Anne Robinson to present literary version of Desert Island Discs
24 Jan 2011
Presenter fronts My Life in Books as part of BBC year-long focus on writing
Weakest Link presenter Anne Robinson is to be front a literary version of Desert Island Discs as part of a year-long focus on writing.
The BBC2 programme, My Life in Books, will be a book-focussed equivalent of the long-standing Radio 4 music show, with guests such as crime writer PD James and former news anchor Sir Trevor McDonald invited to choose their favourite five books.
The show will be filmed in front of an audience and will run daily from the end of February to herald World Book Day on March 3, and the first ever World Book Night two days later.
Robinson, 66, is infamous for her sharp-tongued persona on the long-running BBC quiz show The Weakest Link but is expected to soften her manner for the new programme.
Mark Bell, the BBC's chief of arts commissioning, said: "Anne has already worked well at that time of night, of course.
"She is a passionate reader. She knows a lot about books and she's an enthusiast."
Other guests lined up to appear on the show include author Jeanette Winterson, comedian Sue Perkins and TV stars Clare Balding, Richard Bacon and father and son, Peter and Dan Snow.
Each guest will make five literary choices, from fairy tales to biographies and poetry, which illustrate aspects of their childhood as well as key moments of their personal and professional lives.
Liam Keelan, controller of BBC Daytime, who commissioned the show, said: "We're always looking for distinctive programmes for daytime and this follows in the footsteps of other factual series, such as Great British Railways with Michael Portillo."
The BBC has developed Robinson's new show as the flagship intended to lead a whole year of programmes celebrating books.
The corporation's "Books on the BBC" year will feature Stephen Fry in "Planet Word", a five-part series on language for BBC2, as well as "Faulks on Fiction", a four-part documentary from novelist Sebastian Faulks on some of the key archetypes in British novels.
"Of course, we want to remind people that the BBC covers literature, but more importantly we want to reflect the fact that people talk more about books now than they ever did," said Bell.
The season will also feature programmes about the King James Bible, presented by Melvyn Bragg and writer Adam Nicolson, while children's writer Michael Morpurgo, author of War Horse, will give the Richard Dimbleby Lecture.
The BBC is also supporting World Book Night, when one million books will be given away to 20,000 members of the public.
By Jason Taylors