Higher channels

July 9, 1999

John Davies scans the week's TV and radio highlights (times pm unless stated.)

Pick of the week

Over three compelling hours, Gulag (Saturday 9.00 BBC2) presents remarkable evidence from the Soviet Union's darkest days. Angus McQueen, who helped make the Death of Yugoslavia series, has gathered stories about the Gulag system of forced labour and punishment. Interviews with victims, perpetrators and onlookers, plus some telling propaganda film make this one of the year's major documentaries.

Friday July 9

Picture This: Stood for This Massive (11.15 BBC2). Portrait of compulsive gambler Harry Findlay. Probably not the sort of programme I should recommend, but Harry is upbeat about his life and what he says a Hungarian philosopher told him of his "Dostoevskyan" personality.

saturday July 10

Into Africa: The Swahili Coast (8.10 BBC2). First of six explorations of African history by Henry Louis Gates, Jr. features the Islam-dominated eastern seaboard.

Gulag (9.00 BBC2). See pick of the week.

Sunday July 11

Sunday Feature - Hemingway's Last Safari (5.45 R3). Christopher Bigsby, Elaine Showalter and David Lodge are among those commenting on the US writer, born 100 years ago this month.

Sunday Play - Document of Identity (7.30 R3). Specially commissioned play by Nobel prizewinner Wole Soyinka, a fact-based account of 1997 events in Nigeria under the Abacha dictatorship.

This Is Modern Art (9.00 C4). Final programme ponders art-world hype.

Monday July 12

Do You Believe In I (8.15 am World Service, repeated Thurs 8.30) University of Hertfordshire paranormal researcher Richard Wiseman presents four shows of "open-minded" scepticism.

Taking the Long View (9.00 am R4). Jonathan Freedland starts new series on how the press reported historical events with a look at Wales's Rebecca Riots of the 1840s.

Naked Warriors of Europe (6.00 History Channel). In other words, the Celts.

East: What Have You Got to Lose? (7.30 BBC2). Thalassaemia, the blood disorder carried by one in seven Asians in Britain.

Local Heroes (8.00 BBC2) (Not Northern Ireland). Scots inventors.

Secret Fathers (9.00 C4). Mary Barton and Margaret Jackson, artificial insemination pioneers of 60 years ago, and their legacy.

Tuesday July 13

Unearthing Mysteries - Beyond the Valley of the Kings (11.00 am R4). Aubrey Manning on "the last great mystery of Egyptology", an unidentified mummy found in 1907.

Secrets of the Dead: Lost Vikings (9.00 C4). Why did a Viking settlement in Greenland suddenly disappear? Experts consulted include two Sheffield University entomologists.

Night Waves (11.00 R3). The cultural legacy of the moon landing.

Wednesday July 14

Thinking Allowed (4.00 R4). Paul Gilroy talks about race and nationhood, and why he is leaving Goldsmiths for a chair at Yale.

The Secret Life of Twins (9.30 BBC1). Robert Winston (who else?) presents three-part series on twins and twin research.

Frontiers (9.00 R4). The difference between men's and women's brains - the latest neurological research and what it means.

Thursday July 15

Digging Deep (9.00 R4). Mining technology - and what happens when underground resources run out.

Email: Davieses@aol.com

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