I was looking through the Radio Times yesterday to see if there are any programmes of interest this week and discovered that the BBC have launched a year-long season celebrating books. Starting last night with Sebastian Faulks’s 4 programme series Faulks on Fiction on BBC2. I haven’t watched it yet – it’s still available on BBC iPlayer and on BT Vision. This first programme is about the Hero and Heroism; how ideas have developed over the last three centuries from Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe to Martin Amis’s John Self in Money.
Tomorrow night on BBC4 at 8.30 pm there is The Beauty of Books, a new series of 4 programmes looking at the importance of books from early texts to the present day paperbacks. The first programme focuses on the oldest surviving Bible – the Codex Sianaticus.
That programme is followed at 9.00 pm by the Birth of the British Novel, examining the social and political history of 18th century Britain – another look at Robinson Crusoe and the literary innovations from Tristram Shandy to Evelina.
Robinson Crusoe was based on the real life adventures of Alexander Selkirk – see my other blog for a photo of his statue in Lower Largo, Fife where he was born.
Also starting this month is a BBC2 chat show with Anne Robinson talking to guests including P D James, Robert Harris, Clare Balding and Sister Wendy Beckett. On World Book Night on 5 March The Culture Show has a literary evening with Sue Perkins on Books We Really Read.
Later in the year Arena looks at Dickens on film, there’s a BBC4 adaptation of The Mystery of Edwin Drood, and a new version of Great Expectations on BBC1.
And that’s without looking at the radio programmes – today it’s Bookclub on Radio 4 at 4.00 pm with James Naughtie talking to Tim Butcher about his bestselling travel book Blood River, followed by Poetry Please at 4.30 pm.
There won’t be much time for actual reading!