The TV Book Club starts on Sunday 17 Jan on More4 at 19:30, to be repeated on Monday 18 Jan on Channel 4 @ 12:05. It is, of course, produced by Cactus TV who introduced the Richard & Judy Book Club, and producer Amanda Ross remains the book selector. Week 1 looks at The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters and week 2 brings a crime novel with Blacklands by Belinda Bauer.
On celebrities, Ross recently said "As broadcasters we were being forced into forking out ridiculous amounts of money. What kind of a person can literally be worth £50,000 for an afternoon of their time? It's wrong – it really is wrong." But it is celebrities to whom Ross has turned for presenting the show:
• Jo Brand (comedian, actress and writer)
• Nathaniel Parker (actor who participated in the R&J Book Club)
• Gok Wan (has written books on styling)
• Laila Rouass (actress)
• Dave Spikey (comedian).
Personally, I consider it both a shame and a lost opportunity that there is no renowned bibliophile amongst them as it would have lent more credibility to the programme. But exactly what is the target audience on this outing anyway? The repeat will pick up the day time viewers who enjoyed the R&J Book Club, but then this offering comes without the strong R&J brand attached. Perhaps this is why we have a quintet of celebrities presenting.
The first broadcast on a Sunday evening is likely to pick up existing avid readers and bibliophiles, especially if the tweets I see on twitter are an indicator. Those commenting on the new TV Book Club tend to be in the trade or book bloggers.
Where authors have been propelled into the spotlight via the R&J Club in the past, this series of the TV Book Club has quite a few big names on it. Here’s the full list of titles coming up in the programme:
17th January: The Little Stranger Sarah Waters (Little, Brown)
24th January: Blacklands Belinda Bauer (Transworld)
31st January Sacred Hearts Sarah Dunant (Little, Brown)
7th February Juliet, Naked Nick Hornby (Penguin)
14th February Cutting for Stone Abraham Verghese (Random House)
21st February The Rapture Liz Jensen (Bloomsbury)
28th February Brixton Beach Roma Tearne (HarperCollins)
7th March The Way Home George Pelecanos (Orion)
14th March Wedlock Wendy Moore (Orion)
21st March The Silver Linings Play Book Matthew Quick (Macmillan)
All books are currently being promoted at Waterstone’s.
Each episode will not only examine the featured book and interview its author, but previous R&J featured authors will be revisited. I’ll be tuning in next Sunday to see if I am pleasantly surprised.
We know there’s often a spanner in the works and “it ain’t over ‘til the fat lady sings”. Well, Richard and Judy are currently in negotiations for a continuation of their own book club, albeit without a TV programme. Promotional stickers will appear on the books and they will use their various media outlets to write about the books. I suspect there may be some online input as well.