Thanks to the lovely people at Specsavers, and the media company they use (MEC) really does provide some charming folk, I spent yesterday travelling up to London and watching two episodes of The TV Book Club being recorded. I’d seen one recorded in the last series, which was great fun and involved meeting Jo Brand, whom I love – this time we didn’t get to chat to the presenters, because other people had priority, but I’ll get onto them in a moment.
So, I arrived at Kennington tube station and whipped out my (not-so)smart phone… but Google Maps wasn’t working, for some reason… and I had to try to remember the route I’d taken last time. In my family, Mum and Dad seem to have navigation as their sixth sense, and look pityingly upon me and my brother… who very much don’t. We’re both pretty good at getting lost (one day I’ll tell you about East Chinnock’s Circular Path of Ineluctability, but not today) – however, today I managed to find my way, all by myself! True, this involved turning left, walking, turning right, walking… and I’m there. But think how many times I chose not to turn left or turn right? Several, that’s how many.
But we weren’t the only special guests. The lovely ladies of Elm Park Reading Group had won a competition to come and see the episodes being recorded, and it was very nice to have a quick chat with them. Here are five of their group, with lovely smiles…
I’m especially hoping that Irene (second from left) will find her way here, as we turned out to have nearly identical reading tastes – bonding over Elizabeth von Arnim, Katherine Mansfield, Ivy Compton-Burnett, Barbara Pym, Diary of a Nobody… but Irene likes Catcher in the Rye, and I don’t(!) Irene – you will love E.M. Delafield’s Diary of a Provincial Lady, promise. Now I want to go and pay a visit to the Elm Park Reading Group! Are men allowed?
Onto the episodes. The first featured a discussion about The Radleys by Matt Haig – a suburban family with secret vampiric urges. The panel (Jo Brand, Meera Syal, Stephen Tompkinson, Rory McGrath and impressively intellectual celeb guest Andrea Corr from The Corrs) all loved it, as did Nicola (one of the wonderful crew) so I will probably give it a go sometime… but me and blood aren’t a great combination.
The second episode being recorded was the same panel, but with Andrea Corr ushered off and National Treasure Celia Imrie taking her place on the sofa – and they chatted about Emma Henderson’s Grace Williams Says it Loud, which I have started and sidelined… again, probably not my cuppa, but an interesting discussion nonetheless. Sorry to be quite brief about them, but (a) I haven’t read the books yet, and (b) you should watch the episodes yourself!
I love that the presenters – and often, although not always, the guests – are really passionate readers, and excited to talk about books. It’s refreshing, for a medium that often thinks the only way people will interact with books is costume drama. We love costume drama – of course we do – but there is definitely plenty of room for book discussion programmes too. I would LOVE to see more of BBC’s My Life in Books too, or (even better?) The TV Book Club could pick a year from the past (1930 would be fun) and imagine which eight books they might have chosen from that year – and do a series on them. I’d love it, anyway…
All in all, a great day out. Thanks for letting me come back!
Oh, and I did pop by the wondeful Slightly Foxed bookshop on Gloucester Road first (mostly secondhand; some new books, including their own publications) and bought a couple of books I’m pleased with. More on that soon, probably. And a neat link into tomorrow’s post… and the day after’s (day’s after?)