Melvyn Bragg, Chichester Festivities

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You could not fail to be enthused by Melvyn Bragg’s passion for the book that changed Britain, if not the world - the King James Bible.

Speaking in front of a packed audience at Chichester Cathedral, it was only appropriate that Bragg should speak from the pulpit about the revolutionary translation he has dubbed the Book of Books, which the authorities were so against and which was the subject of a 300-year battle to be introduced.

While it was a very eloquent delivery, there were times when it felt as if Bragg was rushing, such was his enthusiasm to pack as much into the talk as possible, but he held the audience in his hand, and you could really feel people’s warmth and their high regard for this most lauded presenter, writer and broadcaster.

Bragg was full of praise for the book, which he said the country should be extremely proud of, and which helped to free the common man, bring about democracy and was the inspiration for the abolition of the slave trade in Britain.

Bragg’s admiration for translator William Tyndale’s simple yet poetic style was clear and he was keen to stress the King James Bible still resonates and still has an important place in our lives.

Clare Hawkin