Higher channels

May 5, 2000

John Davies passes sentence on the broadcasting output (all times pm unless stated).

Pick of the week

Underfed polar bears, bleached corals, disappearing toads - they are all symptoms of that global malady, rapid climate change. In Wednesday's powerful but depressing Warnings from the Wild (9.30 BBC2) Julian Pettifer offers examples of what happens when, in the words of Stanford's Stephen Schneider, "we use the atmosphere as a free sewer to dump our waste". Global warming crops up in C4's Deluge (Monday 8.00) and R4's Nature (Monday, 9.00), about floods in Australia.


New Labour Unauthorised (from 7.00 C4). Just like last year, C4 marks the anniversary of the 1997 general election with a clutch of Blair-related programmes. Today, The Rise and Fall of Mo Mowlam (7.00), and New Labour on Trial (7.30). And on Sunday, Tony's New Boy Network (8.00), in which Nick Cohen lifts a few stones and shines a torch on the cronies and spin doctors beneath.

Breaking the Code (8.05 BBC2). Repeat drama about computing pioneer Alan Turing.


Why is a Raven Like a Writing Desk? (4.30 R4). Kevin Crossley-Holland on riddles, from Mesopotamia and the Anglo-Saxons to detective stories and the internet.

Philosophy: A Guide to Happiness (7.00 C4). Finally, Nietzsche - who can help us cope with hardship, apparently.

Tate Modern (8.00 BBC2). How some of the gallery's top pictures found their way into the collection. More Tate on Wednesday (R3) and Thursday (BBC1 and 2).

Fergal Keane's Forgotten Britain (10.20 BBC1, also Monday 10.10). The ex-foreign correspondent presents the first two of three personal documentaries about people "on the edge of the affluent society".


Kerala Quest (3.45 R4, also Tuesday and Wednesday). Management guru Charles Handy visits the Indian state of Kerala and draws lessons from its experience of Marxist government, education and tourism.

Wild (8.00 BBC2). New packaging of nature programmes begins with "Alien Empire", on how insect evolution has created "masterpieces of micro-engineering". The Natural World:The Wolf's Return (8.30 BBC2). The reintroduction of wolves to Yellowstone National Park.

Behind Bars (9.30 BBC2). New series about what prison does and does not do to its inmates begins with the cautionary tale of a "supermax" penitentiary in Marion, Illinois.


Lost Leaders: Great Powers in an Age of Change (8.00 R4). Yale's Paul Kennedy begins a three-part series by focusing on some of Japan's political and business leaders.

University Challenge (8.00 BBC2). The final: Durham v Oriel, Oxford.


Thinking Allowed (4.00 R4). Is an ageing population really a problem? Phil Mullan talks with Laurie Taylor.

The Reith Lectures (8.00 R4). Vandana Shiva on "Poverty and Globalisation".

Warnings from the Wild (9.30 BBC2). See pick of the week.


Tate Live (11.00am BBC1; also 7.30 BBC2, 10.30 BBC1). Official opening of the new art gallery. In the evening, we can watch the fun as a "star-studded" party is held.

Great Excavations (8.00 C4). Last episode, which focuses on the "new archaeology" that looks at the "big picture", and visits Mexico's Oaxaca Valley.

Elizabeth (9.00 C4). Part two of David Starkey's series on Elizabeth I.

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

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