Nigella and Hairy Bikers back on BBC TV

Nigella and Hairy Bikers back on BBC TV

Nigella Lawson will return to television this autumn with a BBC TV series to accompany her latest cookery book, Simply Nigella: Food to Nourish Body & Soul (Chatto & Windus), BBC2 controller Kim Shillinglaw announced yesterday (21st April), as part of a raft of new programming for the channel.

The Hairy Bikers, Mary Beard and Brian Cox will also be back.

The new Lawson series, "Simply Nigella", is her first for the BBC since "Nigelissima" in 2012, and will air in the autumn.  

Chatto & Windus announced Lawson's latest title in September last year, describing it as an "uplifting" new book that would be both "inspirational and practical". 

Lawson's return to the BBC follows a period of turbulence in her private life, which saw the food writer divorce from art collector husband Charles Saatchi and admit to drug use during a court case into former assistants of the family, while defendant Elisabetta Grillo claimed she was made to buy Saatchi's books to help them up the charts.

Other series coming to the screen include a new project for bestselling cookery book authors The Hairy Bikers, published by Weidenfeld & Nicolson. In "Old School", the cooks will undertake a project to try and address rising loneliness among older people, bringing 30 retirees into a secondary school to bring together different generations.

Professor Mary Beard, author of Pompeii and Confronting the Classics (both Profile) will also return to present a new series, "Meet the Roman Empire", examining how the civilisation came to be and its legacy on the modern world. Professor Brian Cox, author of books such as Human Universe (William Collins), also presents a new series, called "Six Degrees", a panel show exploring the intimate connections between seemingly disparate objects and people.

Drama "Life in Squares" will focus on the Bloombsury Group, including Virginia Wolf, Vanessa Bell, Duncan Grant and Lytton Strachey, as they navigate life and artistic change in the early 20th century. The cast features Phoebe Fox, Lydia Leonard and James Norton, and is written by BAFTA winner Amanda Coe.

Other new announcements include drama "Game Changer", starring Harry Potter actor Daniel Radcliffe, which centres around the creation of computer game Grand Theft Auto, and a new drama series by Hugo Blick, set in contemporary Africa. There will also be "The Great British Pottery Throw Down", described as "The Great British Bake Off's messier cousin", which will see amateur potters face off in a competition judged by Keith Brymer-Jones and Kate Malone.