Higher channels

March 17, 2000

John Davies on the broadcasting week ahead (all times pm unless stated).

Pick of the week

Robot designers learn a lot from the way ants, geckos, lobsters, snakes, spiders and a host of other creatures live and move around. So we are told in Robocritters (Thursday 9.30 BBC2), an R&D round-up put together by the BBC's Natural History Unit for National Science Week. It features about a dozen teams from the United Kingdom and the United States - mostly Boston and Berkeley, but also Chris Melhuish of the University of the West of England and Reading's Kevin Warwick.

SATURDAY March 18 Tourists of the Revolution (5.50 BBC2). New series looking at 20th-century "political pilgrims", beginning with the Englishmen who thought Nazism was a good thing.

SUNDAY March 19 FutureWar (5.55 BBC2; 6.40 in Wales). Michael Ignatieff fronts this series on the future of military technology and training - for the US at least. Some scepticism is injected by talk of failings in Vietnam. But despite some cautious final words from Ignatieff, the overall impression is gung-ho.

Time Team (6.00 C4). In search of a lost Anglo-Saxon monastery in Hartlepool.

Six Experiments that Changed the World (7.00 C4). For his finale, Ken Campbell goes to Italy to tell the story of Galileo's achievements. Mario Biagioli (Harvard) and Tom Settle of Florence's history of science museum provide background.

Art Zone (7.30 BBC2). New bundling-together of arts programmes on BBC2 starts with Review, a revamped Late Review (Tom Paulin still there). After that, there is an hour of How Proust Can Change Your Life (8.00), based on Alain de Botton's book of the same title. Felicity Kendall narrates, Proust is embodied by Ralph Fiennes. Next up, Picasso Days (9.00), a full-length survey of the great artist, made in France by Pierre Philippe.

Heart of the Matter (11.00 BBC1; 12 midnight in Scotland and N Ireland). On jury trials. With Kingston Law School's Penny Derbyshire (on how the Netherlands manages without juries).

MONDAY March 20 Techno Games 2000 (6.25 BBC2 and rest of week, times vary). More robots, competing in the Millennium Dome. Entrants include primary schools and Oxford University.

What Will They Think of Next? (8.00 ITV). Tomorrow's World-style technology show. Some robots here, too.

TUESDAY March 21 Ape-man (9.00 BBC2). Part five: the evidence for African hunter-gatherers of 150,000 years ago, and how they spread out to the rest of the world.

WEDNESDAY March 22 Thinking Allowed (4.00 R4). Talking about prisons with the LSE's David Downes and Roger Matthews of Middlesex University.

Tomorrow's World Live Lab (8.00 BBC1). Live scientific challenges, including a Turing test for intelligent computers.

The Life Saver (10.15 ITV). Documentary about heart transplant surgeon Magdi Yacoub.

THURSDAY March 23 The Material World (4.30 R4). More computer thinking, with Igor Aleksander and Chris Kennard of Imperial College, London.

What If? (8.00 R4). If France had had better weather in the late 1780s, there might have been no revolution. That is Christopher Andrew's proposition in the first of a new series of historical counterfactuals.

Leading Edge (9.00 R4). Sociobiologist Edward O. Wilson interviewed.

Robocritters (9.30 BBC2). Pick of the week.

More programme info can be found at: www.thesis.co.uk. Email: Davieses@aol.com

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