Oliver reveals his naked ignorance on Desert Island

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The Independent Online

Jamie Oliver, the Naked Chef, became one of only a handful of guests to refuse to choose a book on Desert Island Discs yesterday, because he finds them too boring.

The BBC2 presenter, who is slightly dyslexic, said he preferred "picture books". Oliver's latest book, Happy Days with the Naked Chef, is one of the top selling hardbacks in the run-up to Christmas, and may even pip Delia Smith's book as the season's number one.

Guests on the long-running BBC Radio 4 show are allowed a copy of the Bible, the complete works of Shakespeare and a free choice of their own reading matter on their theoretical desert island.

But Oliver told the programme host, Sue Lawley, "I don't actually read books, which makes me sound pig ignorant, but I fall asleep." He failed to pick a title, but did add that, "it would have to be a picture book."

Oliver, who has made millions from his TV series and cookery books, said he struggled at school: "I'm slightly dyslexic – I was frustrated with school, I couldn't touch and feel and smell enough things. Actually, the things I got an A and a C in was Art and Geology and they were the only things when I actually touched something and made it or created something.

"College was good for me because it actually finally said, you're not thick, and I got all distinctions and honours because I was interested."

A spokeswoman said Oliver, who has made his name on TV with his youthful "Mockney" presentation style, was one of "very few" guests who had failed to choose a book since the show began in 1942.