BBC and partners launch new campaign celebrating the pleasure of reading - #LovetoRead

Today at the Hay Festival, Hay-on-Wye, Wales, the BBC announced details of its #LovetoRead campaign, which celebrates reading for pleasure and aims to create a unique national conversation about books.

Published: 30 May 2016
Authors and books have always been at the heart of the BBC, but with #Lovetoread 2016 our ambition is to move reading further up our agenda
— Jonty Claypole, BBC Director of Arts
  • New BBC Two 'Books Night' for three weeks in October 2016 will feature a raft of new programming including documentaries The Marvellous World Of Roald Dahl and The Secret Life Of Sue Townsend.
  • BBC Four will follow a group of Hackney primary schoolchildren as they take their first steps into the world of the written word, in B Is For Book, while Andrew Marr will reveal The Secrets Of Genre Fiction with a new three-part series.
  • A Horrible Histories Special on ‘Staggering Storytellers’ and top British authors including, among others, Jacqueline Wilson, David Baddiel, Liz Pichon and Frank Cottrell-Boyce to be part of the CBBC Awesome Authors event in Birmingham.
  • Radio 4 will feature dramatisations of Dahl’s autobiographies Boy and Going Solo; Gerald Scarfe will uncover the little-known story that united Walt Disney and Roald Dahl and Charles Dance leads the cast in as the urbane storyteller in dramatisations of five classic tales by Dahl.
  • Best-selling author Julia Donaldson to talk about the origins of The Gruffalo and the secrets to writing for children on Radio 3.
  • Campaign will culminate in a #LovetoRead Weekend on 5 and 6 November 2016

Throughout the summer and autumn of 2016 the BBC is partnering with some of the UK’s leading literacy and literary organisations for #LovetoRead including Society of Chief Librarians, The Reading Agency, The Scottish Library and Information Council, National Literacy Trust, Book Trust, Scottish Book Trust, The Publishers Association and the Booksellers Association.

Jonty Claypole, BBC Director of Arts, says: “Authors and books have always been at the heart of the BBC, but with #Lovetoread 2016 our ambition is to move reading further up our agenda; to include more people, let everyone have a say on the books that matter most to them and importantly inspire a new generation to love reading. We’ll work with leading partners and use the BBC’s full range of services - TV, radio and online, national and regional - to inspire the whole of Britain to join a unique national conversation about books.”

EF/EDA

Awesome Authors - Summer 2016

A raft of programming across the BBC during summer 2016 will celebrate our Awesome Authors.

On BBC Two, the story of Roald Dahl’s greatest adventures will be told in The Marvellous World Of Roald Dahl, with specially commissioned illustrations from Quentin Blake. From crashing his plane over Africa to hobnobbing in Hollywood and his remarkable encounters with everyone from Walt Disney to President Roosevelt, this is the story of his greatest adventures. Through a vast collection of his letters, writings and archive, the story is told largely in his own words - voiced by Robert Lindsay and featuring contributions from his wife Liccy, daughter Lucy and biographer Donald Sturrock.

On BBC One, Cerys Matthews uncovers the classic story behind Danny, The Champion Of The World, in a special One Show which sees her head to Great Missenden in Buckinghamshire, where Dahl set his book, to find out how the writer came up with the story of nine year-old Danny and his dad.

BBC Four will explore classic children’s literature in The Secret Life Of Children’s Books, which will profile The Water Babies, presented by Rev Richard Coles, and Five Children And It, presented by actress Samantha Bond. One of the nation’s most popular authors and illustrators, Shirley Hughes will also be the subject of a special What Do Artists Do All Day? while the documentary B Is For Book - shot over the course of a year in Hackney - will follow a group of primary school children as they begin their tentative first journey as young readers.

CBeebies will offer younger readers a different story every night on CBeebies Bedtime Stories and on CBBC the award-winning Horrible Histories returns with a one-off special on Staggering Storytellers, which will take a look at some of literature’s greatest works and feature a special celebration of female writers.

Also on CBBC is new drama Jamie Johnston, inspired by the book series by Dan Freedman and featuring cameos from Gary Lineker and Ruud Gullit - and Bottersnikes and Gumbles, an animated series based on the series by Australian writer S.A. Wakefield, with illustrations by Desmond Digby, will be joined by The CBBC Book Club presented by Katie Thistleton and a Blue Peter ‘I love Books’ show. This special programming culminates in Awesome Authors at CBBC Live in Birmingham

This event, which is a partnership with Birmingham City Council and the Library of Birmingham, aims to get children excited about reading, creative writing and storytelling and will feature some of the UK’s best-loved CBBC stars and authors including, among others, Jacqueline Wilson, David Baddiel, Liz Pichon and Frank Cottrell-Boyce. 

Over on BBC Radio, Radio 4 will feature dramatisations of Roald Dahl’s autobiographies Boy and Going Solo, and in Another Twist Of Dahl Charles Dance will lead the cast as the urbane storyteller in five dramatisations of classic tales by the author. Archive Hour on Dahl: Roald Dahl In His Own Words will be mining the rich seam of public and private interviews with Roald Dahl whilst in A Gremlin In The Works: When Dahl Met Disney Gerald Scarfe uncovers the remarkably little-known story behind the great 'lost' Gremlins film that united two of the world's greatest storytellers: Disney and the then British spy, Roald Dahl. There will also be a special edition of Open Book on children’s literature.

Radio 3 commemorates Dahl at 100 with The Essay, featuring five separate essays from author and performance poet Laura Dockrill, writer Frank Cottrell-Boyce, screenwriter Jeremy Dyson, poet and former Children's Laureate Michael Rosen and biographer Donald Sturrock. The Essential Classics guest will be the illustrator, writer and Children’s Laureate Chris Riddell and In Private Passions Julia Donaldson talks to Michael Berkeley about the origins of The Gruffalo and the secret to writing for children.

Finally, Sunday Feature: Not Suitable For Children will follow ‘New Generation Thinker’ Sophie Coulombeau as she charts the complex history of children’s books.

The Books That Made Britain - Autumn 2016

This autumn the focus of #LovetoRead will be on The Books That Made Britain - including a search for the nation’s best-loved books supported by BBC Learning and a social media campaign.

On BBC Television, The Moonstone, a new adaptation of Wilkie Collins’ legendary novel, made in association with BBC Learning, will be broadcast over five consecutive days on BBC One Daytime. Described by TS Elliot as "the First and Greatest of English Detective novels", The Moonstone sees the charismatic gentleman detective Franklin Blake on the most important quest of his life - to solve the disappearance of the priceless Moonstone and win back Rachel Verinder, the love of his life. Brilliantly combining adventure with romance and some of British literature’s finest characters, this classic mystery’s twists and turns make The Moonstone the perfect afternoon treat.

Meanwhile on BBC Two, for three weeks in October, Saturday nights will be book nights with a range of programming including profiles, interviews, documentaries and coverage of the Man Booker prize.

In The Secret Life Of Sue Townsend (BBC Two) Julie Walters will narrate the untold story of one of Britain’s favourite comic authors. Beloved by the masses and critics alike, Townsend’s work was translated into 48 languages, and The Secret Diary Of Adrian Mole, Aged 13 ¾, has sold more than 10 million copies. Yet while her work made her one of Britain’s most celebrated writers, she once said that no amount of balsamic vinegar or Prada handbags would make her forget what it was like to be poor.

Also on BBC Two, in Artsnight: Michael Palin Meets Jan Morris, Palin travels to North Wales to interview the legendary travel writer who was once James Morris and, in the documentary The School That Ripped Up The Rule Book, Javone Prince and Helen Skelton attempt to tackle the decline in teenage reading, with heart-warming results.

On BBC Four, Andrew Marr will explore the imaginary worlds of George R.R. Martin, Agatha Christie, John le Carré and others, as he deconstructs three genres of popular fiction: Fantasy Epics, Detective Fiction and the Spy Novel in this new three-part series, Secrets Of Genre Fiction. The Channel also explores the story of the founding of women-only Virago press, in The Virago Story.

And, as part of #Lovetoread The Books That Made Britain, Imagine…Marlon James looks at the provocative author who won the 2015 Man Booker for his novel A Brief History Of Seven Killings.

BBC Learning will ask the nation to share the book that matters most to them on social media, be it Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Snapchat. Authors, celebrities, musicians, vloggers, teenagers and young adults and the entire British public will be invited share their most treasured reads.

Regionally and locally, 14 nations and regions TV documentaries will identify the books that have defined different parts of the UK and BBC Local radio stations will team up with their local libraries to launch book clubs.

On BBC Radio, Radio 2 in the month leading up to the #LovetoRead Weekend Simon Mayo, host of Radio 2 Drivetime and the Radio 2 Book Club, delves deeper into the minds of four big name authors each Wednesday.

On Radio 4 throughout October and also in the run-up to the #LovetoRead Weekend, the many strands that regularly feature writers (including Woman’s Hour, Start The Week, Midweek, Saturday Live, Loose Ends, Word Of Mouth, Desert Island Discs) will be celebrating the campaign, and there will be the usual mix of great literary listening in Book Of The Week, Book At Bedtime and the Short Story Slots. Alongside the regular author interviews, international reportage, news from the book world and literary discussions, Open Book will launch a new series in October in which two highly acclaimed writers from the same genre but different generations will discuss the pleasures and challenges of reading each other’s work.

Front Row will be featuring major author interviews and its regular books coverage in the weeks leading up to the #LovetoRead Weekend, including in-depth coverage of the BBC National Short Story Award and the Man Booker Prize. In a special edition of A Good Read presenter Harriett Gilbert will nominate her own most-loved read of all time, and, as ever, throughout the month she and her guests will be sharing the joy of reading for pleasure in all its forms and genres. Finally, James Naughtie brings a weekend of authors across Radio 4 to a close with a very personal Bookclub, recorded on location at the Hawes Inn in South Queensferry, and revealing his own recommendation for a very special and formative read.

Radio 3 will feature three special editions of The Essay: The Mabinogion Revisited; The Book That Changed Me and The Essay: Letters To Writers, while Free Thinking, Radio3’s arts and ideas programme, will dedicate a special edition to the latest research into reading habits, both past and present.

The Verb, Ian McMillan’s weekly celebration of the word - written, spoken and performed - will be joining the campaign in the run-up to the #LovetoRead Weekend and will be hosting one of its new Poetry Book Clubs, in which readers join a well-known poet to explore one of their collections.

#lovetoread weekend

The season will culminate with the #LovetoRead weekend on 5 and 6 November when the BBC and partners will invite everyone, everywhere to read something new. BBC presenters from across all local, regional and network stations and channels will be an excellent source of inspiration. Presenters from local radio stations will be doing readings from their favourite books in their local libraries, as BBC presenters across local, regional and network stations and channels sign off with their reading recommendations.

For more details on programmes, see the #LovetoRead brochure here

Notes to Editors

#LovetoRead Partnerships

The BBC believes that combining its expertise and resources with those of partners outside the corporation allows the BBC to support the wider creative industry and to deliver greater value to everyone. The BBC will be partnering with the following organisations during the #LovetoRead campaign:
- Society of Chief Librarians
- Scottish Library and Information Council
- The Reading Agency
- National Literacy Trust
- Book Trust
- Scottish Book Trust
- The Publishers Association
- The Booksellers Association

BBC One

  • The Moonstone is produced by King Bert Productions. The Executive Producers are Jo Sargent and John Yorke for King Bert Productions and Dan McGolpin for the BBC.

BBC Two

  • The Marvellous World Of Roald Dahl is produced by BBC Studios. The Executive Producer is Pauline Law. It was commissioned by Mark Bell, Head of Arts Commissioning, BBC.
  • The Secret Life Of Sue Townsend is produced by BBC Studios. The Executive Producer is Richard Bright. It was commissioned by Mark Bell, Head of Arts Commissioning, BBC.
  • Artsnight: Michael Palin Meets Jan Morris. Matthew Springford is the series producer for BBC Studios and John O’Rourke is the series producer and director John O’Rourke, also for BBC Studios. It was commissioned by Mark Bell, Head of Arts Commissioning, BBC. The Series Editor is Janet Lee.
  • The School That Ripped Up The Rule Book is produced by BBC Studios. The Executive Producer is Jo Roe and the director is Steph Atkinson. It was commissioned by Mark Bell, Head of Arts Commissioning, BBC.

BBC Four

  • The Secret Life Of Children’s Books: The Water Babies by Rev. Charles Lingsley, presented by Rev Richard Coles is produced by BBC Studios. The Executive Producer is Richard Bright. It was commissioned by Mark Bell, Head of Arts Commissioning, BBC.
  • The Secret Life of Children’s Books: Five Children & It, presented by Samantha Bond is produced by BBC Studios. The Executive Producer is Richard Bright. It was commissioned by Mark Bell, Head of Arts Commissioning, BBC.
  • Moominland Tales: The Life Of Tove Jansson - 1 x 60 (repeat) is produced by Franny Moyle for BBC Scotland. It was commissioned by Mark Bell, Head of Arts Commissioning, BBC.
  • What Do Artists Do All Day? Shirley Hughes is produced by BBC Studios. The Executive Producer is Richard Bright. It was commissioned by Mark Bell, Head of Arts Commissioning, BBC.
  • B is for Book is directed by Sam Benstead for Century Films. The Executive Producer at Century Films is Liesel Evans. It was commissioned by Mark Bell, Head of Arts Commissioning, BBC.
  • Secrets Of The Books We Love (w/t) is a BBC Arts Bristol Production. The series Producer is Sebastian Barfield and Executive Producer is Michael Poole.
  • The Virago Story is produced by What Larks Productions for the BBC. The Commissioner is Mark Bell, Head of Arts Commissioning for the BBC.

CBeebies

  • Bedtime Stories is produced by Cbeebies Presentation the Executive Producer is Ian France, Head of Presentation. It was commissioned by Kay Benbow, Controller, Cbeebies.

CBBC

  • Horrible Histories Special: Staggering Storyteller is produced by Lion Television, the Executive Producer for the BBC is Melissa Hardinge. It was commissioned by Cheryl Taylor, Controller, CBBC.
  • Blue Peter is produced by CBBC In-house Productions,Salford. The editor is Ewan Vinnicombe and the Executive Producer is Helen Bullough. It was commissioned by Cheryl Taylor, Controller, CBBC.
  • Jamie Johnson is produced by Short Form Film Company. The Executive Producer is Sue Nott. It was commissioned by Cheryl Taylor, Controller, CBBC
  • Bottersnikes and Gumbles is co-produced by Cheeky Little Media, Mighty Nice, Cake and Kickstart for CBBC. The Executive Producer for the BBC is Lucy Pryke. It was commissioned by Cheryl Taylor, Controller, CBBC
  • The CBBC Book Club - produced by CBBC Presentation, Executive Producer – Head of Presentation Ian France, Commissioned by Cheryl Taylor Controller CBBC.

Radio 2

  • Simon Mayo Drivetime is produced by Claire Slevin and Lisa Smith

Radio 4

  • Boy is produced by Helen Perry for the BBC
  • Going Solo is produced by Helen Perry for the BBC
  • Another Twist Of Dahl (w/t) is a series dramatised by Stephen Sheridan. It is produced for the BBC by Pier Productions
  • Roald Dahl In His Own Words is produced by Dixi Stewart for the BBC
  • A Gremlin In The Works: When Dahl Met Disney is a Wise Buddah Production for the BBC
  • Open Book is produced by Kirsten Locke and Nicola Holloway for BBC
  • James Naughtie’s Bookclub is produced by Dymphna Flynn for the BBC
  • Word of Mouth is produced by Beth Dea for the BBC
  • A Good Read is produced by Sally Heaven for the BBC

Radio 3

  • Essential Classics: Chris Riddell is produced by Sarah Devonald for the BBC
  • Private Passions: Julia Donaldson is produced by Jane Greenwood for the BBC
  • Sunday Feature: Literary Pursuits 'Persuasion' is produced by Sara Conkey for the BBC
  • Sunday Feature: Literary Pursuits 'Dubliners' is produced by James Cook for the BBC
  • Sunday Feature: Not Suitable for Children – Radio 3 – produced by Mark Burman for the BBC
  • The Verb is produced by Cecile Wright for the BBC
  • The Essay: Dahl at 100 produced by Justine Willett for the BBC
  • The Essay: The Mabinogion Revisited is produced by Llinos Jones at Terrier Productions
  • The Essay: The Book that Changed Me is produced by Smita Patel for the BBC
  • The Essay: Letters to Writers is produced by Conor Garrett for the BBC
  • Free Thinking: Research into Reading is produced by Robyn Read for the BBC

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