Richard Madeley blasts cynical claims he and Judy dont pick their Book Club selections

Richard Madeley says Anne Hegerty is not his 'favourite person'

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TV legends Richard Madeley and Judy Finnigan appeared on the White Wine Question Time Podcast yesterday, where they spoke to presenter Kate Thornton about their famous Book Club. On the show, Richard was keen to dispel any illusions that the couple did not personally select the books that made it onto their list. 

Richard and Judy, who are best known for their self-titled show and long presence on This Morning between 1988 and 2001, were quick to clarify that they are both keen readers. 

The daytime presenters launched their Richard & Judy Book Club with WHSmith in January 2004, and have continued to pick out their favourites to recommend to readers ever since. 

Kate told the couple that, after 12 years of their book club, they continued to “get Britain turning the page”. 

In response to this, Richard said: “Well, I suppose it’s because we don’t just lend our names to it. As we were – as you can testify – on This Morning, totally, totally involved with the production of the programme and the same on Channel 4 together.

“And it’s exactly the same principle with the book club. We pick the books. A lot of people don’t think we do,” he continued.

“A lot of people are very cynical and they just say, ‘Oh, you just get sent a list and you put your signature on the preface and you write a little review or maybe somebody writes it for you and they give you a cheque.’ 

“No, no, no – I mean, occasionally, I have to go to one of the local charity shops with a carload of books, because we just get so many books sent to us by the publishers via WHSmith, who are our partners in this. And we have to read them all.”

Richard then went on to explain that, while he and Judy would be “inveterate readers anyway”, the pair actually have to pick six books every three months out of a “much, much longer list”. 

Judy herself, meanwhile, is a published author and a self-confessed “bookworm”.

Her debut novel Eloise, published in 2012, was a Sunday Times bestseller, while her second novel, I Do Not Sleep, was published in 2015.

She said of the book club: “Well, it’s a fantastic job for me because I love reading. If anybody asked, ‘What is your favourite thing in the world?’ I would say, ‘Reading’. 

“It absolutely transports me. I’ve always been a bookworm right from when I was a little girl, so for me it’s great – it’s fantastic.”

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The pair then went on to reveal that they had recently been sent another huge load of books to read for their summer list, which were sitting in a box below the laptop they were using to call Kate on.

They also expressed their pride at discovering debut authors, some of whom Richard said went on to do “great things”.

Judy also highlighted how difficult it was for first-time novelists to get their foot in the door, suggesting that adding them to their book club list was a way to put great talent on the fast track.

She said it was “really hard” for upcoming writers to find both a publisher and an agent, which meant it was particularly “fantastic” when she and Richard came across an excellent first-time novel.

Richard, who now presents on Good Morning Britain, suggested that their skill for finding TV talent over the years translated across to the world of books.

He admitted that they “tend to get it right”, as he gave celebrated author Kate Moss and her breakout novel The Labyrinth as a notable example. 

Judy has expressed that, unlike her husband, she has no interest in returning to TV now, but continues to be active in their joint book club. 

The White Wine Question Time podcast airs weekly on multiple streaming platforms.

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