Higher channels

October 16, 1998

Stay media-literate with John Davies's weekly radio and television round-up. (All times pm unless stated.)

Pick of the week

The Life of Birds (Wednesday 8.0 BBC1) Ten programmes with David Attenborough roaming the world enthusing about the bird kingdom: what more could BBC1 do to show that it is a serious channel?

When I was Radio Times letters editor, fundamentalist Christians could be counted on to write in with complaints whenever an Attenborough series was on - all that pro-evolution propaganda, you see. But few others will object to this beautifully photographed first programme in which our hero visits the Galapagos, New Zealand and German fossil beds, concentrating on flightless birds.

Also this week

FRIDAY October 16

Bookworm (7.30 BBC2). Includes historian Anthony Beevor talking about his new book, Stalingrad.

Cathy Come Home (9.35 UK Arena). Hard-to-get cable channel offers a welcome re-showing of the Ken Loach classic from the 1960s. Loach can be heard talking on Monday's Start the Week (9.0 am R4).

SATURDAY October 17

Correspondent (7.10 BBC2). First of new series has reports on religious persecution in China and the discovery of a mass grave of Polish army officers from 1940.

Drugs: Altered Minds (7.45 C4). Channel 4 begins a season of programmes on British drug culture with a "citizens' commission" examining drug use and abuse, addiction, legislation and related issues.

Cold War (8.05 BBC2). The Korean war.

SUNDAY October 18

A Question of Science (3.0 World Service, repeated Monday 9.15 am). The subject is malaria. Four experts, among them Brian Greenwood of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, talk to Geoff Watts.

The Secret Underworld (8.0 National Geographic). The unique ecosystem of Romania's Movile Cave.

Viewing the Century - Nadine Gordimer (5.45 R3). The great South African novelist interviewed by Anthony Sampson. (She also talks to Hermione Lee on Tuesday.) The Private Life of Plants (8.0 UK Horizons). Catch up with earlier David Attenborough in this rerun series.

MONDAY October 19

TheWebStory.com/today (7.30 BBC2). The future of the World Wide Web is explored in a new series.

Nature - The Badger Cull (9.0 R4). Is killing badgers the best way to prevent bovine TB?

Postscript (9.20 R3 and rest of week). Five writers in conversation with Hermione Lee, now an Oxford English professor. Tonight it's Julian Barnes, followed by Nadine Gordimer (Tues), Peter Carey (Wed), Anita Desai (Thurs) and Brian Moore (Fri).

TUESDAY October 20

University Challenge (8.0 BBC2). Aberdeen v Newnham College, Cambridge.

Timewatch - Banking with Hitler (9.0 BBC2). Investigation, likely to make headlines, of how British and United States bankers did business with Hitler.

Case Notes (9.0 R4). The medical series turns its attention to eyes and their problems.

WEDNESDAY October 21

Tomorrow's World (7.0 BBC1). With a report from the US on the development of blood substitutes, and a preview of "Leonid Watch '98" - a meteor-spotting project that anyone can take part in.

The Life of Birds (8.0 BBC1). See pick of the week above.

THURSDAY October 22

Weather Wise (9.0 R4). This week, volcanoes and their effect on climate. Paul Wignall of Leeds University talks about mass extinctions, and there is a look at the "mini ice age" of the early 1800s and how it may have influenced art and literature.

Horizon - The Life and Times of Life and Time (9.25 BBC2). This one's about the ageing process and how geneticists and others are experimenting with ways of extending various creatures' lifespans.

Please send comments to John Davies at Davieses@aol.com

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