What was on Wednesday 26th August
Sky Arts - 9pm
Who's in it?
From mega-selling thriller writer James Patterson to queen of feel-good sentiment Oprah Winfrey, there were plenty of heavy-hitters paying solemn homage to the book which changed the world.
In a nutshell
To Kill a Mockingbird is, in some ways, a victim of its own greatness. It’s one of the very, very few “literary” novels to be a household name, to have universal resonance, to be “known” even to people who don’t tend to read. This is partly because it’s on just about every school reading list in the known universe – you can’t make it to puberty without meeting Atticus Finch, Boo Radley, and the other immortal characters of Harper Lee’s novel. The downside is it’s a book we take for granted, like a piece of furniture.
Until, of course, Go Set a Watchman came out the other month, shocking fans of the original with its depiction of Atticus and others. Good timing for the airing of this documentary, then, which looked back on Harper Lee’s achievements as a writer, as well as the demons that drove her, and the sometimes awkward political implications and racial politics of the book. Fascinatingly, we had anecdotes from the woman who played Scout in the classic film adaptation, as well as insights from writers who owe a debt to Harper Lee – including Scott Turow, whose courtroom thrillers stemmed from the adventures of Atticus.
What's the verdict?
Fans of Mockingbird would have relished every moment of this sprawling and exhaustive chronicle of the book and its reclusive, mysterious author. It probably won’t quite have soothed the sting of Go Set a Watchman, though.
Star rating: 4/5