Written by Literature

Books on TV

No – I’m not talking about next week’s adaption of The Diary of Anne Frank, but books and their authors on TV.
There’s an interesting little discussion over at The Guardian about whether or not the Richard & Judy effect will continue with their new selection of titles now that they’re hidden away on Watch getting a fraction of their Channel 4 audience. I suspect it’ll make some difference, but sales won’t fall through the floor of selected titles.
But it does highlight the lack of book coverage on mainstream television. Aside from South Bank Shows or Imagines on authors, and the discussion of big new books on Newsnight Review or The Culture Show, where books are mixed in with other art forms, there really isn’t anything left.
Griff Rhys Jones once presented Bookworm for the BBC, but that finished in 2000. Sky Arts has The Book Show presented by Mariella Frostrop, but the ratings for it must be miniscule. Their sponsorship of the Hay festival means a nightly programme on during that too.
Radio is where there is plenty of book coverage with Open Book, again presented by Frostrop, and there’s also A Good Read and Bookclub. And the BBC World Service has the World Book Club. That’s aside from regular readings in daily slots of things like A Book At Bedtime and Book of the Week, as well as dramatisations, and opportunities to talk about books on a myriad of programmes from Start The Week to Simon Mayo (and his excellent weekly book segment).
But why is there nothing on television? With Richard & Judy out of sight, there’s an opportunity for someone else to fly that flag.