Higher Channels

March 31, 2000

John Davies audits the broadcasting output (all times pm unless stated).

Pick of the week Next time the BBC is accused of dumbing down, you can be sure that Seeing Salvation (Sunday 8.10 BBC2) will be cited in any rebuttal. Certainly, Neil MacGregor's four-part series about the image of Jesus in western art hardly puts a foot wrong: intelligent, unfussily photographed, it deserves the "landmark" label the BBC has given it. Episode one, "The Face", focuses on images of Christ, from the second century on.

SATURDAY April 1 The Black Stuff (9.00am, also 1.00, UK Drama). Relaunched channel - formerly UK Arena - includes this seminal 1980 Alan Bleasdale drama in its re-runs.

Future War (6.45 BBC2). Michael Ignatieff's series moves to Saturday for its final episode, which concentrates on how the military deal with peacekeeping.

Bloodties (7.35 BBC2). We're all going on a forebear hunt. Last in series.

Power into Art (8.00 C4). Start of four-parter on the conversion of London's Bankside power station into the Tate Modern.

SUNDAY April 2 Philosophy: A Guide to Happiness (7.00 C4). Schopenhauer on Love. Alain de Botton argues that the gloomy German had wise things to say on love.

Howard Goodall's Big Bangs (8.00 C4). The piano -"no other instrument in the world is quite so influential" in Goodall's words.

Seeing Salvation (8.10 BBC2). See pick of the week.

Blue Skies (11.15 R3). Returning art-meets-science series considers the importance of visualisation in science.

The Sky at Night (1.20am BBC1 in England; times vary elsewhere). X-ray astronomy, with Martin Ward of Leicester University.

MONDAY April 3 Indian Journeys (7.10 BBC2). William Dalrymple begins a short series on India's "spiritual past and troubled present".

Equinox (9.00 C4). The search for a meningitis cure. Report on the latest findings.

Journeys to the Bottom of the Sea (9.00 BBC2). Maritime archaeologist Colin Martin of St Andrews University investigates the wreck of a Cromwellian warship.

We Are History (9.50 BBC2; also Tuesday 9.50). The Time Team/Meet the Ancestors genre of television history is overdue for some intelligent ridicule: Marcus Brigstocke supplies it in six delightful send-ups. This week, Boadicea and King Arthur.

Talking 'bout a Revolution (11.20 BBC2, also Tuesday 11.20). Jonathan Freedland on how the American revolution's radical ideas are relevant for us Britons. On Tuesday, his views are chewed over by Linda Colley, Boris Johnson and others.

TUESDAY April 4 The Long View (9.00am R4). More Jonathan Freedland, this time on the Gordon Riots.

Red Chapters (7.00 Discovery Channel). Series on key events in communism's history begins with October 25 1917.

Baby Brain (9.00 R4). Annette Karmiloff-Smith on how very young brains develop.

Horizon: Moon Children (9.00 BBC2). About sufferers from xeroderma pigmentosum (XP), for whom exposure to sunshine leads to skin cancer.

WEDNESDAY April 5 Twenty Minutes - Book of the Month (8.05 R3). David Macey on Julia Kristeva's new book, The Sense and Non-Sense of Revolt.

THURSDAY April 6 In Our Time with Melvyn Bragg (9.00 am R4). Cladistics, with Colin Tudge, Henry Gee and Sandy Knapp.

Analysis (8.30 R4). Oxford's Felipe Fern ndez-Armesto asks if religion is due for a revival.

More programmes at: www.thesis.co.uk Email: Davieses@aol.com

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