Virago to be subject of BBC Four documentary

Virago to be subject of BBC Four documentary

The BBC is making an hour-long documentary about the founding of Virago for BBC Four.

The one-off documentary, called "The Virago Story", was commissioned by Mark Bell, head of arts commissioning for the BBC.

The BBC describe it as "the account of a determined group of women" whose actions gave women a voice and whose writers and readers "changed how we see the world". It will trace 40 years of the women-only press' history, from its 1973 roots, building on the seismic shifts caused by the Women's Liberation Movement, to present day. In so doing, it documents the reception the press initially received, both "patronised and welcomed, criticised and praised", and the sacrifices made by the women themselves in personal investment and bank loans, necessary to "change lives through books".

Virago, is today part of Little, Brown at Hachette, and headed by Lennie Goodings. Ursula Doyle, previously associate publisher for the imprint, recently began her own imprint at Little, Brown: Fleet.

The BBC's "The Virago Story" is produced by Claire Whalley from What Larks Productions. Whalley is a managing and creative director who, before starting What Larks, directed and produced BAFTA-winning BBC2 production "The Choir: Boys Don't Sing"; BBC1 Remembrance Sunday documentary "Vera Brittain: A Woman in Love and War"; and acted as a series producer for "Nigella Bites" on Channel 4 and director on "Jamie's Britain" with Jamie Oliver.

The documentary will air in the autumn, as part of the BBC's Love to Read campaign, relaunched at Hay this week.