Monday, October 09, 2006

No Booker Prize show on BBC2 tomorrow night - watch the 10 O’Clock News instead to find out the winner

The winner of the Man Booker Prize 2006 will be announced during the BBC1 10 O’Clock News tomorrow night (Tuesday). Unlike every other year I can remember, there won’t be a show on BBC2, presented by Kirsty Wark from some echoey London hall to talk us through the short listed novels, introduce us to the judging panel, announce the winner, and hear his/her acceptance speech.

The official website states:
The Man Booker Prize will be announced on Tuesday 10th October on the 10 O'Clock News on BBC 1.

The announcement of the winner of the 2006 Man Booker Prize for Fiction will air on the BBC 10 O'Clock News; this will be followed by coverage on BBC 2 Newsnight, BBC News 24 and BBC Radio 4 as well as interviews that will air around the world.

It’s always intriguing to hear about the judging process. How this year’s judges waded through the 112 books that were whittled down to the 19 on the long list, and then further shrunk to the final six on the short list. How they resolved their literary differences of preference and appreciation.

As official broadcast partner to the Man Booker Prize, the lack of an informative live broadcast on TV or radio from the BBC is disappointing. It’s an unexpected change, which will lower the profile of the prize and no doubt dent sales of the winning and short listed books. (Certainly in previous years I’ve bought and read some of the featured books after getting a quick introduction on the show.)

1 comment:

John Self said...

Yes, this year's arrangements are very disappointing. The 10 O'clock news announcement will no doubt get more viewers than the stand-alone show would, but won't have time to go into any depth. Newsnight will no doubt cover the winner adequately, but it does mean the other shortlistees will suffer.

I've read Sarah Waters' The Night Watch and Edward St Aubyn's Mother's Milk. The latter is one of my favourite books of the year, so I'm rooting for it. Otherwise, the official forum shows a lot of support for Kate Grenville's The Secret River and M.J. Hyland's Carry Me Down. The obligatory ethni-lit books, Kiran Desai's The Inheritance of Loss and Hisham Matar's In the Country of Men seem less popular, with some readers expressing surprise that Matar was even longlisted, let alone shortlisted.

In other Booker news: when the Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales, Lord Phillips, went under cover in a community service scheme to highlight the merits of non-custodial sentences, what reading matter did he bring with him to blend in with his fellow lags? John Banville's erudite Booker winner from last year, The Sea. Nice one.