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Page last updated at 06:50 GMT, Tuesday, 3 August 2010 07:50 UK

PD James on life, death and the BBC

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PD James

Baroness PD James, one of Britain's most successful crime writers and a former governor of the BBC, is celebrating her 90th birthday.

"Some days I certainly do feel 90, but never having been 90 before, I'm not sure what I should feel," she told John Humphrys in a wide-ranging interview to mark the occasion.

Not content with retirement she is working on an entirely new work of fiction, which "you could call a novel," but does not feature her famous detective Adam Dalgliesh.

"I would love to do another Dalgliesh", she said.

"I'm very afraid of starting something that will take a long time to write, about three years in all with the plotting and planning and which may be unfinished when I die. I like to leave things finished or not leave them at all".

On the BBC, she told John Humphrys that the quest for ratings has "perverted very much what the BBC should be doing, which is something different, and something better" and attacked senior executive pay.

"I think there is a certain arrogance, a feeling that the BBC can do anything at the senior level," she says.

Finally, she was asked by John Humphrys about her remaining ambitions.

"At 90 you turn your attention rather more not to ambition, but what you should do with your life and how you should live it, for the little time you may have left," she mused.

"We cannot foresee the moment of our going, except it can't be very far ahead, and therefore one lives for the day, and just to rejoice in being alive, which I do.

"I know I'm an extremely fortunate person."

This is an extended version of the broadcast interview.


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