29 September 2003 | de_niro_2001
The BBC's most regrettable axing
I can't understand why the BBC chose to axe Jackanory. When it started in the 1960s its detractors said it would discourage kids from reading. The opposite was true. If a story was told on Jackanory it encouraged kids to read the book and maybe read more by the same author. Jackanory probably boosted sales of Roald Dahl's books in the UK. When I watched it I didn't know who most of the storytellers were but I would see them in a film or TV series and remember that they'd been on Jackanory. The BBC would usually choose an appropriate actor or actress to read the story. American stories were often read by Elaine Stritch or Al Mancini. Scottish stories were read by John Laurie, though on one occasion, Wendy Wood, who wasn't an actress but a staunch (to put it mildly) Scottish nationalist told traditional Scottish stories. As a kid I thought of Kenneth Williams as a Jackanory storyteller rather than as a star of the Carry On films. I still don't understand why it was axed. It deserved to be as permanent an institution as Blue Peter. One thing, though, if it was still going and it featured J K Rowling reading Harry Potter viewing figures would certainly rise. Harry Potter has certainly got kids back into reading so I think it's time to think about resurrecting Jackanory.