Salinger may sue over BBC dramatisation

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The Independent Online

The BBC could face legal action from J D Salinger over its decision to dramatise part of The Catcher in the Rye without his permission.

Extracts from one of the most famous unfilmed novels were read out as part of a tribute to the work presented by Ruby Wax on BBC2'sThe Big Read, last Saturday. A teenage actor, Jacob Zachar, was asked to perform scenes from the book even though no authorisation had been sought from Salinger, who is notoriously protective of his work and has refused permission to portray his novel on film or on stage. .

Representatives of the author have described the BBC's actions as "extraordinary" and demanded copies of the programme. His British sub-agent, Clare Alexander of Gillon Aitken, said: "If the BBC have dramatised without permission it is an extraordinary thing for them to do.

"The key issue here, is about proper respect for an author's wishes and clearly the BBC decided not to find out what those wishes might be."

The matter has been referred to Salinger's primary agent, Phyllis Westberg at Harold Ober Associates in New York who has yet to decide on what action to take.