Richard Osman becomes first debut author to be Christmas No 1

Richard Osman’s mystery novel about a group of elderly wannabe detectives, The Thursday Murder Club, has just become the first ever debut novel to become the Christmas number 1 after selling a staggering 134,514 copies in just one week.

The Pointless presenter has beat out the likes of Barack Obama’s memoir A Promised Land and JK Rowling’s The Ickabog to the coverted number 1 spot.

Osman’s novel has been flying out of bookstores all over the UK since it was first published in September and has sold more than twice the number of copies of Obama’s memoirs in the past week.

A Promised Land managed to sell 66,531 copies in the week to 19 December, which isn’t quite enough for the former US president to match the feat of his wife Michelle when she took the number 1 spot two years ago.

Osman also managed to beat David Walliams whose popular children books have been number 1 for three of the last four years. His latest offering, Code Name Bananas, managed to sell 55,129 copies bringing it firmly into 3rd place.

“Congratulations to Richard Osman on scoring the Christmas No 1 crown,” said Hazel Kenyon, Nielsen Book Research director. “I very much look forward to seeing him now appear as an answer on Pointless to a question on Christmas No 1 bestsellers.”

The top list has been released as bookshops in tier 4 areas have been forced to close just days before Christmas. The Bookseller magazine said that the last week of Christmas shopping is typically worth between £60-90m in sales and that this year we could have reached £100m had shops not been forced to close.


UK Top 10 bestsellers, week ending 19 December 2020

1. The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman 134,514
2. A Promised Land by Barack Obama 66,531
3. Code Name Bananas by David Walliams 55,129
4. Pinch of Nom: Quick & Easy by Kay Featherstone and Kate Allinson 52,955
5. The Boy, The Mole, The Fox and The Horse by Charlie Mackesy 52,099
6. Guinness World Records 2021 35,229
7. Shuggie Bain by Douglas Stuart 31,218
8. The Ickabog by JK Rowling 31,159
9. A Del of a Life by David Jason 23,973
10. A Life on Our Planet by David Attenborough 23,686