BRITAIN'S FAVOURITE NOVELS (BBC POLL) - FINAL RESULT
- 1. The Lord of the Rings, JRR Tolkien
- 2. Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen
- 3. His Dark Materials, Philip Pullman
- 4. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams
- 5. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, JK Rowling
- 6. To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee
- 7. Winnie the Pooh, AA Milne
- 8. Nineteen Eighty-Four, George Orwell
- 9. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, CS Lewis
- 10. Jane Eyre, Charlotte Brontë
- 11. Catch-22, Joseph Heller
- 12. Wuthering Heights, Emily Brontë
- 13. Birdsong, Sebastian Faulks
- 14. Rebecca, Daphne du Maurier
- 15. The Catcher in the Rye, JD Salinger
- 16. The Wind in the Willows, Kenneth Grahame
- 17. Great Expectations, Charles Dickens
- 18. Little Women, Louisa May Alcott
- 19. Captain Corelli's Mandolin, Louis de Bernieres
- 20. War and Peace, Leo Tolstoy
- 21. Gone with the Wind, Margaret Mitchell
In April the BBC ran a TV programme (The Big Read) beginning the search for the UK's 100 best-loved novels, and asked viewers to nominate their favourite books. The votes poured in from all around the UK and in July they broadcast the top-voted countdown from 100 to 22.
One of the rules was that no author was allowed more than one book in the top 21, hence the bunching of the Harry Potter books at 22-24 (and probably also The Hobbit at 25).
Starting in October over a period of seven weeks three ‘celebrities’ were each given 30 minutes to convince the public why their favourite should be voted into the top slot. First Meera Syal (TV comedy actress) supported ‘Pride and Prejudice’, Benedict Allen (explorer) commended ‘His Dark Materials’, and William Hague (former Conservative Party leader) advocated ‘Birdsong’. (It was also interesting to see their very different presentation styles.)
A few statistics have been included with the programmes each week: (i) 80% of the votes for Catch-22 were male, (ii) 80% of the votes for Wuthering Heights were female, (iii) sales of books in the UK have increased considerably since the search was begun, (iv) loans from libraries have also increased dramatically since the search was begun, for example at Liverpool central library loans of Rebecca have increased by 1600% and loans for Great Expectations have increased by 400%.
Pride and Prejudice: Meera Syal (TV comedy actress) extolled the virtues of Pride and Prejudice - the quintessential English love story.
His Dark Materials: Benedict Allen (explorer) explored His Dark Materials, a trilogy that follows the adventures of Lyra Belacqua - a young girl whose fate is to "change destiny".
Birdsong: William Hague (former Conservative political party leader) fights his corner for Birdsong, a historical drama of love and humanity that also tells unflinchingly of the horrors beneath the trenches of No Man's Land during the First World War.
Winnie the Pooh: Phill Jupitus (TV comedian) endorses the sweet delights of Winnie the Pooh, the unforgettable story of Christopher Robin, his teddy bear Pooh and the magical world they live in.
Captain Corelli's Mandolin: Clare Short (formerly cabinet member of the Labour party government) campaigns for Captain Corelli's Mandolin - a tale of passion set against the brutality of the Second World War as its ugliness infects everyone it touches.
The Catcher in the Rye: Ruby Wax (TV presenter) wants your vote for The Catcher in the Rye, a tale of adolescent angst and learning to let go as it follows the life of 10-year-old schoolboy Holden Caulfield one weekend.
To Kill a Mockingbird: John Humphrys (TV Newsreader) lets you be on the jury on To Kill a Mockingbird, a tender novel of race, class, justice, and the loss of innocence set in a small Southern American town during the Depression.
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy: Sanjeev Bhaskar (TV comedian) goes outer space for The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and encounters a cast of unforgettable characters as he discovers the answer to life, the universe and everything.
Gone with the Wind: Arabella Weir (TV comedienne/cook) exalts Gone with the Wind, an epic tale of heroine Scarlett O'Hara's struggles against proverty and family loss, set against the backdrop of the American Civil War.
The Lord of the Rings: Ray Mears (TV survival expert) sets off on a heroic crusade for Lord of the Rings. A sweeping epic that takes you on a journey that is out of this world.
Wuthering Heights: Alastair McGowan (TV impressionist/comedian) wants to make a big impression with Wuthering Heights. Set on the bleak moors of Yorkshire, it tells the story of Heathcliff and Cathy and their tempestuous relationship.
Catch-22: John Sergeant (TV Journalist) starts his campaign for Catch-22. Captain Joseph Yossarian is involved in a war he pleads insanity to escape, but finds himself embroiled in a tale full of bizarre characters.
Great Expectations: David Dimbleby (TV Journalist/presenter) presented Great Expectations for the Dickens classic.
Rebecca: Alan Titchmarsh (TV gardener) goes overboard with Rebecca.
1984: Jo Brand (TV comedienne) calls on Big Brother for support with 1984.
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire - presented by Fay Ripley (TV actress - Cold Feet).
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe - presented by Ronnie Ancona (TV comedy actress/impressionist).
The Wind in the Willows - presented by Bill Oddie (The Goodies)
War and Peace - presented by Simon Schama (Professor, Historian and Broadcaster)
Little Women - Presented by Sandi Toksvig (TV comedienne)
Jane Eyre - Presented by Lorraine Kelly (TV presenter)
Best presentation (IMHO): Alastair McGowan - Wuthering Heights.
My Favourite (from those listed) was Catcher In the Rye, but I haven't read them all by any means.
1 - 21. SEE ABOVE
22. Harry Potter And The Philosopher's Stone, JK Rowling
23. Harry Potter And The Chamber Of Secrets, JK Rowling
24. Harry Potter And The Prisoner Of Azkaban, JK Rowling
25. The Hobbit, JRR Tolkien
26. Tess Of The D'Urbervilles, Thomas Hardy
27. Middlemarch, George Eliot
28. A Prayer For Owen Meany, John Irving
29. The Grapes Of Wrath, John Steinbeck
30. Alice's Adventures In Wonderland, Lewis Carroll
31. The Story Of Tracy Beaker, Jacqueline Wilson
32. One Hundred Years Of Solitude, Gabriel García Márquez
33. The Pillars Of The Earth, Ken Follett
34. David Copperfield, Charles Dickens
35. Charlie And The Chocolate Factory, Roald Dahl
36. Treasure Island, Robert Louis Stevenson
37. A Town Like Alice, Nevil Shute
38. Persuasion, Jane Austen
39. Dune, Frank Herbert
40. Emma, Jane Austen
41. Anne Of Green Gables, LM Montgomery
42. Watership Down, Richard Adams
43. The Great Gatsby, F Scott Fitzgerald
44. The Count Of Monte Cristo, Alexandre Dumas
45. Brideshead Revisited, Evelyn Waugh
46. Animal Farm, George Orwell
47. A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens
48. Far From The Madding Crowd, Thomas Hardy
49. Goodnight Mister Tom, Michelle Magorian
50. The Shell Seekers, Rosamunde Pilcher
51. The Secret Garden, Frances Hodgson Burnett
52. Of Mice And Men, John Steinbeck
53. The Stand, Stephen King
54. Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy
55. A Suitable Boy, Vikram Seth
56. The BFG, Roald Dahl
57. Swallows And Amazons, Arthur Ransome
58. Black Beauty, Anna Sewell
59. Artemis Fowl, Eoin Colfer
60. Crime And Punishment, Fyodor Dostoyevsky
61. Noughts And Crosses, Malorie Blackman
62. Memoirs Of A Geisha, Arthur Golden
63. A Tale Of Two Cities, Charles Dickens
64. The Thorn Birds, Colleen McCollough
65. Mort, Terry Pratchett
66. The Magic Faraway Tree, Enid Blyton
67. The Magus, John Fowles
68. Good Omens, Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman
69. Guards! Guards!, Terry Pratchett
70. Lord Of The Flies, William Golding
71. Perfume, Patrick Süskind
72. The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists, Robert Tressell
73. Night Watch, Terry Pratchett
74. Matilda, Roald Dahl
75. Bridget Jones's Diary, Helen Fielding
76. The Secret History, Donna Tartt
77. The Woman In White, Wilkie Collins
78. Ulysses, James Joyce
79. Bleak House, Charles Dickens
80. Double Act, Jacqueline Wilson
81. The Twits, Roald Dahl
82. I Capture The Castle, Dodie Smith
83. Holes, Louis Sachar
84. Gormenghast, Mervyn Peake
85. The God Of Small Things, Arundhati Roy
86. Vicky Angel, Jacqueline Wilson
87. Brave New World, Aldous Huxley
88. Cold Comfort Farm, Stella Gibbons
89. Magician, Raymond E Feist
90. On The Road, Jack Kerouac
91. The Godfather, Mario Puzo
92. The Clan Of The Cave Bear, Jean M Auel
93. The Colour Of Magic, Terry Pratchett
94. The Alchemist, Paulo Coelho
95. Katherine, Anya Seton
96. Kane And Abel, Jeffrey Archer
97. Love In The Time Of Cholera, Gabriel García Márquez
98. Girls In Love, Jacqueline Wilson
99. The Princess Diaries, Meg Cabot
100. Midnight's Children, Salman Rushdie