Helen Fielding, writer and journalist, is best known for creating Bridget Jones, who first appeared in a newspaper column in the Independent in 1995, in the form of a diary detailing the single 30-something’s exploits in London as she tried to make sense of life and love. The column soon acquired a wider following, and Helen turned Bridget’s story into a best-selling book the following year.
Born in 1958, Helen grew up in Yorkshire with an older sister and two younger brothers. Her father was a manager at the textile mill next door to where they lived.
She read English at Oxford where she became friends with Richard Curtis and Rowan Atkinson. After graduating, she became a BBC trainee, travelling to Africa for Comic Relief. She later made documentaries for Thames TV before moving into print journalism.
To date, Helen has written four Bridget Jones novels, three of which have been turned into feature films starring Renée Zellweger. She spent a decade in Los Angeles at the start of the new millennium and had two children with Kevin Curran, who was a scriptwriter for The Simpsons. She now lives in London.
DISC ONE: Fly Me to the Moon by Julie London
DISC TWO: The Windmills of Your Mind by Noel Harrison
DISC THREE: It Must Be Love by Madness
DISC FOUR: Piano Concerto No. 3 in D Minor, Op. 30, composed by Sergei Rachmaninov, conducted by Valery Gergiev and performed by Denis Matsuev (piano) and Mariinsky Theatre Orchestra
DISC FIVE: La Isla Bonita by Madonna
DISC SIX: I Will Survive by Gloria Gaynor
DISC SEVEN: I’ve Got the World on a String by Frank Sinatra
DISC EIGHT: Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered by Stan Getz & The Oscar Peterson Trio
BOOK CHOICE: Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
LUXURY ITEM: A magical tree
CASTAWAY'S FAVOURITE: It Must Be Love by Madness
Presenter: Lauren Laverne
Producer: Cathy Drysdale
To mark Bookclub's 21st birthday Helen Fielding talks about her creation Bridget Jones, with the first novel in the series, Bridget Jones's Diary. Bridget has now become an iconic figure in modern fiction.
Bridget Jones started life as a weekly column in the pages of The Independent in 1995, when Fielding worked on the news desk. Refusing to use her own byline, Helen’s column chronicled the life and antics of fictional Bridget Jones as a thirty-something single woman in London trying to make sense of life and love - and was published as a novel in 1996. Helen says in Bookclub that she honestly expected the column would be axed after six weeks for being too silly. She also describes how much she leaned on the plot of Pride and Prejudice, as in 1995 it seemed the whole country was watching the BBC adaptation with Colin Firth as Mr Darcy. Bridget eventually finds love with aloof lawyer Mark Darcy, who of course was played by Firth in the film of the novel.
With fans from women in their twenties now to others in their fifties who lived the life of Bridget at the time, Helen answers questions about the identity of unmarried women in their thirties in the 1990s, with Bridget feeling as alone as Miss Havisham and how perceptions have changed since; as well as how Bridget would fare in this #MeToo, Instagram image obsessed and internet dating world.
Recorded as part of the BBC's BBC Arts year-long celebration of literature, The Books That Shaped Us; and presented by James Naughtie and with a group of readers asking the questions.
December's Bookclub choice : Leaving the Atocha Station by Ben Lerner (2012)
Presented by James Naughtie
Produced by Dymphna Flynn
Helen Fielding – the 29th most influential person in British culture – joins Scarlett Curtis in this episode of Feminists Don’t Wear Pink (and other lies), and talks about the brilliant Bridget Jones as a feminist icon.
Buy the book here: https://amzn.to/2CVYBYe | https://apple.co/2OOgjhC
Come see us live: https://www.feministsdontwear.pink/tour/
Helen Fielding joins Konnie Huq in the Penguin studio to talk about her latest book Bridget Jones’s Baby. Helen chooses objects including her own diary and her favourite writing chair as she talks about how she first dreamt up the character of Bridget Jones, and why Bridget’s struggles as a thirty-something ‘singleton’ are even more relevant today. #PenguinPodcast
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