Higher channels

April 30, 1999

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

New Labour has now been in power for two years, so under the overall title Now We Are Two, Channel 4 is marking the anniversary with a bunch of programmes. First up is If John Smith Had Lived (Saturday 7.25), in which Andrew Marr speculates; this is followed by The Trial of Margaret Thatcher (7.55), a courtroom battle featuring argument from John Redwood, Gerald Kaufman and others. On Sunday Blair's Way (8.00) examines the prime minister's governing style.


The Prince of Navigators (2.30 R4). Henry the Navigator's English connections explored with historians Anthony Goodman and Peter Russell.

Now We Are Two (7.25 C4). See above.

One Foot in the Past (7.45 BBC2). Includes an item on domes - regarded with suspicion by Brits in the past and now.

Timewatch: Tales from the Oklahoma Land Runs (8.15 BBC2). It is a bit hazy on dates, but Jonathan Gili's documentary has plenty of Oklahoma old-timers reminiscing about their characterful forebears. Not much about Native Americans, though.

Beyond the Clouds (10.00 National Geographic). If you enjoyed Phil Agland's recent Shanghai Vice series on C4, check out his previous series, set in Lijiang.


The Viking Saga (4.00 History Channel). Two-hour special on the "intrepid journeys of discovery" made by those misunderstood Norsemen in their longships.

Reservoir of Darkness (4.30 R3). Auden's obsession with the northern Pennines, explored by Sean O'Brien.

Sunday Feature: Settling the Score (5.45 R3). Neurologists, musicologists and philosophers on how music affects the brain.

Cold War (7.10 BBC2). 1989: the Berlin Wall comes down. Penultimate episode, written by Neal Ascherson.

2000 Years (10.45 ITV). Christianity in the third century. History plus discussion, in which Melvyn Bragg is joined by Keith Ward, Gore Vidal and the almost ubiquitous Susan Greenfield.


Postscript: Between Moving Air and Moving Ocean (9.10 R3, and rest of week at varying times). James Campbell interviews poet Thom Gunn.

Costing the Earth (9.00 R4). Environment series returns with the politics of BST, the genetically engineered hormone designed to increase milk yields from cows.


The Learning Curve (4.00 R4). What makes people good (or bad) at maths? The education series focuses on numeracy.


Tomorrow's World Special (7.30 BBC1). From South Africa, various technological breakthroughs - including a herb-based treatment for TB. This seems to be the disease of the day: it's the subject of TB - The Forgotten Plague (7.00 UK Horizons), a repeat from 1993, and crops up later in a Badgers: the Culling Fields (9.30 BBC2) about badgers and TB in cattle.

The 1999 Reith Lectures (8.00 R4). Fifth and last of Anthony Giddens's discourses is about democracy (which apparently "needs to be democratised"). Weren't there six Reith lectures in the old days?


In Our Time with Melvyn Bragg (9.00am R4). Ian Stewart on maths versus biology.

The Planets (9.00 BBC2). Second of series concentrates on the search for volcanic activity elsewhere in the solar system.

e-mail: Davieses@aol.com

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