done so president putin says he will not expel anyone in response to president obama ordering 35 russian diplomats out of the us for alleged hacking. russia asked for un security council to endorse the ceasefire in syria which came into force last night. a post—mortem examination into the cause of george michael's death has proved "inconclusive" — further tests will now be carried out. drivers are told to take care in fog and freezing conditions, as a coach overturns on the mao in oxfordshire injuring 17 people. we were here from the award—winning novelistjoanne we were here from the award—winning novelist joanne harris as we were here from the award—winning novelistjoanne harris as she talks about her latest work in meet the author. the russian president,
vladimir putin, has said that he won't expel any us diplomats from the country, in a surprise response to president obama's decision to order russian diplomats out of the us. mr obama, who's also imposing sanctions, had accused russia of interfering in the us presidential election. despite advice from his foreign minister, mr putin has decided not to retaliate — for now. mr putin also said that positive developments in relations between russia and the uk would be mutually beneficial. steve rosenberg reports from moscow. near the kremlin tonight, they were putting on a seasonal show. ahead of the new year celebrations, there was song and dance and some musical theatre. but that was nothing compared to the political theatre being played out inside.
first up on stage, the foreign minister who advised president putin to expel 35 us diplomats. america had expelled 35 russians. in other words, tit—for—tat. cold war style. it seemed inevitable. but, no, vladimir putin said, he wasn't going to stoop to the level of irresponsible diplomacy. he wasn't going to expel any americans. he even invited the children of all us diplomats in moscow to a new year's party here in the kremlin. that was a surprise. but it didn't change what america's top intelligence agencies believe to be true, that state—sponsored hackers backed, by the highest levels of the russian government, had interfered in the us presidential election. with a cyber attack on the democratic party. was president putin behind it? washington suspects he was. and last week, i got a chance to ask him myself. mr president, your country has been
accused of state—sponsored hacking with the aim of influencing the result of the us presidential election. president obama revealed that he told you personally to "cut it out". so, what did you tell him, in response? the kremlin leader refused to tell me. dismissing all the talk of hacking as sour grapes from the democratic party. "the losing side always tries to pass the buck", he said. but president obama had decided there was enough evidence to merit retaliation. as well as expelling diplomats, he ordered russian government compounds in new york and maryland to be shut down. us officials believe they were being used for intelligence. washington has announced sanctions against individuals, too. including these russian nationals, wanted by the fbi for cybercrimes.
but today, president putin said he would work to restore relations with america under donald trump. what putin and trump expect from each other is a certain kind of decency. a certain kind of frankness. and no hypocrisy and no political correctness. by not expelling diplomats today, the kremlin was sending a new year's gift. to the new man in the white house. a sign that moscow wants a new relationship with washington. could 2017 be the year that russia finally comes in from the cold? lets talk edward lucas, joining us
from central london. if america was expecting retaliation, moscow has wrong—footed them 7 expecting retaliation, moscow has wrong-footed them? indeed, this was not the reaction president obama was expecting, but he put mr putin in quite a difficult position and president trump in even more difficult one. the evidence is rather strong that russia was involved in this attack on the american political system. mr trump will have to deal with that. he has dismissed the allegations so far. he will have all his intelligence agencies reiterating this is very serious. he will have the republicans in the senate, overwhelmingly sceptical about mr putin, worried about what was going on. mr putin will be hoping for a
reset in american and russian relations as steve rosenberg said in a report. it will actually be more difficult. it is more difficult, president—elect trump in a difficult position. does he seem quite unpatriotic, disregard what the american intelligence agencies are saying, or does he risk making a frosty beginning to his term in office with russia? that is exactly it. president obama is both lashing out a rather belatedly, in my view, ata out a rather belatedly, in my view, at a russia and the kremlin, persecuting american diplomats in crude ways for many years, conducting a spy war against the united states. this is also leading a time bomb for his successor. this puts a real dilemma on mr trump's
desk in the oval office. why do you think, and you talked a little bit why president obama waited until now to do this. he obviously feels there to do this. he obviously feels there to do this right now. it is after all the last few weeks of his time in office. is there also a calculation this will take things more awkward for donald trump? the tactical timing is very good, he did not intervene during the election campaign, he worried it will be seen as using the machinery of government to favour hillary clinton over donald trump. doing it now, in the dying days, less than three weeks of his administration, that makes it harderfor trump his administration, that makes it harder for trump and putin to respond, the with the traditional tit—for—tat responses. he should
have been doing this many years ago. eight years ago when he came into office, people like me, and people in eastern europe, they were warning him russia was up to no good, autocracy at home, aggression abroad. we had the reset, the idea they could get american and russian relations back onto an even keel. that did not work, the price was paid, particularly in ukraine, invaded by russia. he did not respond properly to that, and did not respond to the last big spying scandal. anna chapman the very famous redheaded russian spy caught an american with nine of her collea g u es an american with nine of her colleagues in june, 2010. an american with nine of her colleagues injune, 2010. american spy colleagues injune, 2010. american spy catchers were furious about
that. a lot of work into catching these spies, quite serious and damaging, deep obama treated it in a light—hearted way, brushing it under the carpet. they did not want to damage relations with the kremlin. although obama has done something now, awfully late in the day. he could have saved damage for the west altogether, particularly the front line if he had been tougher with mr putin earlier on. let's get more with our washington correspondent, laura bicker. that awkward position president—elect trump will find himself in will be exacerbated by the fact senior republicans, john mccain scheduling a hearing for next week to investigate cyber attacks on the united states. other republicans as well as democrats are really concerned about the russians and their in all of this. the pressure
is growing only president—elect donald trump to say something act. to seem as if he's taking some kind of line on this. his line previously was that he had dismissed the line from intelligence agencies, saying this was a line put forward by the democratic party who had lost the election. he has said these were the same intelligence officials who tell that saddam hussein had weapons of mass destruction. within the last 2a others, he had softened that a little bit, meeting with intelligence agencies. he said in the same breath it was time for eve ryo ne the same breath it was time for everyone to the same breath it was time for eve ryo ne to m ove the same breath it was time for everyone to move on. this is also president—elect he has had differing views on his proposed relationship with russia. during the campaign trail he said, i do not see any harm in talking to vladimir putin,
especially when it comes to coordination over dealing with the so—called islamic state. then there was the moment a couple of weeks ago when vladimir putin talked about building new nuclear missiles. donald trump tweeted he also wanted to strengthen the us nuclear capability. almost as if it was a tit—for—tat measure. dismissing the evidence from 17 intelligence agencies, risking the raffle of his political supporters, who believe he needs to do something about the russian hacking. or does he continue forward with the sanctions, continue forward with the sanctions, continue forward on president obama's actions, thereby risking any future relationship with vladimir putin? we will find out how this story and many others are covered in tomorrow's front pages at 11:30pm this evening. russia is asking members of the un
security council to consider a new resolution that would endorse the ceasefire in syria that came into force last night. the ceasefire agreed by the syrian government and some opposition forces appears to be holding, despite reports of sporadic fighting in parts of the country. this was the moment when the tide of syria's devastating civil war turned. buses lined up earlier this month to evacuate thousands of rebel fighters, defeated in their key stronghold in aleppo. a huge blow to the opposition movement, leaving the syrian regime in a commanding position. and giving the regime an opportunity to negotiate a ceasefire from a position of strength. translation: this reflects the reality that after aleppo's liberation the situation
is now different. there is a real opportunity to reach a political solution for the crisis in syria that ends the bloodshed and establishes the roots for the future of the country. but it is syria's key ally, russia, which is leading this push for an end to the five—year civil war. a chance for president putin to portray himself as a peacemaker, although he admits the ceasefire is fragile. and already some rebel groups are disputing the terms of the truce. osama abu zeid of the free syrian alliance insisting that the ceasefire applies to the whole country and all rebel groups, including islamist extremists, which the syrian army says it will continue to target. two ceasefires agreed by russia and the united states earlier this year did fall apart quickly. but this time the americans and other western powers have been
completely excluded, with russia working instead with turkey and iran. and so far this latest ceasefire has held in many parts of the country, although there have been some government air strikes. this lull a welcome respite for a country, so much of which has already been destroyed. richard galpin, bbc news. we are seeing pictures from poland in response to the polish man killed in the berlin christmas market lorry attack. lorry drivers blowing their horns in tribute to their colleague who was buried today. the headlines on bbc news: president putin says he will not expel anyone in response to president obama ordering 35 russian diplomats out of the us for alleged hacking. russia asked the un security council to consider a new resolution to endorse the ceasefire that came to force in syria last night. a post—mortem examination
into the cause of george michael's death had proved "inconclusive" — further tests will now be carried out. fog and freezing conditions have caused difficulties on the roads and severe disruption at several airports. a coach overturned on a slip road of the mao in oxfordshire. 16 passengers and the driver were injured in the accident early this morning. our correspondent helena lee reports from the scene. it was in the early hours of this morning in thick fog the coach veered off a slip road off the m40, before rolling into a ditch and on its side. its mangled remains and the damage done clear when it was turned back over. 16 passengers were on board, travelling from heathrow to oxford. remarkably, none were seriously injured but all were treated in hospital, some for broken bones, others for cuts and bruises. the bad weather made the recovery operation challenging. all three emergency services attended.
with 17 people on board in total, very intensive for the paramedics and the ambulance crews that attended, assisted by fire and the police services, as well. obviously, probably a chaotic scene to start with and dense fog not helping that. the oxford bus company said the driver was very experienced and had been doing overnight shifts for a number of years. now the coach has been taken away, the investigation turns to how it happened. was the thick fog to blame? and, why did the coach come off a junction earlier than it should have done? for drivers in southern parts of the country and wales conditions have been challenging, in some places less tha n been challenging, in some places less than 100 metres. the fog is
expected to linger this evening. causing problems at airports. cancellations at heathrow through the day. the same city airport in london and gatwick, thousands of passengers' plans before new year's eve have been disrupted. the advice, check with the airline before travelling to the airport. an update from the met office. they are extending their yellow be prepared fog warning through to ten o'clock tomorrow morning in central, east and south—east england. areas of file persisting in places through friday, expected to become more widespread and freezing on friday night, and into saturday morning. driving conditions difficult, journey is likely to take longer than usual, delays to add travel possible. fog and freezing fog patches will lead to visibility less
than 100 metres in places. that is expected to become more widespread during friday night. fog patches are expected to slowly clear from the north and west in the affected areas through the second half of the night. they will persist in places through to saturday morning. met office yellow be prepared morning extended tomorrow morning. do take care. a postmortem examination carried out as part of the investigation into the death of george michael has proved inconclusive. further tests will now be carried out. police are treating the singer's death in oxfordshire on christmas day as unexplained but not suspicious. on the financial markets, the ftse1oo index has ended the year at a record high.
the index of leading shares closed at 7,142 points, beating the previous record set yesterday. the sharp fall in sterling, following the brexit vote has boosted the value of many global companies that generate much of their revenue in dollars. the government is giving renewed consideration to allowing learner drivers to have lessons on motorways in england, wales and scotland. other changes affecting motorcycle learners are also being considered. the lessons won't be compulsory, and driving instructors will decide when learners are ready. ministers hope the move will make roads in britain safer, as our correspondent daniel boettcher reports. turn right at the end of the road. 17—year—old hannah spicer is practising driving with her mum today. she started in september and has had 20 lessons. she hopes she will be ready to take her test soon. she will not be allowed to drive on a motorway until she passes, but there are plans to change that. the government is considering proposals to allow supervised
learners onto the motorway for the first time, and hannah is in favour. coming onto the motorway for the first time with your instructor next to you would be easier, and you have a second pair of eyes looking at everything that is around you. if you go on your first time alone, it's going to be a daunting experience. learner drivers would only be allowed on motorways in certain circumstances. they would have to be with an approved driving instructor, the lessons would be voluntary, and the instructor would decide if they are ready. they would also have to be in a car with dual controls. you can't make it compulsory for practical reasons. large bits of the country have no motorway access. and if you allow it to happen, the people who are nearest the motorways, those most likely to be using them, will get to learn how to do it properly. this would covering england, scotland and wales. northern ireland has its own plans to allow learners onto motorways. the government says britain's roads are already among the safest in the world but these measures could improve that record further, and it proposes changes not just for drivers but for novice motorcyclists, too. they would have to take a theory
test online and those holding a provisional licence could have their compulsory basic training certificate revoked if they get more than six penalty points. hannah expects to have passed before any of the proposed changes come in. this is a consultation at the moment. it will also consider a target number of hours before a test can be taken, and some argue that could make learning too expensive, but the government insists there are no plans to make that target compulsory. daniel boettcher, bbc news. the only survivor of a boat that capsized off kent on tuesday has told how he clung on to the hull for 11 hours. one of his crewmates is feared drowned after he was swept away, while a second was rescued but later died. bryony mackenzie reports. this is the momentjohny
ronsijns was rescued from the waters off ramsgate. he was only spotted in first light, after clinging to the hull of his boat, that went down in a blink of an eye. translation: the ship capsized in one, two, three and that was it. one, two, three and no more — it was that fast. a fisherman for 36 years, he started in the industry aged just 1a. those years of experience and knowledge helping him to survive the freezing conditions. translation: i was on top of the boat for 11 hours. it was freezing. my legs from here to my feet, they were blue. i didn't have any feeling in them. i kept my head warm by pulling my sweater over my head and blowing into it. i moved my hands, and if my hands got too cold, i peed on them. it was absolutely freezing. he last heard his fellow fishermen while in the water. one later died in hospital, and the other is now presumed dead. translation: the worst thing is your colleagues who can't come with you, that's what's worse, for me, anyway. it's a lottery.
i've got the main prize, they've got nothing. despite this tragedy, he says he won't give up fishing. the latest files to be released by the national archives shed new light on the political turmoil of 1989 and 1990, as margaret thatcher's period as prime minister came to an end. the files reveal attempts by mrs thatcher to modify the community charge, widely known as the poll tax, her controversial plan to replace local authority rates. the policy led to rioting and was a key factor in her downfall, as nick higham reports. it was the biggest political misjudgement of margaret thatcher's career. the poll tax provoked outraged opposition. even riots. the files show her normally
self—confident government on the defensive. these are all files dealing with the poll tax over a period of 18 months, hundreds of pages of documents. it's an indication of how much time mrs thatcher herself spent worrying about the problem, how complex it was, and how difficult it was to find a way out of the mess. many of the documents are covered in mrs thatcher's characteristically spidery handwriting. the government tried some desperate expedients. at one point she herself floated the idea of letting councils put an extra penny on a gallon of petrol to raise more cash. the poll tax was meant to force
labour councils to spend less. instead, the government got the blame when millions found they were paying more, and mrs thatcher realised it was hitting what she called the conscientious middle, her natural supporters. one turning point came with this letter in march 1990, from an elderly conservative voter in norfolk. he and his wife were paying twice as much under the poll tax. he accused the prime minister of behaving like a dictator, riding roughshod over opposition. michael portillo was the local government minister who had thejob of trying to make the poll tax work. he says there are lessons to be learnt today. well, there are lessons to be learned, of course, but i don't think they are learned. i think the conservative government's commitment to introduce a poll tax in the 1980s without thinking it through is quite strongly paralleled by david cameron's commitment quite recently to hold a referendum without thinking through what its consequences might be. as for mrs thatcher, the poll tax ended her career, but not before the files reveal westminster council threatened her with a fine if she didn't complete her own poll tax registration on time.
nick higham, bbc news. the real madrid star cristiano ronaldo has turned down an offer worth £85 million a year to play in china, according to his agent. the deal would have been a major coup for the emerging chinese super league and would have smashed the world transfer record in the process. joe wilson has the story. china wants football, it wants footballers. earlier this year, bbc sport filmed at one of china's first designated football schools, two hours east of beijing. but the country can't simply wait for its grassroots to grow. in the meantime, there is money. whipped across, and ronaldo's met it. according to his agent, cristiano ronaldo turned down £85 million a year, offered by a club in the chinese super league. well, maybe, but the relocation is already happening. here's carlos tevez, once of manchester united and city, saying goodbye to his beloved
buenos aires, to begin the new year in shanghai, apparently becoming the world's highest—paid footballer. £32 million a season in the csl, it's rumoured. trevor watkins, a sports lawyer who's worked in china, told me these deals will force the world to pay attention. we have a situation where the csl is commanding the way in which the transfer market is moving. they are the ones with the big money, the ones prepared to put it down on the table. they have a slightly different transfer window to european football, and arguably they are distorting, or actually advancing the european market. consider oscar, 25, at his peak, and leaving chelsea tojoin a different shanghai side. so, are chinese clubs now a threat to the premier league? sam allardyce said today he'd rejected a chance to manage in china, but thinks more players will go there. with their population and the fact that the people will go out and watch football at that level, only time will tell whether it's the right thing to do or not. but the clubs are not
going to turn that money down, and certainly the player isn't. it's possible to build a successful football league with foreign talent in a country where the national team fails. they could ask england fans. china aims to win the world cup. if so, the next generation must be better than the current one. in a recent world cup qualifier, china lost to syria. joe wilson, bbc news. a £5 note engraved with a tiny portrait of jane austen and said to be worth up to £50,000 has been found in a christmas card. the second of four special £5 notes featuring art by specialist micro—engraver graham short turned up on thursday in the scotland borders. the first was found earlier this month in a cafe in south wales. two more remain in general circulation.
time for the weather. fog causing problems across central and eastern parts of england. it will linger well on into tomorrow. disrupting the roads and the airport, bbc london radio keeping you up to date. worst in parts of south and eastern england, patches are filed elsewhere. no fog in northern ireland and scotland, a breeze coming in from the west, temperatures of nine, ten, cold in the south—eastern corner, touch of frost for some. if you do not have fog, you will have clout, brighter in northern england. the weather fronts sipping slowly southwards across scotland. creeping its way into northern ireland. many of us will creep up into double figures. through the evening, the weather front making steady progress into northern england, parts of england and wales. behind it cold air,
behind into midnight. some showers in scotland, relatively mild and the south—east. hello. this is bbc news. the headlines at 7:30pm: president putin says he will resist calls to retaliate against america's expulsion of 35 russian diplomats. the us has accused the kremlin of hacking and publishing the emails of senior democrats during the us presidential campaign. mr putin also said that positive developments in relations between russia and the uk would be mutually beneficial. russia asks the un security council to consider a new resolution to endorse the ceasefire in syria that came into force last night. a postmortem examination into the cause of george michael's death has proved "inconclusive". the singer was found dead by his partner at home on christmas day. drivers have been told to take care in fog and freezing conditions, as a coach overturns on the mao in oxfordshire injuring 17 people. now it's time for sportsday.
hello and welcome to sportsday — i'm lizzie greenwood—hughes. .. andy murray is back on court but loses his first match of the new season to david goffin... bayern munich assistant paul clement is favourite to become the new swansea city manager... and george north gets ready to make his return to rugby after nearly a month off recovering from a head injury. hello and welcome to sportsday. we're starting with tennis and andy murray — has started his new season with a surprise defeat. britain's world number one lost
to david goffin in the semi—finals of the world tennis championship exhibition event in abu dhabi. rob heath reports. for someone who has achieved so much, andy murray has unfinished business. he appeared in this tournament as extra preparation ahead of the australian open. a grand slam he has never won despite appearing in five finals. david goffin soon ensured that andy murray was putting in the hard yards. nothing separated them in the first set until until goffin nosed ahead the tie—break, the first time he had ever taken the set off the new world number one. andy murray justified that status later, cruising into a 11—2 lead but then, david goffin hit rare heights of brilliance. this was a true exhibition and he reeled off four games in a row. andy murray had no answer but he would
put this down to experience, especially if it means lifting the australian open trophy at the end of january. goffin will play rafael nadal in the final. he won his first match since returning from injury yesterday and carried on that form in the first set against milos raonic. but raonic, a finallist at wimbledon this year, fought back in the second and set up a decider. nadal won that though, and is through to the final as he tries to put an injury—ravaged few months behind him. bayern munich assistant manager paul clement is the leading candidate to become swansea city's new manager. the former derby county manager was interviewed for thejob in october, before bob bradley replaced coach francesco guidolin. ryan giggs and chris coleman have both been ruled out but former birmingham city boss gary rowett remains in contention. swansea, who are second from bottom of the premier league, are hopeful of having bradley's replacement in place before the trip to crystal palace on january the 3rd. the team bottom of the table, hull city, are in action
against everton tonight at the k—com stadium. tigers' manager mike phelan says 2016 has lived up to expectations, being "turbulent and difficult". we are pretty open as staff, and honest with the players at the club. they understand that we need to do better, when it comes to winning football matches. i think what they have shown is a great appetite and passion for playing in the premier league, it is difficult but i do not think that for one instance, they have dropped away from the challenge and i think they are ready and willing to take it home in the new year. it is a difficult one. they lost west ham away. 1-0. but hull was the better team in that, four or five times they hit the post. it means you don't focus on positions in the table, it is tough and difficult, we need to be
at our best to get a good result. championship leaders brighton and hove albion's game against strugglers cardiff city is off tonight. a blanket of fog has descended on the amex stadium over the course of the day forcing the referee to call the game off. there are three other fixtures in the championship with second place newcastle also in action against nottingham forest. when middlesbrough play manchester united tomorrow, it'll be a first return to old trafford for the brazil defender fabio da silva. he and his twin brother — rafael — both played under sir alex ferguson, winning the premier league title three times. and the brothers spoke to our reporter steve crossman about what kind of reception fabio might expect. it's hard — i try and stop work, and i think about how it's going to be, but there are 1000 things in my head, like what it will be like, the reaction... i think it will be nice. i think it might be
stranger for you rafael, because you will have to decide who you are going to support? well, i have to support my brother at this time! to be clear, you will be supporting middlesbrough? i will be supporting my brother, i want him to win. so i think i will be supporting middlesbrough. . .! and you can see more of that interview on football focus tomorrow at 12 o'clock on bbc 1. george north will return for northampton saints in their premiership match at gloucester on sunday. it will be the welshman's first game since suffering a head injury against leicester on december third. that was north's fifth concussion in two years — including two in the match on your screen now between england and wales in february 2015. a review board said north shouldn't have continued to play against leicester but they didn't sanction northampton.
england wing anthony watson will also be back for his first appearance in three months — after being named on the bench ahead of bath's match with exeter tomorrow. watson broke his jaw in england's training camp in october, but now is on course to return for the six nations. the arrows have been flying at alexandra palace. i'm of course talking about the pdc world darts championship in north london. peter snakebite wright has booked his place in the semi—finals. he saw off the challenge ofjames the machine wade, winning their quarterfinal by five sets to three. wright averaged almost 105 from each visit to the board. and wright will play gary the flying scotsman anderson in the semis tomorrow. anderson beat dave chizzy chisnall by five sets to three in their quarter—final. australia have completed an unlikely victory over pakistan, to win their three—match test series with a game to play. after four days of bad weather in melbourne, the match appeared to be heading for a draw — but australia bowled out pakistan for 163, to win by an innings and 18 runs,
mitchell starc taking 4—36. earlier, captain steve smith hit 165 as australia declared their first innings on a massive 624—8. and south africa have gone 1—0 up in their series against sri lanka. chasing a target of 488, sri lanka were all out for 281 at port elizabeth. kagiso rabada and spinner keshev maharaj each took three wickets in a 206 run south african victory. .. stuart broad took an early wicket for his australian big bash side hobart hurricanes but they still lost their match against the brisbane heat by seven wickets. broad removed openerjimmy peirson forjust a single with his first ball of the match as brisbane made a poor start in pursuit of their target of 174. but after that brendan mccullum and chris lynn made light work of the run chase as the heat cruised to victory with 22 balls to spare. that's all from sportsday.
there'll be more sport here on bbc news throughout the evening. for now, good night. now we catch up with some of our favourite interviews from the year. this time, it's jalan harris. james patterson is the world's biggest selling author. he is best—known for his thrillers but has written science fiction, novels for young people, romance and nonfiction. to date he has published over 140 books selling more than 350 million copies around the world. and he is the most borrowed author at uk libraries. that isn't enough for
james patterson, he now wants an even bigger audience by selling books to people he thinks have abandoned reading. and his solution is called bookshots. so, welcomejames patterson. what are bookshots? hopefully a revolution in reading and the way we look at books, at the least an evolution, under 150 pages, relatively inexpensive and hopefully impossible to put down. it is one of my regular books except at 145 pages, very tight. you can get on the train, go to work, go home and you have read one, you have accomplished something which is cool. the slogan is "all thriller, no filler." is that what makes you think someone will pick up one of these rather than a magazine or go online?
books are like reading a movie. there is no fat. it is all story, hopefully with good characters. if you like alex cross, here is an alex cross you have not read before but it happens so quickly. in england we will start with six, it is a category, and alex cross, a zoo, one about the royals which is kind of fun, one about a big heist, a diamond heist. recently i was interviewed in my office, and i pulled out these eight very deep drawers and i have 107 of these bookshots that are eitherfinished now or in process. 80 of them are stories that i created. it is like, oh my god. the person who interviewed me went like this, this is crazy, this is insane and i said
great, this is insane. but for readers this is going to be a boon. because they are addictive. you have written some of them but like yourfull—length novel, you employ a team of co—writers, tell us a bit about how that works, in practice? i wrote last year over 2000 pages of outlines. my outlines are always three or four drafts. it is an insane amount of writing. and usually when i co—write a book, i write an outline, for these it may be 30 pages and it is chapter by chapter. and what i will do with the co—writer is give them the outline, i will say please contribute to the outline because that is useful and it gets the co—writer feeling involved in the process. the template for the bookshots is every single chapter moves both the characterisation and the story forward and turns on the
movie projector in our heads. so if that isn't happening, meaning you can't see it, you can't feel it, and taste it and smell it, if it is not moving forward and i'm not interested characters i will say, hold it, we have lost something here. then i will make suggestions and occasionally i did not figure out the outline correctly or more often it is the co—writer...! we will of course correct. if you look at them, they are smaller, thinner and hopefully on the trains and planes you will see people reading this smaller book. i have read that you work seven days a week, 52 weeks of the year, is that true, do you not even take a day off for christmas day? christmas i would say would be a very light day but generally
it is seven days a week. somebody said you are lucky if you find something you like to do and it is a miracle if somebody will pay you to do it. and that is my situation. doing these bookshots, it has been the most fun year of my life, because i love to tell stories and i was blocked with books i had because i had the alex cross series and the woman's murder club and it was like we don't need any more hardback, so there was no place for me to let my imagination go and now there is. i will have more content than marvel by the end of this year. it is little wonder that you are known as the busiest man in publishing, notjust because of the number of books you write, but because of the time and the money you spend on championing literacy, why is that so important? for me, the most important thing is getting kids reading. because if our kids do not become competent readers,
especially kids at risk, how are they going to getjobs and go to school? if they get through, ten and 11 and they are not competent... there'll be a drag on society and the city and all of us, and it will make for a harder life for them and the thing about... as an individual i can't do much to solve global warming or health care crisis, whatever, but as an individual we can all get the kids in our homes reading, mostly, we can help the local school, we can help the local libraries, libraries are a big issue now and how they get funded in england. ijust hope that people will stand up and go, our libraries are really important, we need the money for libraries. how much does your interest in this stem from the fact that you had a son who was a reluctant reader? well, jack is a bright guy.
when he was eight years old, that summer, we said you can read every day and he said, "do i have to?" and we said yes, unless you want to live in the garage because we read in our house. but we said this is going to be painless, will buy books you'll like, so we've got a dozen books like percy jackson, and one of mine and by the end of the summerjack had read a dozen books and his reading skills went up dramatically, and ultimately they have sat scores in america so a perfect score in reading is 800 and he had 800 in reading, and he is going to an ivy league college. in terms of what can happen, if you take charge with your children, make it your responsibility. there is nothing more important than a mother or father or grandparents to do than make sure the kids read. it is good you get them out with exercise but they
have to be able to read. you are hugely successful, a writer of commercial mainstream fiction, do you hanker after writing the great american novel? i have already — they are just commercial! no, i love what i do. i think it serves a purpose. on my gravestone, "james kept a lot of people up late at night." and bookshots are going to be one of the reasons. bookshots are a revolution. this is going to change the way people read. james patterson, it has been great to talk to you. thank you so much. for her latest novel, different class, joanne harris is back in school, st oswald's grammar school, where she set two previous books. and although she says that she thinks of it as comic, the comedy is darker than ever. from one of our most prolific and well read authors, chocolat was of course an international bestseller and memorable film. the classrooms and corridors are the setting for a story of sexual jealousy,
sometimes hate, deception and some violence, and an exploration of some of the most troubling relationships between teachers and pupils, and the havoc that they can sometimes wreak. welcome. joanne, despite what happens to some of the pupils and teachers in this story, it strikes me that schools attract you. you like them, don't you? i'm very fond of schools. i taught in them for 15 years, and they're wonderful observations of community. the observation here is, as i said at the beginning, pretty dark. it's funny, it's touching, but it goes to some very dark places, both in terms of the staff and their charges. it does. i've found that schools are a perpetual stage for tragedy, farce and everything in between. so many things can happen, it's such an unpredictable environment. and that unpredictability isn'tjust because of the setting, it's because of the age of those involved. we're talking about adolescents, people going through all kinds of crises, some imagined, some real. and relationships with teachers, which are inevitably very delicate things.
i think so, yes. it's a very intense stage, adolescence. you feel things very strongly. you can experience things for the first time and they are so powerful that they create an upheaval in your life. i found it a very interesting thing to be part of, but it's daunting as well, because later i realised that as a teacher, you can influence somebody‘s life and people remember things and if they remember something as unfair, they can resent it in a way an adult would not. some bad things happen in this book. i won't say what they are, but i think it's safe to say you're led into territory that has become much more familiar to us — allegations of sexual impropriety and misconduct and so on, and terrible emotional trauma between staff and pupils — did you know that was what you were getting into when you started? not entirely, no. what happened was that i started off with the germ of an idea and then in real life operation yewtree started to unfold, and i found that there
was an uncomfortable crossover between what i was writing about and what was happening in the world, and it became much darker and more topical than i thought it would. you touch on the whole question in this book of atmospheres that can develop, rather hysterical ones, leading to, in some cases, a witchhunt atmosphere, or territory where there are false accusations and great damage done as a consequence. it's something that clearly fascinates you, the unfairness that's lurking under the surface. yes, i think so. and also the past and how the past affects the present, and how memory is not inherently a reliable tool, particularly when dealing with experiences of trauma, how memory can be affected by all kinds of things that are happening in the present day, and how memory can therefore sometimes be both unreliable and frightening. the principal character, straightly, has been a teacher for a very long time,
so this has happened to him again and again. there's that interesting sense of having seen generations of pupils coming through, in his case, to learn classics or not. first of all, you clearly adore him. i'm very fond of straightly. we're not same person, but i might have grown into him if i'd stayed at the school where i taught for long enough. he's flawed in a lot of ways, but ultimately has a good heart. he's warm and affectionate. he loves hisjob. he's aware that he is affecting young lives, and he has a strong sense of duty. i also like the fact that he is a bit of a subversive. he has various prejudices he's completely unaware of. he's a bit bad with technology, he likes the odd sneaky fag outside when he shouldn't. one of the interesting things about the way you construct the narrative here is that you have an older man talking, but you have youngsters as well, so they're inhabiting
completely different milieu although they're in the same place, in the school. that's right, but i think i had the benefit of being in that environment for long enough to pick up a lot of voices, to remember the way teenage boys talked, the way older members of staff talked, and so i've borrowed from colleagues, from pupils who are now ex—pupils and who watch the whole process with joy from twitter and facebook. you're a great twitter user, i gather. i do like twitter, yes. do you find old pupils coming on and saying, "it wasn't like that with you?" very often, they turn up to readings, and of course they all think i'm writing about them, which isn't quite true, but there are certainly little vignettes. and although it's a dark story, you're clearly having fun. you're an immensely successful author, very widely read. are you irritated when people say "you're the chocolat woman"? i know you're not irritated
by its success, but does it sometimes hang round your neck? inevitably, a little. i'm very grateful for the response to chocolat and the fact that people loved it. i love it, too, and i'm still writing about those characters. what i find irksome, if anything, is the assumption that i will always do the same thing. most of my readers don't make that assumption, because they know i can go in any kind of direction and have done, and i'm lucky in that sense. you take the authorial responsibility very seriously. you speak up for authors. recently, you talked about not going to one nameless literary festival because they were expecting all kinds of things, exclusive contracts and a puny fee, and you said, hang on, authors deserve to be treated in a better way. it's notjust about me wanting money or special treatment. it's the opposite. i would like people to see writing as a job, a profession, and to treat authors professionally.
this is particularly important for young authors who have difficulty in getting to festivals because of what it costs. they don't make much money writing, contrary to public opinion. absolutely. the average salary of a professional author is £11,000 a year, according to the society of authors. this isn't much. not many of us get to write for a living and make a reasonable living out of it. and you're an author who conforms, i think, to one of the wonderful stereotypes — you work in a shed at the bottom of the garden, like roald dahl. do you disappear and enter a different world when you're there? shed world is a specific space, and i think it's psychologically important for an author to have a work space, particularly someone like me, who's on a timetable for so long. it's difficult to manage your time and get into the psychological headspace of writing, so i think it's important to create a place where you work and nothing else happens, whether it's a shed or a desk.
when i started off, i had no desk, so i had two objects i would put in front of my laptop when i wanted to write, and that created my work space, wherever it was. sometimes, i'm working on two at once, almost always, in fact. i have books that i write on sunny days and ones that i write on dark days, of which different class was one. and this was a dark day book. it is, although there are glimpses of sunshine as well. i should say it's fun as well. joanne harris, thank you. thank you. for causing problems once again in the southern half of the uk. over the southern half of the uk. over the next eight hours, this weather front sweeps south, colder arctic air comes front sweeps south, colder arctic aircomes in, front sweeps south, colder arctic air comes in, getting rid of fog problems, it is brighter in places,
some sunshine, captured by a weather watcher in northamptonshire. not the case for all. here, watcher in northamptonshire. not the case forall. here, it's watcher in northamptonshire. not the case for all. here, it's more like this with dense fog lingering into the evening. it will thicken up overnight tonight. further travel disruptions are likely, slow on the road with further delays. bbc local radio will keep you up—to—date on the move. it's worse in the south—eastern corner here, some patches of fog here, there is a breeze from the south—west which will keep fog at bay, and relatively mild, ten or so degrees in glasgow and belfast. contrasting with two or three and lower in the south—east. cold and potentially frosty, and poor visibility through the morning. dense fog patches in places. if you don't have that commit you have a fair bit of cloud. grey in the south—east of the uk. in scotland, this weather front brings in a breeze. cloud, and rain. in
north—west scotland, heavy for some time. dry in northern ireland, early cloudy with this weather front slipping southwards, into the central lowlands through the afternoon. and during the afternoon, it creeps into northern ireland. ahead of that, dry and grey weather. brighterfor some time ahead of that, dry and grey weather. brighter for some time in ahead of that, dry and grey weather. brighterfor some time in northern england and further south, fog lingers into the afternoon. not as cold, but this south—westerly breeze affects more of england and wales. eight, nine or 10 degrees for some of us. then, slipping southwards, overnight it is stuck across northern england and parts of wales, as fireworks go off across the country. south and eastwards, it is fine and dry. at midnight, a feud agrees. then, cold enough for some snow showers in northern scotland —— a feud agrees. then, colder air pushes selfie new year's day. ——
colder air pushes south on new year's day. but elsewhere, it will feel cold in the wind. this is bbc news, i'm martine croxall. the headlines at 8pm. president putin says he will not expel any us diplomats in response to president obama's decision to throw out 35 russians. american president—elect donald trump praises vladimir putin's actions, calling them very smart. russia asks the un security council to consider a new resolution to endorse the ceasefire in syria that came into force last night. a post—mortem examination into the cause of george michael's death has proved "inconclusive" — further tests will now be carried out. drivers are told to take care in fog and freezing conditions, as a coach overturns on the m40 in oxfordshire injuring seventeen people. and in half an hour i'll be looking back at a diverse year in film from hollywood super heroes to home—grown hits and fabulous foreign—language