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Ken Follett

Great Welsh Writers, Series 1 Episode 3 of 4

Ken Follett is one of the world's most popular authors. His novels have sold over 140 million copies worldwide and he sells more books year-on-year than JK Rowling. But popularity alone was not enough, because Ken always wanted to be a star. In this documentary, he speaks candidly about how he achieved it. What gave him the edge, he says, was being Welsh. In this programme he comes back to his home town of Cardiff to reveal the forces which shaped his work. He returns, for the first time since he left in 1959, to the house in Canton where he grew up. He also revisits the offices of the South Wales Echo, where he got his first job as a cub reporter. You'd never guess it from the champagne lifestyle, but Ken's family were members of an austere religious sect called the Plymouth Brethren and as a child he was forbidden to watch television, listen to the radio or go to the cinema. His only window on the world was reading, and the focal point of his life was Canton library. His parents thought he was broadening his mind, and he was. But not in the way they were hoping. Because it was here that he discovered the James Bond novels and from then on, nothing was ever quite the same. For Ken, there has never been a conflict between his success and his left-wing politics. He's been labelled a champagne socialist, but in this film he describes with passion how his social conscience was awoken in the late 1960s by the war in Vietnam. The traumatic events of that time continue to reverberate through his work.

Release date:

30 minutes

Last on

Wed 7 Aug 2013 22:00
BBC Two Wales

Credits

Role Contributor
DirectorSimon Mansfield
ProducerSimon Mansfield
Executive ProducerPaul Islwyn Thomas

Great Welsh Writers — Ken Follett

The new BBC One Wales documentary series from Bulb Films focuses on great Welsh writers. We'll document response from social media and beyond.

  • 4 Mar 2013 13:14:12

    #GreatWelshWriters

    Following the second programme in the series, which charted Elaine Morgan's life, the third programme - Ken Follett - went out on March 11th...

  • 14 Mar 2013 09:51:52

    Oscars and love in spades...

  • 14 Mar 2013 09:48:42

    Karen Price featured in the programme, but forgot to tune in on time!

  • 4 Mar 2013 13:17:48

    Episode 3, 11th March 2013, 22:35

    Ken Follett is one of the world's most popular authors. His novels have sold over 140 million copies worldwide and he sells more books year-on-year than J K Rowling. But popularity alone was not enough, because Ken always wanted to be a star. In this documentary, he speaks candidly about how he achieved it. What gave him the edge, he says, was being Welsh. 

    In this programme he comes back to his home town of Cardiff to reveal the forces which shaped his work. He returns, for the first time since he left in 1959, to the house in Canton where he grew up. He also revisits the offices of the South Wales Echo, where he got his first job as a cub reporter. You'd never guess it from the champagne lifestyle, but Ken's family were members of an austere religious sect called the Plymouth Brethren and as a child he was forbidden to watch television, listen to the radio or go to the cinema. His only window on the world was reading, and the focal point of his life was Canton library. His parents thought he was broadening his mind, and he was. But not in the way they were hoping. Because it was here that he discovered the James Bond novels and from then on, nothing was ever quite the same. 

    For Ken, there has never been a conflict between his success and his left-wing politics. He's been labelled a Champagne Socialist, but in this film he describes with passion how his social conscientiousness was awoken in the late 1960s by the war in Vietnam. The traumatic events of that time continue to reverberate through his work.
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