Alexander McCall Smith explores the work of writers and their popular characters from literature, drama and comedy.
With contributions from Mark Haddon, Lee Hall, William Boyd, Helen Fielding and Adil Ray he examines the process of generating character and how creations such as Billy Elliot and Bridget Jones came into existence and infiltrated our lives.
Hilary Mantel explains the method of reimagining real life characters and McCall Smith offers insights into his own creation Precious Ramotswe and whether she's now part of public ownership.
Throughout the programme McCall Smith reveals that characters can be as enticing, vibrant and tangible as real people, allowing us to reflect on the world around us and accompany them on their journeys.
Some of the material was broadcast previously as part of Radio 4's Character Invasion.