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UK News Desk

Richard E Grant goes travelling for BBC book series

Richard E Grant, Mark Gatiss and Bridget Jones creator Helen Fielding are to front programmes in a year-long “celebration of literature” on the BBC.

Oscar-nominated actor Grant will visit locations that have inspired writers in France, Italy and Spain for a three-part documentary on BBC Four.

Fielding will mark the 25th anniversary of her comic creation in Being Bridget.

And a spin-off from BBC One’s new Dracula drama will see Gatiss trace the influence of Bram Stoker’s Count.

Gatiss, who has co-written the major BBC One/Netflix drama, will front the documentary titled In Search of Dracula, looking at the character’s origins and legacy. It will also include a reunion of seven Hammer Horror brides.

Other highlights in the year include:

  • BBC Two’s three-part series The Novels That Shaped Our World will focus on how fiction has reflected and shaped society over 300 years – in the areas of empire and slavery; women’s voices; and class experience.
  • There will also be a Novels That Shaped our World Festival in collaboration with libraries and reading groups.
  • BBC Two will tell the story of Michael Bond and his greatest creation, Paddington Bear.
  • Artist Gillian Wearing will celebrate George Eliot in a BBC Four documentary for the bicentenary of her birth, while five contemporary writers will do the same on Radio 4.
  • Eliot’s masterpiece Middlemarch will be adapted for Radio 4, and Radio 3 will re-examine The Mill on the Floss.
  • David Olusoga will chart the rise of the African novel for BBC Four.
  • There will also be programmes focusing on the work of Hilary Mantel and the late Toni Morrison.

BBC Arts acting director Lamia Dabboussy said: “We’re hoping to get the nation reading, re-reading and debating novels through this year-long focus on literature across the BBC.”

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