Higher channels

April 14, 2000

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

Pick of the week.

The series formerly known as Timewatch now goes under the less pithy title History Zone Films. The first in a new run, Kings and Beasts (Saturday 8.05 BBC2), centres on the Tower of London, which was a royal menagerie from the age of Edward III (when it housed three lions) to 1835, when its remaining animals were transferred to Regent's Park zoo. Excavations at the site by Oxford archaeologist Graham Keevill are used to tell the story and reflect on changing attitudes towards animals. Among the other experts are historians Harriet Ritvo and Hilda Kean (of Ruskin College, Oxford), Rory Browne of Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Geoffrey Parnell, Keeper of the Tower of London (credited as the programme's historical consultant).

SATURDAY April 15.

Biography: Tojo (7.00 History Channel). Japan's war-time prime minister profiled: was he treated unfairly by the US after the war?

History Zone Films: Kings and Beasts (8.05 BBC2). See pick of the week.

SUNDAY April 16.

Sunday Feature: The Romantic Road (5.45 R3). Julian Evans starts a monthly series on the literary traditions of European countries with a visit to Spain, in which the emphasis is on the legacy of Cervantes.

Philosophy: A Guide to Happiness (7.00 C4). This week, Montaigne on self-esteem.

Rover: The Last Chance Saloon (8.00 C4). One-off documentary tracing the decline and fall of Rover cars from the 1970s on.

Seeing Salvation (8.10 BBC2). Neil MacGregor on images of the crucified Christ.

Blue Skies (11.15 R3). Modelling, both scientific and artistic.

MONDAY April 17.

The Passion (3.30 R4 and for rest of week). Extracts from Tony Harrison's version of The Mysteries, using the National Theatre cast.

True Bible Stories (8.00 C4). "The Tomb of Christ". Oxford archaeologists Martin Biddle and Birthe Kj?lbye probe Jerusalem's Church of the Holy Sepulchre.

The University (10.30 ITV2). Second in docu-soap following first-year students at Southampton University (see last week's THES).

TUESDAY April 18.

Passover - The Taste of Freedom (11.25am BBC1; 11.35am in Northern Ireland; 12.25am in Scotland). The Kindertransport operations that rescued thousands of Jewish children from Nazism.

WEDNESDAY April 19.

Undercover Libraries (11.00am R4). The sociology of the public library, with historian Alistair Black.

Disaster in Waiting (9.00 R4). Bill McGuire of University College London on disasters and risk assessment.

Night Waves (9.30 R3). Frank Kermode interviewed.

THURSDAY April 20.

Latin American Words (9.05am World Service, repeated 7.05). Third of Nick Rankin's series on Latin American writers focuses on Colombia and novels by Rivera, Garcia Marquez and Fernando Vallejo.

Great Excavations (8.00 C4). John Romer has a few digs at archaeologists' search for a "cradle" of civilisation.

The Brazilian Dream (8.00 R4). On the 500th anniversary of Brazil's creation, the first of two programmes investigates the country's "racial democracy".

Analysis (8.30 R4). Does Britain really need more people with university degrees?

Leading Edge Live (9.00 R4). Scientists discuss topical issues before a Cardiff audience.

More programmes at: www.thesis.co.uk.

Email: Davieses@aol.com.

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