Higher channels

March 26, 1999

John Davies scans the schedules. (All times pm unless stated.) Pick of the week

Greek tragedy, says Tony Harrison, is a "near to accurate vision of our life". That is one of the insights offered in a better-than-usual South Bank Show (Sunday 10.45 ITV) in which we see Harrison - too good a writer to be poet laureate - visiting his native Leeds and in Delphi, where he talks about his film reworking of the Prometheus legend.

SaturDAY march

Open Saturday: Islands of Life (9.15am BBC2). The science of islands, from the Galapagos to Santorini.

We Shall Overcome: Thirty Years On (7.30 BBC2). Northern Ireland's 1968-69 civil-rights movement recalled by Nick Ross, then a psychology student at Queen's, Belfast.

Friendship: One Good Thing (7.45 R4). Talk by Sandy McCall-Smith, professor of medicinal law at Edinburgh University.

Cold War (8.15 BBC2). "Freeze" (1977-81).

SunDAY march 28

The Lusitania: Murder on the Atlantic (4.00 History Channel). We are promised "heroism, tragedy and mysteries that linger to this day" in this new documentary.

The Natural World (6.35 BBC2). The wildlife of Iran - first of two programmes.

Shanghai Vice (9.00 C4). A Communist Party official goes on trial for murder.

South Bank Show (10.45 ITV). See above.

MondAY march 29

Panorama (10.00 BBC1) "Frankenstein Foods" investigates claims that the countryside and our health are under threat from genetically modified crops and the food derived from them.

Disaster: A Cancer in the System (8.00 BBC2). How did a Kent hospital's cervical cancer screening programme fail?

To the Ends of the Earth (8.00 C4). More tropical rainforest - this time in the heart of Borneo, with Robin Hanbury-Tenison.

TuesDAY march 30

Counterblast: Who's Failing the Family? (7.30 BBC2). Erin Pizzey, arguing against "feminist orthodoxy", claims academic research on domestic violence is biased.

Supernatural (8.30 BBC1). Much-trumpeted series on animals' "extra-sensory" powers, made in conjunction with Discovery Channel, and featuring many a natural history screen favourite: sharks, dolphins, killer bees, elephants.

Close Up: Daniel Liebeskind (9.30 BBC2). Portrait of the radical architect.

WednesDAY march 31

University Challenge (9.15 BBC2). Birkbeck vs Open University.

Under Pressure: Hunting the Quark (9.00 R4). Is there a "hybrid particle", and what does this mean for subatomic physics? Brian Cox reports on the annual Morionde conference, which discusses such things.

New Kids on the Bloc (9.00 Discovery Channel). Here is something out of the ordinary for the satellite/cable channel: six half-hour documentaries by East German film-makers, on subjects ranging from the Trabant car and the optical industry of Jena to neo-Nazism and a snack bar in Berlin.

ThursdaY April 1

In Our Time with Melvyn Bragg (9.00 am R4). Philosophers Leszek Kolakowski and Galen Strawson discuss good and evil in the 20th century.

What If? (8.00 R4). Last in Christopher Andrew's series considers the likelihood of chemical and biological weapons being used.

Horizon (9.30 BBC2). Repeat of "The Curse of Vesuvius", a combination of archaeological and geological research.

e-mail: Davieses@aol.com

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