Books are alive on the Beeb

<p>In answer to <i>The Bookseller's</i> leader column of 3rd September, I would like to assure readers that BBC television is alive with books and new literature.</p>
<p>We don't currently have a regular dedicated books show on BBC TV, just as we don't have one for opera or architecture.&nbsp; Instead we offer a wide range of programmes that celebrate all these areas regularly in ways that we hope will appeal to a broad audience of people who care about the arts.</p>
<p>The success to which you allude of BBC Four's In Their Own Words - which attracted hundreds of thousands of viewers - is testament to the fact that it cannot be regarded as 'obscure' and digital'&nbsp; but is a fully-fledged free-to-air channel appealing to a broad audience&nbsp; and reaches over 8 million viewers a week.</p>
<p>May I take this opportunity to remind readers of the wealth of book-related material there&nbsp; is on screen. Take this week for example: an adaptation of Christopher Reid's poem Song of Lunch starring Alan Rickman and Emma Thompson to celebrate National Poetry Day;&nbsp; a special edition of The Culture Show on the Booker prize, returning to Comrie in Perthshire to find out what the residents make of the 2010 shortlist, likewise The Review Show will see what regular critics make of the list in advance of the announcement on BBC One.</p>
<p>The Review Show regularly looks&nbsp; at new books.&nbsp; A couple of weeks ago we discussed new collections by Seamus Heaney and Paul Muldoon, last week we covered new novels by Jonathan Franzen and Philip Roth. How much more interesting it is to look at them along with related cultural highlights such as the new Oliver Stone Wall Street movie than purely in the context of other books published . . . this is not highbrow or elitist, rather a way of approaching books in the way most readers approach them.&nbsp; Many people read, but it is rare to find anyone who uses reading as their only source of pleasure.</p>
<p>Last year a major season celebrated poetry across BBC TV and radio. Look out for a major season celebrating the novel at the beginning of 2011, including a series presented by Sebastian Faulks&nbsp; and Culture Show programmes about popular fiction and up-and-coming writers.</p>
<p>We are always looking for new ways to celebrate books and reading, as we are with regard to other important areas of culture.</p>