Higher channels

February 12, 1999

John Davies casts an academically inclined eye over the week's radio and TV programmes. (All times pm unless stated.) Pick of the week

In the week the Stephen Lawrence inquiry report is to be published, it is not surprising broadcasters are ready with their specials. This week's main offerings are Why Stephen? (Saturday 10.35 BBC2), in which Charles Wheeler looks at media treatment of not just Lawrence's murder but also other racial attacks; and ITV's two-hour drama The Murder of Stephen Lawrence (Thursday 9.00). For another take on discrimination in England, see the second part of Black and White (Wednesday 11.10 BBC1), filmed in Leeds last summer.

Friday february 12

Trust Me, I'm a Doctor (8.00 BBC2). Returning series about medicine presented by doctor-comedian Phil Hammond.

Supernatural Science (9.00 UK Horizons). Scientific opinions on ESP.

Saturday february 13

Open Saturday: Minds and Brains (9.15 am BBC2). Biologist Steven Rose and psychologist Richard Gregory are the experts.

The Archive Hour: Watching the Workers (8.00 R4). Sheffield's cultural studies guru Fred Inglis evaluates the work of mass observation in the 1930s: was it more than the precursor of modern market research?

Cold War (8.05 BBC2). Germaine Greer wrote the script for this episode, about conflicts inside US society in the 1960s.

Between the Ears - Virtual Spires (9.35 R3). First of adventurous series explores a "virtual city" built by internet users.

SunDAY february 14

Tales from the Back of Beyond (12.04 R4). Cambridge ecologists and anthropologists visit Siberia's Kamchatka Peninsula.

Time Team (6.00 C4). Digging up a Roman bathhouse in Beauport Park, Sussex.

Now that History Hasn't Ended (10.45 R4). John Gray of the London School of Economics on "Capitalism's pyrrhic victory".

Monday february 15

Tuning into Children (11.0 am R4). Start of six-part series on child development in which brain scientists, paediatricians and psychologists talk to Kirsty Wark.

Oriental Mysteries: China's Wall of Doom (6.00 History Channel). First of a daily series for the Chinese New Year looks at the Great Wall. Not to be outdone, the National Geographic Channel has six programmes on Tuesday, of which Buddha on the Silk Road (10.00) may be the most noteworthy.

Tuesday february 16

University Challenge (8.00 BBC2). Manchester U vs Oriel, Oxford.

Behind the Brain (9.00 R4) and Nightwaves (10.45 R3). Two more bites at the consciousness debate. In the third of R4's series, Geoff Watts talks with archaeologist Steven Mithen, while in Nightwaves Richard Dawkins debates with Steven Pinker.

Wednesday february 17

Tomorrow's World (7.30 BBC1). Including a report on the latest developments in IVF.

Thursday february 18

On Tap - A History of Drinking Water (8.00 R4). Historian Mark Jenner begins a three-part series with the advent of piped water and the difference it made.

Fred Dibnah's Industrial Age (8.00 BBC2; 7.30 in Wales; not showing in Scotland or Northern Ireland). BBC Education's latest attempt to interest us in industrial archaeology is fronted by the former steeplejack (and star of his own series in the 1980s).

Horizon: Electric Heart (9.30 BBC2). How new miniature electronic pumps may save the lives of chronic heart disease patients.

E-mail: Davieses@aol.com

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