BBC jumps on book-club bandwagon with new show

A NIGELLA LAWSON cookery book, an Ian Rankin thriller and a debut novel by a Cambridge undergraduate are among 24 books to be featured in a new television book club, which the BBC insists will not be a "copy cat" version of the successful Richard & Judy reading group.

The reading list for Page Turners, the forthcoming BBC1 daytime show hosted by Jeremy Vine and designed to tap into the nation's recently rediscovered love of literature, was unveiled yesterday.

A panel of well-known authors, media figures and literary commentators, including Fay Weldon, Marian Keyes and Rod Liddle, whittled down a longlist of 67 books to a varied shortlist of 24 titles. As well as Lawson's Feast and Rankin's Fleshmarket Close, the judges selected 20-year-old Helen Oyeyemi's first novel, The Icarus Girl.

Publishers hope the featured titles will receive a sales boost similar to that enjoyed by books featured on Richard Madeley and Judy Finnigan's book-club slot. Eight out of the 10 titles currently featured on their teatime show are in the top-50 bestseller list. But the BBC says that Page Turners is not an imitation, pointing out that unlike the Channel 4 show, there will be no winner at the end of the eight-part series.

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