Sir Trevor McDonald and Rebecca Front

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My Life in Books, Series 1 Episode 4 of 10

Duration: 30 minutes

Anne Robinson talks to national treasure Sir Trevor McDonald and actress Rebecca Front about the books that shaped their lives. From guilty pleasures to the books that inspired their careers, Anne's guests reveal how important their books are to them.

  • Rebecca Front

    Rebecca Front

    Actress, writer and comedian Rebecca Front has worked in comedy for over 20 years and in 2010 won a BAFTA for her performance as hard done to MP Nicola Murray in Armando Iannucci’s The Thick of It.

    She was raised in North London before going to Oxford to read English. It was while at Oxford that she began her comedy career as part of the Oxford Revue.

    While growing up her mother, Sheila Front wrote six children’s books which her father Charles illustrated, so books were an integral part of her upbringing. Rebecca read her first book at the age of four. It was called Harry the Dirty Dog and her mother was so proud she noted the accomplishment inside the book’s cover and kept the copy.

    In 1989, she made an early TV appearance in children's sitcom Tricky Business, but it was on radio her career really blossomed, becoming one of the team behind the acclaimed On the Hour. This led to roles in other productions by the cast, including Lionel Nimrod's Inexplicable World and another TV appearance, this time in The Day Today.

    Rebecca writes regularly for the Guardian and in 2010 she fronted the BBC’s new comedy series Grandma’s House playing Simon Amstell’s mother. Other notable TV work includes Nighty Night, Julia Davis’s pitch-black comedy about a sociopathic beautician, The Catherine Tate Show, The Smell of Reeves and Mortimer and Knowing Me, Knowing You with Alan Partridge.

    Rebecca Front: Twitter
  • The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame (1908)

    The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame (1908)

    The Kenneth Grahame Society
  • Mansfield Park by Jane Austen (1814)

    Mansfield Park by Jane Austen (1814)

    BBC: Jane Austen
  • Nicholas Nickleby by Charles Dickens (1838-1839)

    Nicholas Nickleby by Charles Dickens (1838-1839)

    This was Rebecca's most highly recommended book.

  • The Diary of a Nobody by George and Weedon Grossmith (1888-1889)

    The Diary of a Nobody by George and Weedon Grossmith (1888-1889)

    The Diary of a Nobody: weblog version
  • Naked by David Sedaris (1997)

    Naked by David Sedaris (1997)

    The New York Times review
  • Sir Trevor McDonald

    Sir Trevor McDonald

    Sir Trevor McDonald first came to the UK from Trinidad in 1969 to work for the BBC World Service and in 1973 became ITN’s first black reporter.

    In 1993, he published his autobiography, Fortunate Circumstances of which he has said: "Fortunate Circumstances is not an autobiography, but a catalogue of major stories I have covered."

    He was in Berlin for the fall of the wall, was in South Africa to get the first interview when Nelson Mandela was released from jail and he obtained an exclusive interview with Saddam Hussein at the height of the Gulf crisis.

    In 1992 he was awarded the OBE, the same year he became the sole presenter of ITN’s News at Ten. In 1999 he was knighted and also awarded a BAFTA for outstanding contribution to television news.

    In 2005 he tried to retire from the News at Ten but came back again in 2008 for a final stint, making his last appearance in November of that year.

    He is a great sports fan and has written two biographies on West Indian cricketers Viv Richards and Clive Lloyd. He has also edited two poetry anthologies.

    He mostly recently presented the series The Secret Mediterranean and The Secret Caribbean, on ITV.

    Sir Trevor McDonald: Wikipedia
  • Great Expectations by Charles Dickens (1860-1861)

    Great Expectations by Charles Dickens (1860-1861)

    BBC Bitesize: Great Expectations
  • Point of Departure by James Cameron (1967)

    Point of Departure by James Cameron (1967)

  • T.S. Eliot Collected Poems 1909-1962 (Little Gidding) by T.S. Eliot (1942)

    T.S. Eliot Collected Poems 1909-1962 (Little Gidding) by  T.S. Eliot (1942)

    This was Sir Trevor's most highly recommended book.

    T.S Eliot
  • Bloodlands by Timothy Snyder (2010)

    Bloodlands by Timothy Snyder (2010)

    Bloodlands
  • Beyond A Boundary by C.L.R. James (1963)

    Beyond A Boundary by C.L.R. James (1963)

Credits

Presenter
Anne Robinson
Interviewed Guest
Trevor McDonald
Interviewed Guest
Rebecca Front
Series Producer
Zoe Tait
Executive Producer
Eileen Herlihy

Broadcasts

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