Higher channels

March 24, 2000

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

Pick of the week

Despite its unconvincing first episode, dreadful music and dubious reconstructions, BBC2's Ape-man series has at least been informative. The final programme (Tuesday 9.00) concentrates on early human and Neanderthal finds in France and Portugal: Joio Zilhio and Cidalia Duarte of the Portuguese Institute of Archaeology and Paul Mellars and Tjeerd van Andel of Cambridge are among those talking us through recent discoveries.

SATURDAY March 25

Tourists of the Revolution (5.50 BBC2). "The People's Flag". This week's episode takes to task those who fell for Soviet propaganda, from Bernard Shaw and David Low to Peter Ustinov and Christopher Hill.

The Archive Hour: Voices from the Dust Bowl (8.00 R4). Billy Bragg introduces recordings from 1930s' US archives.

The Real Boris Yeltsin (8.00 C4). Hero or buffoon, or a bit of both?

SUNDAY March 26

Men and their Sheds (1.00 Discovery Home and Leisure). An irresistible title, ripe for some post-feminist analysis?

Time Team (6.00 C4). Recap of team's "live" dig last September in York.

Philosophy: A Guide to Happiness (7.00 C4). Alain de Botton, now associate research fellow at London University's School of Advanced Study, starts a six-parter on how philosophers' ideas could help solve everyday problems. In programme one, he talks about Roman stoic philosopher Seneca, and passes on his advice about dealing with anger to a van driver and a publishing executive. Oddly, though, at no point do we hear Seneca's actual words.

Tell Me the Truth about Love (8.00 BBC2). On W. H. Auden's life and poetry.

The New Chimpanzees (8.00 National Geographic). Prizewinning documentary about chimpanzee behaviour.

Howard Goodall's Big Bangs (8.00 C4). What we have gained (and lost) through the invention of equal temperament.

MONDAY March

Breaking the Seal (7.30 BBC2). Land owning and the documents that proved what belonged to whom. Experts include Cambridge's Phillip Schofield.

Equinox: Simply Complex (9.00 C4). Portrait of Nobel physics prizewinner Murray Gell-Mann.

TUESDAY March 28

Discord - Music and Dissent (1.30 R4). Music and Nazism, especially the case of Richard Strauss.

Ape-man (9.00 BBC2). See pick of the week.

WEDNESDAY March 29

Thinking Allowed (4.00 R4). Laurie Taylor talks with Richard Sennett of the London School of Economics.

THURSDAY March 30

Melvyn Bragg - In Our Time (9.00am R4). The history of right-wing thought, with Kenneth Minogue.

The Material World (4.30 R4). Is the musical sense "hard-wired" into human brains? Neil Todd and Jon Banks of Manchester University think a tiny organ in the ear holds a clue.

What If? (8.00 R4). Constantine hadn't converted to Christianity? Counterfactualist conjectures from Cambridge.

Constant Craving (9.30 BBC2). The science of addiction and what is known about the brain's pleasure centres. Nora Volkow of the United States's Brookhaven Laboratory is said to be "the world's expert".

Night Waves (10.00 R3). How has Shakespeare shaped British ideas of history?

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

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