The genius of choosing Jane Austen is that her influence spreads far beyond people that might be interested in books - it ranges from bored kids in stuffy classrooms to those watching her adaptations on TV and in the cinema, and those who simply love her writing. There really isn't other woman who can move so seamlessly between modern culture and the 18th Century.
Award winning actor and writer Cyril Nri and I are cogitating thus because an actor we know, one decorated by Her Majesty for services to British acting and star of a hit US series, has had his remarks, regarding slim-pickings for black actors, turned into this broadsheet headline, "David Harewood: as a black actor there are very few roles for me in Britain".
Brits - including our political leaders - prefer to sit around moaning. Our best days are behind us, they say. 'Little Britain syndrome' has taken ahold throughout the nation. I tell you what will get rid of it: a dose of British optimism to snap us out of our funk. We need that half-time ad, reminding us that we too are a great country capable of digging ourselves out of a hole.