LITERARY snobs have long decried the work of best-selling writers like Jilly Cooper but now one academic has likened her work to Dickens.

It’s true that her tales of love, sex and romance reflect various areas of society and, like Dickens, she throws light into some murky corners — although some would argue about the comparison.

Enduring literary heroes haven’t always been well-treated in their day.

Thomas Hardy, whose work was published by the Bolton Evening News at the time, had Tess of the D’Urbervilles turned down by the paper for “blasphemy and obscenity”.

Perhaps times really have hardly changed.