Higher channels

June 18, 1999

John Davies lists programmes worth catching this week (times pm unless stated).

Pick of the week After his How to be Home Secretary earlier this year, ace political interviewer Michael Cockerell now turns his attention to the problem of How to be Leader of the Opposition (Saturday 8.10 BBC2). No preview tapes were available - one reason being that a shadow cabinet reshuffle is expected - but a "revealing" interview with William Hague is promised, as well as footage from Harold Wilson onwards on the role of leader of Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition.

saturDAY June 19 Alexander Thompson (2.30 R4). The "unsung genius" of Glasgow architecture.

How to be Leader of the Opposition (6.50 BBC2). See above.

SUNDAY June 20 Good Morning Sunday (7.00am R2). Les Murray, one of the top living English-language poets, turns up in this early-morning slot to talk about religion and poetry.

Sunday Feature - Viewing the Century (5.45 R3). Doris Lessing interviewed.

Inside Russia's SAS (8.00 BBC2) Second half of documentary about the Spetsnaz and their current role. Later in the week, C4 offers two further stories from Russia's underbelly (both repeats) - Dog Eat Dog (Tuesday 1.15am), on a redundant circus trainer and his starving bears; and Is It Easy to be Young? (Thursday 2.40am), about Soviet youth culture.

Stonehenge: Secret of the Stones (8.00 C4). Repeat of two-part series. The following day the History Channel marks the summer solstice with a bunch of repeats about the monument (from 4.00 Monday).

This Is Modern Art (9.00 C4). Part 3: "Lovely Lovely". Matthew Collings worries away at that awkward concept for modernism, beauty. The central artist this week is Matisse, about whom Collings clearly cannot make up his mind; also featured are Patrick Heron, Jules Olitski and Chris Ofili.

Two Thousand Years (11.15 ITV). Marina Warner and others discuss the devil.

MONDAY June 21 The Index (3.30 R4). Christopher Bigsby fronts five programmes on that indispensable academic tool, the index. First he asks Ruth Richardson about her index to the 19th-century magazine The Builder and why it is important. Programme two (Tuesday) is about the "organic index" of the Natural History Museum's herbarium; on Wednesday he delves into the records of those who fought in the first world war; and on Thursday the magazine Index on Censorship.

Postscript - Between Sleeping and Waking (9.30 R3 and rest of week, times vary). Five commentators react to Velazquez paintings.

TUESDAY June 22 Climate Story (11.00am R4). Part two of Paul Simons's history-and-weather series is about the "Little Ice Age".

Night Waves (11.00). Bangladeshi culture.

WEDNESDAY June 23 Thinking Allowed (4.00 R4). Cultural studies guru Stuart Hall talks to Laurie Taylor.

THURSDAY June 24 The Material World (4.30 R4). Heriot-Watt's Kevin Roberts and the perfect crystal.

Malcolm and Barbara - A Love Story (9.30 ITV). Documentary film-maker Paul Watson's record of four years in the life of musician Malcolm Pointon, who developed Alzheimer's disease at 51, and his wife Barbara.

Night Waves (11.00 R3). The British Museum's new Native American gallery.

Tx: Museum of Memory (11.15 BBC2). Adventurous meditation on memory and the avant-garde from John Maybury, who made the Francis Bacon biopic Love is the Devil.

Email: Davieses@aol.com

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