Higher channels

October 30, 1998

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

Pick of the week

Geology gets the blockbuster treatment in BBC2's ambitious new series Earth Story (Sunday 8.00). Aubrey Manning, emeritus professor of natural history at Edinburgh and an animal behaviour specialist, is the front man. Other experts, such as Oxford's Stephen Moorbath, Dan McKenzie of Cambridge and oceanographer Rachel Mills do the explaining in the opening episode, which visits South Africa, Greenland and Lyme Regis to answer the question "How old is the earth?" A companion series, The Essential Guide to Rocks (Monday 8.00 BBC2), focuses on Britain's geology, starting with the South Downs.

Also this week

FRIDAY October 30

Nasser's Eden (9.00 R4). Howard Brenton's first play for radio is about the 1956 Suez crisis.

SATURDAY October 31

Travels with Pevsner (6.10 BBC2). Joan Bakewell on the history and architecture of Derbyshire in the first of a new series. Later programmes will visit Hants, Worcs, Northumberland, Somerset and Suffolk.

Cold War (8.10 BBC2). 1947-53: Red scares in the US, Stalinist repression in the USSR.

Blue Skies (9.30 R3). Steve Jones considers hybridisation in both evolution and the arts.

SUNDAY November 1

The Sunday Feature - Settling the Score (5.45 R3). The development of musical language this century, with the thoughts of Pierre Boulez, Alexander Goehr, Thomas Ades and others.

Earth Story (8.00 BBC2). See above.

Vanity Fair (9.00 BBC1). Thackeray's classic is well served by Andrew Davies's adaptation. Earlier, Davies talks about the novel in Bookclub (4.00 R4).

MONDAY November 2

TheWebStory.com/yesterday (7.30 BBC2 8.00 in Scotland). The pioneers of the internet and the world wide web.

World in Action: Death Wish (8.00 ITV). How Caribbean Commonwealth countries are anxious to restore the death penalty, and may cut their last legal links with Britain.

The Essential Guide to Rocks (8.00 BBC2). See above.

Drugs Uncovered (11.00 C4). Ian Penman rounds off C4's drugs season with physiologist Colin Blakemore and chemist Sasha Shulgin.

The Baby Business (11.20 BBC2). Catherine Bennett investigates IVF, with Robert Winston, Ian Craft et al.

TUESDAY November 3

University Challenge (8.00 BBC2). St Hilda's, Oxford v University of Wales, Bangor.

Timewatch: An American Firefight (9.00 BBC2). Looking back just five years, to the US's failed "peace-keeping" mission to capture a Somali warlord.

Nightwaves (10.45 R3). Historian Niall Ferguson on his "revisionist" book about the first world war; plus an interview with Nobel laureate Derek Walcott.

WEDNESDAY November 4

Star Trek: The Next Generation (6.00 BBC2) "Damok" classic episode featuring a race that speaks only in metaphor and which ends with Patrick Stewart reciting a passage from "Gilgamesh".

Tomorrow's World Special: Bionic Bodies (7.30 BBC1). The latest on spare-part surgery and tissue engineering.

Evolution After Darwin (9.00 R4). Just how far can Darwin's ideas be applied? Last in series.

Nurse (9.00 BBC2). First programme of seven following eight Newcastle students through nursing training.

How Did They Build That? (9.0 Discovery Channel) Leaning towers and the engineering below them.

The History Man (9.30 UK Arena). Reshowing of 1981 serialisation of Malcolm Bradbury's sour view of "trendy" academia, starring Anthony Sher.

THURSDAY November 5

In Our Time with Melvyn Bragg (9.00 am R4). The recently ennobled one talks with philosopher Mary Midgley and science writer John Gribbin.

Horizon: Beyond a Joke (9.25 BBC2). How laughter and play are crucial to human development, and the significance of hyperactivity in children.

Comments to John Davies at Davieses@aol.com

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