Richard E Grant, Mark Gatiss and Bridget Jones creator Helen Fielding are to front programmes in a year-long “celebration of literature” on the BBC.
Oscar-nominated actor Grant will visit locations that have inspired writers in France, Italy and Spain for a three-part documentary on BBC Four.
Fielding will mark the 25th anniversary of her comic creation in Being Bridget.
And a spin-off from BBC One’s new Dracula drama will see Gatiss trace the influence of Bram Stoker’s Count.
Gatiss, who has co-written the major BBC One/Netflix drama, will front the documentary titled In Search of Dracula, looking at the character’s origins and legacy. It will also include a reunion of seven Hammer Horror brides.
Other highlights in the year include:
- BBC Two’s three-part series The Novels That Shaped Our World will focus on how fiction has reflected and shaped society over 300 years – in the areas of empire and slavery; women’s voices; and class experience.
- There will also be a Novels That Shaped our World Festival in collaboration with libraries and reading groups.
- BBC Two will tell the story of Michael Bond and his greatest creation, Paddington Bear.
- Artist Gillian Wearing will celebrate George Eliot in a BBC Four documentary for the bicentenary of her birth, while five contemporary writers will do the same on Radio 4.
- Eliot’s masterpiece Middlemarch will be adapted for Radio 4, and Radio 3 will re-examine The Mill on the Floss.
- David Olusoga will chart the rise of the African novel for BBC Four.
- There will also be programmes focusing on the work of Hilary Mantel and the late Toni Morrison.
BBC Arts acting director Lamia Dabboussy said: “We’re hoping to get the nation reading, re-reading and debating novels through this year-long focus on literature across the BBC.”