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2 September 2014
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The Big Read

The Big Read series was broadcast on BBC Two from 18 October to 13 December 2003. Here is a list of the Big Read's Top 21 books and the celebrities who championed them. Watch the bookworms, as featured on the TV series.

Saturday, 25 October 2003, 9.00pm, BBC Two

Pride and Prejudice - Presented by Meera Syal

Trailer for Pride and Prejudice

Meera Syal extolled the virtues of Pride and Prejudice - the quintessential English love story starring Elizabeth Bennett and Mr Darcy.

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His Dark Materials - Presented by Benedict Allen

Trailer for His Dark Materials

Benedict Allen explored His Dark Materials, a trilogy that follows the adventures of Lyra Belacqua - a young girl whose fate is to "change destiny".

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Birdsong - Presented by William Hague

Trailer for Birdsong

William fought his corner for Birdsong, a historical drama of love and humanity that also tells unflinchingly of the horrors beneath the trenches of No Man's Land during the First World War.

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Saturday, 1 November 2003, 9.00pm, BBC Two

Winnie the Pooh - Presented by Phill Jupitus

Trailer for Winnie the Pooh

Phill Jupitus endorsed the sweet delights of Winnie the Pooh, the unforgettable story of Christopher Robin, his teddy bear Pooh and the magical world they live in.

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Captain Corelli's Mandolin - Presented by Clare Short

Trailer for Captain Corelli's Mandolin

Clare Short campaigned for Captain Corelli's Mandolin - a tale of passion set against the brutality of the Second World War as its ugliness infects everyone it touches.

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The Catcher in the Rye - Presented by Ruby Wax

Trailer for The Catcher in the Rye

Ruby Wax wanted your vote for The Catcher in the Rye, a tale of adolescent angst and learning to let go as it follows the life of 16-year-old schoolboy Holden Caulfield one weekend.

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Saturday, 8 November 2003, 9.00pm, BBC Two

To Kill a Mockingbird - Presented by John Humphrys

Trailer for To Kill a Mockingbird

John Humphrys let you be on the jury on To Kill a Mockingbird, a tender novel of race, class, justice, and the loss of innocence set in a small Southern American town during the Depression.

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The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy - Presented by Sanjeev Bhaskar

Trailer for The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

Sanjeev Bhaskar went to outer space for The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and encountered a cast of unforgettable characters as he discovered the answer to life, the universe and everything.

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Gone with the Wind - Presented by Arabella Weir

Trailer for Gone with the Wind

Arabella Weir exalted the virtues of Gone with the Wind, an epic tale of the heroine Scarlett O'Hara's struggles against poverty and family loss, set against the backdrop of the American Civil War.

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Saturday, 15 November 2003, 9.00pm, BBC Two

The Lord of the Rings - Presented by Ray Mears

Trailer for The Lord of the Rings

Ray Mears set off on a heroic crusade for Lord of the Rings. A sweeping epic that takes you on a journey that is out of this world.

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Wuthering Heights - Presented by Alastair McGowan

Trailer for Wuthering Heights

Alastair McGowan wanted to make a big impression with Wuthering Heights. Set on the bleak moors of Yorkshire, it tells the story of Heathcliff and Cathy and their tempestuous relationship.

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Catch-22 - Presented by John Sergeant

Trailer for Catch-22

John Sergeant embarked on a campaign for Catch-22. Captain Joseph Yossarian pleads insanity to escape the madness of war, but finds himself embroiled in a tale full of bizarre characters.

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Saturday, 22 November 2003, 9.00pm, BBC Two

Great Expectations - Presented by David Dimbleby

Trailer for Great Expectations

David Dimbleby had Great Expectations for the Dickens classic, a story of how a terrifying encounter with an escaped convict begins a series of events that will change the life of young orphan Pip forever.

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Rebecca - Presented by Alan Titchmarsh

Trailer for Rebecca

Alan Titchmarsh went overboard with Rebecca, a tale of passion, love and betrayal, set in an isolated mansion, Manderley, on the beautiful Cornish coast.

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1984 - Presented by Jo Brand

Trailer for 1984

Jo Brand called on Big Brother for support with 1984 - a prophetic and nightmarish vision of a totalitarian society that demands absolute obedience from all.

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Saturday, 29 November 2003, 7.30pm, BBC Two

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire - Presented by Fay Ripley

Trailer for Harry Potter

Fay Ripley bewitched you with Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fire, a classic tale of the fight of good against evil set in the magical world of boy wizard Harry Potter.

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The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe - Presented by Ronni Ancona

Trailer for The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe

Ronni Ancona transported you to Narnia in The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, a magical land of fauns, centaurs, nymphs, talking animals and the evil White Witch.

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The Wind in the Willows - Presented by Bill Oddie

Trailer for The Wind in the Willows

Bill Oddie brought the riverside to you with The Wind in the Willows, following the famous adventures of Toad of Toad Hall and his companions, Ratty, Mole and Badger.

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Saturday, 6 December 2003, 9.00pm, BBC Two

War and Peace - Presented by Simon Schama

Trailer for War and Peace

Simon Schama went to epic lengths with War and Peace - a momentous Russian tale of love, war, and family life set during the Napoleonic Wars.

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Little Women - Presented by Sandi Toksvig

Trailer for Little Women

Sandi Toksvig promoted family values with Little Women as the four March sisters face adversity and loss, and, through their experiences, learn to become little women.

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Jane Eyre - Presented by Lorraine Kelly

Trailer for Jane Eyre

Lorraine Kelly provided us with a touch of romance with the classic Jane Eyre; a tale of choosing between love and duty, even if it means giving up your one chance of happiness.

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