This interview was originally published in Radio Times magazine.


Welcome to Celebrity Book Club Wife Swap, the new series in which Sara Cox steals famous people's spouses in exchange for literary recommendations.

It hasn't been commissioned yet, but, says Cox, it's "something we could maybe try for a spin-off " from Between the Covers. And it's all because of Rob Delaney.

Cox admits to developing a crush on the Catastrophe star last time he was a guest on her book club series, and now that he's back as a guest on her new series, she says "things have got worse".

"I love him so much I want to be married to him for a day a month. Nothing fruity, I just want to go into B&Q with him, do some DIY around the house, get a Domino's, maybe watch a film together. My husband can hang out with his wife for a day, too."

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This seventh outing for Cox's programme also features several guests she hasn't expressed a desire to marry – names as diverse as Geri Halliwell-Horner, Bill Paterson, Adrian Edmondson and Anita Rani.

Each guest brings in their favourite tome for discussion, but they also discuss one new book change in direction from a major author as it's set in the near future [Faulks is most famous for his First World War novel Birdsong] and concerns the birth of a child who makes us question what it means to be a human.

"I'll admit, I found it a bit challenging myself, but it's certainly interesting. One included Ade Edmondson, Annie Macmanus and the comedian Chris McCausland, and we all loved this — except for Chris, who couldn't really relate to it, but he was very funny about it. We want people with different tastes on the show, though; that adds a little bit of spice to it..."

Bill Paterson, Geri Halliwell-Horner, Sara Cox, Miles Jupp, Ellie Taylor standing together holding books
Bill Paterson, Geri Halliwell-Horner, Sara Cox, Miles Jupp, Ellie Taylor. BBC/Cactus TV


by AP Firdaus, Sceptre, £18.99.

RT Shop price £17.50 incl p&p

"I had one of my heroes on this show: Sandi Toksvig joined us, as well as Alex Jones and others, and we all thought this book was great. It's a lovely story of a young boy in India discovering the history of his mum, and why people end up a certain way. It was also an education by stealth because it starts around the Partition period, and it's the kind of book where you might do a little bit of Googling at the same time."


by Sheila Armstrong, Bloomsbury Circus, £14.99.

RT Shop price £14.99 incl p&p

"Falling Animals is a fascinating book and this was a fascinating show. The panel — including comedians Ed Byrne and Suzi Ruffell — all really admired Armstrong's writing, but we questioned whether it was so beautiful, with such stunning similes for instance, that it actually distracts from the story. We also discussed Captain Corelli's Mandolin, which Ed chose for us because he wanted to recommend the book over the film."

Ade Edmondson, Angela Barnes, Sara Cox, Chris McCausland, Annie MacManus standing together holding books
Ade Edmondson, Angela Barnes, Sara Cox, Chris McCausland, Annie MacManus. BBC/Cactus TV


by Jill Johnson, Black & White Publishing, £14.99.

RT Shop price £14.99 incl p&p

"We had an interesting group of guests here: Kerry Godliman [Ricky Gervais's wife in After Life], Ben Miller, Nish Kumar and the comedian Laura Smyth. Laura used to be an English teacher, which made for a great chat in the studio, but also made me sad that she's not teaching any more. Devil's Breath was another one where we all learned something: it's a murder mystery involving poisonous plants and a professor of botanical toxicology. The panel really liked it, though I got a bit lost, possibly because I was listening to the audiobook and I couldn't flick back to remind myself of things like you can with a physical book."


by Eleni Kyriacou, Head of Zeus, £14.99.

RT Shop price £14.99 incl p&p

"This was maybe my favourite book. It's based on the true story of the second-last woman to be executed in the UK, in the 1950s — the titular Zina Pavlou, a Greek Cypriot woman who could speak very little English. We had Bill Paterson on for this one — everyone fell in love with him; all the make-up girls, the producers — together with Geri Halliwell-Horner and Miles Jupp, who I don't think had hung around with many Spice Girls before. He was quite intrigued by Geri, who was being very Geri, checking our birthdates and astrological signs even as they were counting down the last four seconds before recording started in the studio. And then, suddenly, we're discussing books!"

Between the Covers continues on Monday 13th November on BBC Two at 7pm.

If you're looking for more to watch, check out our TV Guide.


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