Has the Booker prize lost its mojo?

Rows, gaffes and disdainful speeches – the Booker prize has always been in the news. But now, a creeping sense of bad decision-making is undermining its cachet

Documentaries about contemporary writers do not tend to liveliness – which is, perhaps, one reason why the BBC is increasingly reluctant to commission them. But Barneys, Books and Bust-ups: 50 Years of the Booker prize, to be screened on BBC Four on 15 October, the night before the announcement of this year’s winner, could not be boring even if it tried. There are no vengeful former muses; on this score, even Salman Rushdie gets off scot-free. But those who live in fear of lingering shots of honeyed bookshelves and the scratchy sound of a fountain pen moving across a sheet of paper can relax. Fifty years is a long time when it comes to gossip, feuds, giant egos, rank stupidity and ...