction

Music Played

27 items
  • Sebastian on location in Puerto Rico

    Sebastian on location in Puerto Rico

    Sebastian walks on La Selva Beach, Fajardo, Puerto Rico while discussing Robinson Crusoe.

  • Sebastian introduces Sherlock Holmes

    Sebastian introduces Sherlock Holmes

    Sebastian introduces Sherlock Holmes, describing him as the Novel's first superhero.

    Watch the clip
  • Books featured in the programme

    • Robinson Crusoe, 1719, Daniel Defoe

    • Tom Jones, 1749, Henry Fielding

    • Vanity Fair (Becky Sharp), 1847, William Makepeace Thackeray

    • Sherlock Holmes, 1887, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

    • 1984 (Winston Smith), 1948, George Orwell

    • Lucky Jim (Jim Dixon), 1954, Kingsley Amis

    • Money (John Self), 1984, Martin Amis

  • Web exclusive

    Web exclusive

    Ruth Rendell discusses the character of Sherlock Holmes with Sebastian.

    Watch the interview
  • Locations featured in The Hero

    Millennium Bridge, London

    Robinson Crusoe
    La Selva Beach, Fajardo, Puerto Rico

    Old Street/Shepherds Bush Roundabout, London

    Tom Jones
    Badminton Horse Trials

    Becky Sharp
    Winter Wonderland – Hyde Park
    The Colony Club, London

    Sherlock Holmes
    Top of International Press Centre, London
    Shoe Lane, London
    Top of Bush House, London

    First World War
    Thiepval Memorial, France
    Serre Road No 2 cemetery, France
    Hawthorn Ridge Cemetery No 1, France

    Winston Smith
    Thamesmead Estate, South London

    Lucky Jim
    Reading University
    White Horse Inn, Hedgerley, Berkshire

    John Self
    Various locations, New York

  • Web exclusive

    Web exclusive

    Boris Johnson discusses the character of Jim Dixon with Sebastian

    Watch the interview
  • Free Your Imagination: Books on the BBC

    Free Your Imagination: Books on the BBC

    Find out about the BBC’s major season of programmes focusing on literature on BBC One, BBC Two, BBC Three, BBC Four and BBC Radio 4.

    Visit the Books on the BBC website
  • Faulks On Fiction: Exploring classic characters in literature

    Faulks On Fiction: Exploring classic characters in literature

    Series producer Mary Sackville-West: "Great literary characters have a life beyond the page. You don't need to have read Wuthering Heights or Robinson Crusoe to know who they are and to care about them."

    Read and comment on Mary's post at the BBC TV blog


Ruth Rendell
Simon Armitage
Martin Amis
Boris Johnson
Robert Harris
Phil Cairney
Series Producer
Mary Sackville-West
Executive Producer
Basil Comely
Phil Cairney
David Vincent


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