Melvyn Bragg returns to BBC2

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The Independent Culture

Melvyn Bragg has been lined up as a BBC2 presenter following the axing of ITV's South Bank Show, it was announced today.

Bragg, who is already a regular voice on BBC Radio 4, will be returning to the station for which he was working at its launch in 1964.

He will initially work on two projects for BBC2 - an examination of class in British society, and a documentary tracing the legacy of the King James Bible.

Bragg has masterminded ITV1's key arts show The South Bank Show for 30 years, but the programme is soon to finish.

He has been outspoken about the show's demise.

BBC2 controller Janice Hadlow today announced the new projects which Bragg will present in 2011.

She said: "The first project he will be working on is a documentary on the King James Bible, which will form part of our celebrations for its 400th anniversary.

"The King James Bible is a remarkable work of faith and literature that has shaped our language, history and culture. Melvyn will be looking at the Bible's extraordinary legacy and how ultimately, as it spread to the new world and the colonies, it helped shaped the world."

The series on class is still being formulated but Hadlow said: "Melvyn intends to examine class - upper class, middle class and working class - through all forms of culture, with a final programme on what has happened to our ideas of class in the last 50 years or so."

Further programmes could be on the cards, she added.

"We very much hope this will be just the beginning of an ongoing and fruitful relationship with BBC2," Hadlow said.

Bragg said: "I'm delighted to be going back to BBC television; it's difficult to think of two richer projects and I greatly look forward to working on BBC2."