The Crimson Petal and the White

I came across this on the BBC’s website a couple of weeks ago (World Book Night) and it just keeps getting better and better!

Basically they are featuring a lot of book related programming this year – hurrah! on both their tv channels and radio stations.

I already got all excited about The Crimson Petal and the White, but here’s a list of some of the other things I’m looking forward to:

(all details of all programs can be found here)

From the BBC site…

This year the BBC will be celebrating books, in all their forms, by inviting audiences to free their imagination through the exploration, enjoyment and discussion of Books On The BBC.

As the biggest producer of books programming, the BBC has chosen 2011 to highlight and celebrate our related programming, from established literary strands to new documentaries, series and dramas.

Highlights of Books On The BBC include: book-related documentaries presented by personalities such as Melvyn Bragg, Sue Perkins, Sebastian Faulks and Stephen Fry; coverage of the key moments in the literary year, from the Booker Prize and Samuel Johnson Prize to the newly inaugurated World Book Night on 5 March with an evening of BBC Two programming dedicated to the biggest ever book giveaway; debate and opinion with a new monthly book debate show as part of The Review Show on BBC Two; numerous Open Book specials on BBC Radio 4; and, on BBC One, Anne Robinson will host a two-week long investigation into the part books have played in the lives of well-known figures.

Literary adaptations will be plentiful from Wuthering Heights on BBC Radio 3 to The Moonstone on Radio 4, The Crimson Petal And The White on BBC Two to Women In Love on BBC Four.

There will also be a pan-BBC Dickens season at the end of the year heralding the Dickens 2012 celebrations.

The Crimson Petal And The White

“If you dare enter this world,” declares Sugar, the heroine of Michel Faber’s The Crimson Petal And The White, “you had better tread carefully.”

Romola Garai, Chris O’Dowd, Gillian Anderson, Richard E Grant, Shirley Henderson, Amanda Hale and Mark Gatiss star in this four-part tale of love, lust, desire and revenge, adapted from Faber’s international best-selling novel.

Revealing the true underbelly of Victorian life in a way never before seen on screen, The Crimson Petal And The White is a bold and original new serial, adapted by acclaimed playwright and screenwriter Lucinda Coxon and directed by Marc Munden.

Evocative and sexually charged, this provocative and riveting emotional tale takes viewers into a hidden world seething with vitality, sexuality, ambition and emotion in which a young prostitute and a prominent businessman embark on a dangerous relationship with epic consequences.

Case Histories

Set in contemporary Edinburgh, this six-part drama is adapted from Kate Atkinson’s best-selling books about private investigator Jackson Brodie.

Jason Isaacs (Harry Potter, The Patriot) takes the lead role in these intriguing, moving and funny character-driven stories which conjure up a richly imagined world in which Brodie attempts to bring resolution to the victims of unexplained mysteries and comfort to the survivors of personal tragedies.

The ultimate survivor, he is a bruised optimist compelled to help others.

Case Histories is not just about solving crimes, it’s about solving the mysteries behind people’s lives.


BBC One presents a two-part adaptation of the classic novel by Sebastian Faulks.

A truly epic drama, Birdsong tells the story of Stephen and Isabelle, who are brought together by love and torn apart by the First World War.

This extraordinary tale of love, loss, heroism and hope is brought to screen by award-winning writer Abi Morgan.

Sebastian Faulks is the presenter of a major series examining novels through their characters, Faulks On Fiction.

The Night Watch

Set against the turbulent backdrop of Forties London, The Night Watch tells the stories of four young Londoners inextricably linked by their wartime experiences.

In a time when the barriers of sexual morality and social convention have been broken down, Kay, Helen, Viv and Duncan enjoy a new freedom as they engage in secret liaisons and passionate trysts.

Anna Maxwell Martin, Claire Foy, Jodie Whittaker, and Harry Treadaway star in this tragic and tender adaptation of Sarah Waters’s best-selling novel, adapted by award-winning British writer Paula Milne.

Moving back in time to the maelstrom of the Blitz, the lives, loves and losses of these four central characters are unravelled. But, for them, the post-war victory is bitter sweet, for it returns them to the margins of society from which they hoped they had been liberated.

To build their future, they must each make peace with their past.

Great Expectations

Sarah Phelps’s (Oliver Twist, EastEnders) bold new three-part adaptation presents the heart and grit of Charles Dickens at his very best.

Suspenseful and thrilling, this visceral retelling captures the romance and warmth of the classic to mark Dickens’s bicentenary, especially for Christmas 2011 on BBC One.

Great Expectations forms part of the BBC’s focus on Dickens at the end of the year

Women In Love (was on last week and week before but still on iplayer)

Rosamund Pike, Rachael Stirling, Rory Kinnear and Joseph Mawle star in Women In Love, a compelling new two-part drama by William Ivory (Faith, A Thing Called Love, Common As Muck).

Based on two novels by DH Lawrence – The Rainbow and Women In Love – which Lawrence originally intended to publish as one, Ivory has melded the books together in line with the author’s original vision as part of BBC Four’s new Modern Love Season.

Women In Love charts the lives and loves of two sisters, Ursula (Stirling) and Gudrun Brangwen (Pike), viewed chiefly through their relationships with two friends Rupert Birkin (Kinnear) and Gerald Crich (Mawle). As the two relationships intensify the couples leave the Midlands and go abroad together, leading to conflict and tragedy.

The cast also includes Saskia Reeves as Ursula and Gudrun’s mother, Anna; Ben Daniels as Anna’s husband Will; and Olivia Grant as Hermione.

BBC Four’s new Modern Love Season, exploring love and sexuality in 20th-century literature, will also include Amanda Coe’s adaptation of John Braine’s novel Room At The Top.

The Edge Of Love

Award-winning BBC Films presents premières of The Edge Of Love, a portrait of Dylan Thomas and the women in his life, and Brideshead Revisited, based on Evelyn Waugh’s acclaimed novel. The UK television premières are part of BBC Two’s commitment to be the principal home for BBC Films, the film-making arm of the BBC.

Keira Knightley, Sienna Miller, Cillian Murphy and Matthew Rhys star in this extraordinary portrait of Dylan Thomas and the women in his life by John Maybury, the acclaimed director of Love Is The Devil.

In this intimate tale of sex and betrayal in war-torn Britain, four lives are thrust together with heart-breaking results.

Brideshead Revisited

Award-winning BBC Films presents premières of The Edge Of Love, a portrait of Dylan Thomas and the women in his life, and Brideshead Revisited, based on Evelyn Waugh’s acclaimed novel. The UK television premières are part of BBC Two’s commitment to be the principal home for BBC Films, the film-making arm of the BBC.

Matthew Goode, Anna Madeley and Hayley Atwell star in this adaptation of Evelyn Waugh’s classic tale of forbidden love and the loss of innocence in Twenties England.

When Charles Ryder goes up to Oxford, he leaves behind a modest background and joins the flamboyant social world of Sebastian Flyte and his aristocratic Catholic family.

Captivated immediately by the opulent grandeur of Brideshead, the Flytes’ ancestral home, Charles’s attentions settle on Sebastian’s beautiful sister, Lady Julia. The passions between these three play out to devastating effect, as Lady Marchmain attempts to protect her family’s religious integrity.

Presented by Miramax Films, the UK Film Council, HanWay Films and BBC Films in association with 2 Entertain and Screen Yorkshire.

Drama On 3 – Wuthering Heights By Emily Brontë

Jonathan Holloway adapts one of literature’s most disturbing explorations of the dark side of romantic passion.

Classic Serial – The Moonstone

Eleanor Bron plays Lady Verinder and Kenneth Cranham plays Sergeant Cuff in Doug Lucie’s four-part dramatisation of Wilkie Collins’s detective masterpiece from 1868.

Described by TS Eliot as the first and best of English Detective novels, The Moonstone, involves a huge diamond stolen from the forehead of an Indian deity, plundered in a siege and finally given to Rachel Verinder on her 18th birthday. It is said to carry a curse and mysteriously disappears on the night of the celebrations.

Are the Indian jugglers who were at the house earlier to blame? Why are they hanging around the property with a little boy they seem able to hypnotise? When the local police get nowhere, one of the new detective police is called for from London, and quickly finds a clue, but what does it tell him?

Has the curse of the Moonstone brought with it suspicion and superstition to poison the happy Verinder household on the Yorkshire coast?

Imagine – The Trouble With Tolstoy

The centenary of Leo Tolstoy’s death last year was marked around the world. Now Alan Yentob investigates why he thinks there was a deafening silence in official Russian circles.

This two-part Imagine special looks into the life of the venerable novelist, a difficult, restless, ferociously brilliant man with an appetite for causing trouble with his fundamentalist views on God, violence and government.

Guided by the writer’s astonishingly honest and confessional diaries, Alan takes a train journey through Tolstoy’s Russia to bring one of the most extraordinary and influential men of the 19th century to life, discovering what made him perhaps the greatest novelist of his time and how he turned his back on that achievement.

Visiting the author’s home, university, battlefields, palaces, monasteries, grand cities and remote, rural Russia, Alan meets local experts and Tolstoy enthusiasts to hear a powerfully Russian version of the great man’s story. His journey is complemented by contributions from some of the leading Tolstoy experts from around the world as well as extraordinary film footage of the grand old man himself.

Throughout his life Tolstoy was fearlessly contrarian and fiercely determined to go his own way. He challenged everything in his pursuit of truth. These films explore this compulsion and how it made Tolstoy into a writer of unequalled stature and continues to make him unpopular in some quarters today.

Hilary Mantel – A Culture Show Special

The Culture Show gains exclusive access to the life and work of Hilary Mantel as she writes The Mirror And The Light, the sequel to her Booker prize-winning novel Wolf Hall.

Mantel’s extraordinarily wide range of work stretches from childhood memoir to Irish giants; from the influence of the Roman Catholic Church to the growth of fundamentalism in Saudi Arabia and from the French Revolution to the Tudor court of Henry VIII.

Writer and film-maker James Runcie takes Hilary back to her childhood home and to visit the places that have inspired her.

He talks to her about the illness that has plagued her life, the ghosts from her past, the process of writing historical fiction, sex, jokes, life, death and the emotional cost of making things up for a living.

Intimate, exclusive and unpredictable, this Culture Show Special, which will be shown in the summer of 2011, is a revealing portrait of one of the bravest and most brilliant writers working in the world today.

Secrets Of The Arabian Nights

Richard E Grant re-opens one of his favourite children’s books, The 1001 Arabian Nights, to explore its extraordinary impact on Western culture.

Journeying to Cairo, and the desert wildernesses beyond, he searches for the world that led to the creation of the Arabian Nights.

The stories first arrived in the West 300 years ago, translated from a 14th-century Syrian manuscript by the French orientalist Antoine Galland.

Overnight the tales became a huge hit in every European country. Readers were fascinated by the central character, Sharazade, who each night recounted stories of princes, genies, demons and robbers, to her husband the King in a desperate bid to avoid execution.

Richard visits Galland’s original manuscripts in Paris and explores how the stories inspired hit shows on the 18th-century stage in London. Three of the stories, Sinbad, Ali Baba and Aladdin, have inspired countless plays, pantomimes and films as well as becoming part of the literary canon for children and adults alike.

However, during Richard’s journey he also discovers that the tales are shrouded in controversy, including calls for a ban on The 1001 Arabian Nights in some parts of the world today.

The Beauty Of Books

From philosophy, religion, art, science, politics and the rise of ideologies all the way through to fantastical fictions, books have enabled new ideas to reach eager audiences across the globe.

However, they are not simply conveyors of story, knowledge and belief. Some of the most important books in the world are also stunningly beautiful, iconic masterpieces in their own right. Just as you don’t judge a book by its cover alone, you don’t judge a book by its story alone – the outer and inner make up the whole.

From the first bibles to medieval masterpieces like Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, and from children’s stories such as Alice In Wonderland to the beauty of the humble paperback, this series combines human stories, expert interviews, book illustrations and historic archive, to reveal the astonishing, the absorbing, the arresting, beauty of books.

Fry’s Planet Word

Stephen Fry explores linguistic achievements and how our skills for the spoken word have developed in a new five-part series for BBC Two.

In Planet Word, Stephen dissects language in all its guises with his inimitable mixture of learning, love of lexicon and humour.

He analyses how we use and abuse language and asks whether we are beginning to understand the complexities of its DNA.

From the time when man first mastered speech to the cyber world of modern times with its html codes and texting, Planet Word takes viewers on a journey across the globe to discover just how far humans have come when it comes to the written and spoken word.

Faulks On Fiction (already broadcast, book and audiobook have been published to accompany the series)

Author Sebastian Faulks gets to the heart of the British novel through its characters, in a new four-part series for BBC Two.

Faulks On Fiction explores the heroes, lovers, snobs and villains in classics such as Robinson Crusoe, Wuthering Heights, Great Expectations, Lord Of The Flies and The End Of The Affair.

Written and presented by Sebastian, the series tells the story of how the British novel made us who we are and features characters including Fagin from Charles Dickens’s Oliver Twist, Mr Darcy from Jane Austen’s Pride And Prejudice, Chanu from Monica Ali’s Brick Lane and Jim Dixon from Kingsley Amis’s Lucky Jim.