The Books We Really Read: A Culture Show Special

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The Culture Show, 2010/2011 Episode 23 of 26

Duration: 1 hour

In this Culture Show special, Sue Perkins investigates crime and experiences 'new romance' in an attempt to discover the essential ingredients of a bestselling novel.

As Sue is an English graduate and past Booker Prize judge, her reading material generally consists of quite difficult literary fiction.

Now she tries to find out just what she has been missing and what makes a bestseller so readable.

Her journey takes her to the home of Agatha Christie to find clues as to why she is the bestselling crime author of all time. She visits the racetrack with Dick Francis's son Felix to find out what makes the perfect backdrop for a thriller. And she meets author Lee Child to discover why men and women love his anti-hero Jack Reacher.

Plus, she tests the popularity of a Sophie Kinsella chick-lit novel in a flashmob-style raid on an Edinburgh hairdressing salon.

Along the way, Sue also meets bestselling authors Ian Rankin, Ruth Rendell, Colin Dexter, Anthony Horowitz and Joanne Harris along with some of the UK's biggest crime, thriller and romance fans to find out what they like best about their favourite authors.


Series Producer
Pauline Law
Series Producer
Emily Kennedy
Series Editor
Janet Lee
Sue Perkins
Sarah Barclay


BBC Arts

BBC Arts

The best of British art and culture at your fingertips

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