Bridget Jones set to return in third novel next year

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The accident-prone British thirty-something Bridget Jones is to return in a third novel next year, her creator Helen Fielding announced on Friday.

Fielding's first two books about Jones, written in the form of diaries chronicling the heroine's failed efforts to find love, lose weight and quit smoking, have sold more than 15 million copies.

They were adapted into two hit movies in 2001 and 2004, starring US actress Renee Zellweger as Bridget opposite Hugh Grant and Colin Firth as her rival lovers.

"The new novel is set in present-day London, with an entirely new scenario for Bridget," said Fielding.

"If people laugh as much reading it as I am while writing it, then we'll all be very happy."

Fielding, 54, first created the hapless Bridget for a weekly column in Britain's Independent newspaper in 1995.

Her novel "Bridget Jones's Diary" was published the following year, followed by the sequel "Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason" in 1999.

The character returned to Fielding's newspaper column in 2005 and 2006 with Jones falling pregnant by the dashing but unreliable Daniel Cleaver, played by Grant in the film adaptations.

Fielding said on Friday that her famous diary format, which opened each entry with a calorie count and number of alcohol units consumed, would be updated for the 2010s in the new novel.

"It's more like 'number of Twitter followers: 0'," she told BBC radio.

She revealed that Bridget will experiment with Internet dating, but remained tight-lipped about whether the third installment will feature Cleaver and Mark Darcy, his rival for Bridget's affections, played by Firth in the films.

"Some characters remain and some may have disappeared," Fielding said.

Dan Franklin, from publisher Jonathan Cape, said: "Great comic writers are as rare as hen's teeth. Helen is one of a very select band who have created a character, Bridget, of whom the very thought makes you smile.

"Like millions of others, I can't wait to see what's happened to her."

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