Higher channels

January 29, 1999

John Davies focuses on radio and television programmes likely to be of use to THES readers. (All times pm unless stated.)

Pick of the week

Century Road (8.10 BBC2). On the strength of its first two episodes, this look at the inhabitants of four different Century Roads in England is telling us more about the texture of ordinary life than any number of docu-soaps. The last programme visits a very multicultural road in the West Midlands town of Oldbury.

SATURDAY January 30

Armada (9.05 am UK Horizons; also 10.00 am and Sunday 9.05 am). Rerun of three documentaries made by the BBC for the quartercentenary of the defeat of the Spanish Armada.

Justice or Murder: The Death of Charles I (2.30 R4). Marking the 350th anniversary of the king's execution, Jack Emery's drama concentrates on the Putney Debates and Charles I's trial.

Animal Minds (6.00 BBC2). The last of the series asks if animals are fully conscious and is thus a quite useful starting point for the whole debate about the nature of consciousness. Mark Hauser of Harvard and Jane Goodall are among those who think animals have some self-awareness; York's Euan Macphail is more sceptical.

The Spying Game (7.30 C4). The technology of eavesdropping is the focus of part two of this series.

Shakespearean Women (8.00 R4). Fiona Shaw introduces an hour's worth of archive recordings of actresses from Ellen Terry to the present.

Century Road. See pick of the week.

SUNDAY January 31

Sunday Feature: Nightingales of the Nile (5.45 R3). Musicologist Ruth Davis, novelist Nawal el Saadawi and others on the singers of 20th-century Egypt.

Ancient Voices: The Great Flood (8.00 BBC2). Cambridge archaeologist Kate Spence investigates the reality that might lie behind the Old Testament's Great Flood.

The Real Don Giovanni (9.00 C4). The links between Mozart's operatic hero and Giovanni Casanova, whose reputation is being "reappraised".

MONDAY february 1

Start the Week (9.0 am R4). Philosopher Jonathan Ree, playwright Stephen Poliakoff and others.

The Riddle of the Skies (8.00 C4). Another series about UFOs with a sprinkling of academics, from ex-Nasa scientist Farouk El-Baz to astronomer Seth Shostak, who is part of America's Seti project.

TUESDAY february 2

Station X (9.00 C4) Part three (of four) in series about the wartime cypherbusters of Bletchley Park and the cracking of the Germans' "Enigma" code.

Nightwaves (10.45 R3). Edmund White talks about Proust. WEDNESDAY January Wednesday february 3

Searching for Lost Worlds: Machu Picchu (10.00 Discovery Channel). Documentary about the Inca city.

Pierre Boulez: A Life in Seven Chapters (11.15 BBC2). New Radio 3 controller Roger Wright interviews the composer/conductor.

Thursday february 4

The Volcano that Changed the World (8.0 R4). About the Greek island of Santorini, whose volcano may have wiped out Minoan civilisation.

Meet the Ancestors (9.00 BBC2). Excavating some Anglo-Saxon graves near Salisbury.

Horizon: Pandemic (9.30 BBC2). Why was the flu epidemic of 1918-19 so deadly?

E-mail: Davieses@aol.com

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