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The French medieval saga that inspired Game of Thrones

The BBC writes at length about the cult French novel that inspired George RR Martin to write his Game of Thrones series. Les Rois Maudits (which translated as The Accursed Kings) is a seven-volume series written by Maurice Druon between the 1950s and the 1970s. His novels are set in medieval France and describe the battles […]

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Doctor Who’s 50th Anniversary

The debut episode of Doctor Who was first broadcast on the BBC at 5:15 p.m. on Saturday, 23 November 1963. That was fifty years ago, which may be just a blink of an eye to the good Doctor but I’m suddenly feeling very old. Intended as an educational family show about a time-travelling alien known simply as ‘the […]

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The dual life of actor & bookseller Neil Pearson

A good number of booksellers found on AbeBooks have dual careers. An office worker by day and bookseller by night. But Neil Pearson has perhaps the most interesting division of labour by being an actor and a bookseller. During the 1990s, he was a familiar face to Channel 4 viewers as Dave Charnley (editor/cynic/womaniser) in […]

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The changing cover art of BBC Handbooks

The BBC continues to be in the news for all the wrong reasons, but we should remember that this mighty institution has been around for 90 years now. It’s first crackly transmission occurred on 14 November 1922 where the Beeb reported on a train robbery and the fog in London. From the book collecting point […]

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The real Downton Abbey & the story of Lady Almina

Rejoice Downton Abbey fans – the new series starts on ITV this Sunday at 9pm. Of course, the real Downtown Abbey is Highclere Castle in Hampshire although the beautiful village of Bampton in Oxfordshire is also used for filming. The fictional downtown Abbey is set in Yorkshire. There is a book about historic Highclere – […]

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Three decades of Blue Peter annuals

Memories were flooding back to me as I browsed these long forgotten Blue Peter Annuals ranging from 1965 to 1981. Some of the covers are shocking – what were the BBC thinking? John Noakes and Peter Duncan falling over and getting hurt. Lizzie Dripping (aka Tina Heath) becoming a host. Lesley Judd’s boots and flowing […]

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