Higher Channels

November 3, 2000

Pick of the week

It’s a Shakespeare and Shaw week. On BBC2, Richard Eyre begins Changing Stages (Sunday 7.30), a six-part series about the theatre of the last hundred years, with the shadow of the bard. The first part is a mini-anthology of British Shakespearean productions, from the first filmed performance (Beerbohm Tree in King John, 1899) via Harley Granville-Barker, John Gielgud (giving one of his last interviews before he died earlier this year); Laurence Olivier to Peter Brook, Peter Hall and Trevor Nunn. There’s also a selection of Harold-Bloomish remarks about Shakespeare’s "genius" from the likes of Tom Stoppard, Baz Luhrmann, Arthur Miller and Ian McKellen, with Eyre standing amid the remains of the Rose Theatre and claiming that Shakespeare "more or less invented theatre" (so, sucks to you ancient Greeks!). Before that, Marina Walker can be heard talking about the Bard’s treatment of the supernatural on Radio 3 (Saturday 10.00 R3). Meanwhile, Radio 4 begins a season to mark the fiftieth anniversary of the death of that great Shakespeare disparager, George Bernard Shaw, with Archive Hour (Saturday 8.00), followed on Sunday with a new Radio 3 production of The Devil’s Disciple (7.30), with an Anglo-US cast that includes Stacey Keach, Shirley Knight and Gregory Peck and is directed by Martin Jenkins. (See also Monday and Tuesday for more Shaw things). GBS figures largely in Eyre’s second programme, which is about Irish playwrights’ contribution to the British stage.

FRIDAY November 3
I Have a Right to …

(7.30, repeated Saturday 1.30 am World Service). Rebel groups and human rights: Rageh Omaar investigates. Visit the I have a right to ... website.
Beckett on Screen (9.30 R3). Neil Jordan and others on the [Samuel] Beckett Film Project. (See also Thursday R3.)

SATURDAY November 4
How to be President

(10.30 am R4). Bush’s and Clinton’s elections recalled.
The Century Speaks (2.30 R4). "Playtime". Leisure pursuits of the last hundred years recalled in BBC’s oral-history project.
Hillary’s New York Adventure (5.50 BBC2). Hillary Rodham Clinton profiled on the eve of her New York senate bid. Her husband is the focus of Bill and Monica on Sunday (10.55 C5), while ITV weighs in on Tuesday with The Clintons – A Marriage of Sex, Lies and Power (12 midnight, most regions).
Correspondent: Israel Accused (6.50 BBC2). Israeli war crimes in southern Lebanon. Visit the Correspondent website.
The Day I Snapped (7.00 C4). Continuing C4’s stress-fighting "Stop, Go Home" season. Also this week, Desperately Seeking Dad (Sunday 7.30 C4) looks at the impact of long working hours on family life, while The Joy of Stress (Monday 8.00 C4) takes a contrary view – see below. Mor information at Channel 4’s Stop, go home website.
Meet the Ancestors (7.35 BBC2). "Domesday Fire". A repeat of the programme where an executed skeleton is unearthed near a Cambridgeshire Saxon church. Visit the BBC’s Meet the Ancestors website for more information.
Twenty Minutes: The First Bohemian (7.45 R3). Henri Murger (1822-61) and his influential Scenes of Bohemian Life, in the interval of Leoncavallo’s La Bohème
Archive Hour: George Bernard Shaw (8.00 R4). Selections from the "vast" amount of BBC archive material on the Irish playwright.
Timewatch: Tales of the Eiffel Tower (8.05 BBC2). A repeat of Jonathan Gili’s interesting exploration of the Parisian landmark.
Telling Tales (8.55 BBC2). Two new Alan Bennett non-fictional monologues –memoirs of his boyhood and youth in Leeds – frame a re-run of his classic An Englishman Abroad , about Guy Burgess (9.10 BBC2).
Shakespeare Lecture (10.00 R3). See Pick of the week at the top of the page.
Watching (11.10 BBC2). Tom Sutcliffe presents a new series about "the cinema experience", beginning with a look at opening sequences (The Believers, Touch of Evil, etc). Interviewees include Nic Roeg, Mike Leigh, John Schlesinger, Atom Egoyan and Patrice Leconte.

SUNDAY November 5
Icons of the 20th Century

(12 noon C5). Leadership – Hitler, Mao, Che Guevara, et al.
All the Rage (1.30 R4). David Owen Norris on the music of the early 1600s, including a song by John Donne.
David Starkey’s Henry VIII (3.00 History Channel). As opposed to Simon Schama’s? (See Monday).
The Teaching Awards 2000 (4.10 BBC1). Coverage of the annual awards ceremony.
Adventures in Poetry (4.30 R4). Well-known poems explored by QMW’s Peggy Reynolds: this week, Christina Rossetti’s Remember.
Moby Dick (4.40 C5). A made-for-US-television version of Melville classic with Patrick Stewart as Captain Ahab (and Gregory Peck in a lesser role).
Bach Year (4.45 R3). Featuring organist Simon Preston.
Wildlife Showcase: Heartbeat of the Forest (5.00 BBC2). A forest in Southern Spain and its wildlife.
Sunday Feature: The John Tusa Interview (5.45 R3). Photographer Eve Arnold.
The Natural World (6.05 BBC2). "Big Red Roos" – kangaroos in New South Wales.
Changing Stages (7.30 BBC2). See Pick of the Week at the top of the page.
The Building of the Year: The Stirling Prize 2000 (8.00 C4). Live announcement of the winner. All the shortlisted buildings can be seen at the Channel 4 BoY website.
Never Never (9.00 C4, also Monday 9.00). New drama by ace writer Tony Marchant, whose Holding On for BBC TV was one of the drama highlights of 1997 (and who did a pretty good adaptation of Great Expectations last year).
Superhuman (9.10 BBC1). "Killers into Cures". Robert Winston on viruses, bacteria and the microbes that are being used to counter the effect of allergies.
Panorama (10.15 BBC1). Child abuse scandals, and especially those involving the Roman Catholic church in Wales.
World Routes: Silk and Bamboo ( 11.00 R3). The start of a series on China’s musical traditions, including performance on the qin.
Ultimate Questions (11.15 ITV). "Fundamental issues" will be debated under the chairmanship of Martyn Lewis: other participants are not revealed.
The Rest is History (12.15 BBC2). Mark Lawson with a behind-the-scenes documentary on the making of Simon Schama’s series (see Wednesday BBC2) – first shown on BBC Knowledge last month.
The Sky at Night (1.30 am BBC1). Late-night discussion of Project Darwin, the plan to search for extra-solar planets using several spacecraft. With Alan Penny of the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, and Patrick Moore.

MONDAY November 6
Composer of the Week

(9.00 am R3 and rest of week) is Haydn.
Start the Week (9.00am R4). Germaine Greer takes Jeremy Paxman’s place: among her guests are Ruth Deech, Amartya Sen and Philip Pullman.
What If? (10.00 am, repeated 1.00, 4.00, 7.00, 10.00 BBC Knowledge). Ronald Hutton and others suppose that Charles I had won the Civil War …
The Master and the Boy (11.00 am R4). George Bernard Shaw and his friendship with boxer Gene Tunney.
Last of the Medicine Men (7.30 BBC2). Benedict Allen in Tuva.
The New China (from 7.30 R3). The opening evening of a Chinese season, with reports from Isabel Hilton and features on the arts, religion and politics in the present-day People’s Republic. These include The Rise of the New Left (9.00), with Shen Lin, one of the authors of a musical about Che Guevara; The Emperor is Far Away (9.45), in which journalist Jasper Becker visits rural Henan; and The City of Eternal Spring (11.15), a portrait of the multiethnic city of Kunming in Yunnan province.
The Joy of Stress (8.00 C4). An alternative view of stress – are we moaning too much? Psychologists Angela Padmore and Rob Briner think so, while London GP Mike Fitzpatrick says the stress-therapy industry has a lot to answer for.
Operation San Pedro (8.00 R4). The CIA-inspired campaign that led to Cuban parents sending their children to the US in the 1960s, and the consequences today.
University Challenge (8.00 BBC2). Queen’s, Cambridge, vs. University of Wales College of Medicine.
What the Romans Did for Us (8.30 BBC2). After the Open University’s The Romans in Britain and a BBC2 Romans Day in August (to say nothing of the History Channel’s frequent re-runs), still more about the imperial overlords. This time it’s from BBC Science, so we have Adam Hart-Davis praising the Romans for their aqueducts, wine-making, mosaics and other alien practices introduced to ancient Britain – and trying out a variety of reconstructions; from a winepress to a bath-house.
Andes to Amazon (9.00 BBC2). The wildlife of South America – the first of six programmes.
Growing Science (9.00 R4). "Greenfingered boffins" are the focus of Pippa Greenwood’s new series.
War Months (9.00 Discovery Channel). Two more episodes: more North African battles, and the German invasion of the Soviet Union.
Meetings with Remarkable Trees (9.50 BBC2). A new series of ten-minute films based on Thomas Pakenham’s book of the same name. If they’re anything like the last series, they’ll be a delight.
Omnibus – William Blake, Singing for England (10.35 BBC1). Art historians (e.g. William Vaughan), poets (e.g. Tom Paulin) and others on Blake, to coincide with a big new exhibition at the Tate in London. See also Friday (Nov 10).
A History of Britain with Simon Schama (11.25 BBC1). A repeat of last week’s episode, largely about Henry VIII.
Martin Chuzzlewit (12 midnight UK Drama and rest of week, times vary). Re-run of David Lodge’s Dickens adaptation.

TUESDAY November 7
Ian Hislop’s School Rules

(2.45 am C4). A repeat of part two of British educational history reaches the 1930s, "an overcrowded, underfunded system dominated by Victorian thinking".
Unearthing Mysteries (11.00 am R4). Aubrey - Earth Story - Manning with a new archaeology series, beginning with the mysterious acoustic properties of Stone Age burial chambers and the latest speculation on the ritual roles of these "megalithic cathedrals".
Dear Mr Shaw (11.30 am R4). and Invisible Trumpets (1.30 R4). Shaw’s correspondence; Shaw’s music criticism.
Realm of the Asian Lion (Tuesday 7.00 C5). Wildlife documentary from western India.
The Booker Prize 2000 (8.00 C4). Live coverage of the prize ceremony.
Case Notes (9.00 R4). Screening (in a medical sense) – why can’t the experts agree on its effectiveness?
Night Waves (9.30 R3). William Blake assessed (see also Monday BBC1; Friday 10 Nov BBC Knowledge).
Everyman: The Children of Liberation (10.35 BBC1; Wednesday 10.50 in Scotland, Wednesday11.20 in Wales and N. Ireland). The Dutch offspring of British soldiers who liberated the Netherlands in 1945, and their attempts to trace their fathers.
Post Mortem (11.25 C5). Forensic scientists tell of the cases they’ve solved.
Breaking the Seal (12.30 am). An Open University repeat series about British archive resources, beginning with the Domesday Book.
Vote 2000 –USA (11.25 BBC1). Hours and hours of US election coverage, also on the cable/satellite news channels (Sky News, ITN, etc) of course.

WEDNESDAY November 8
Meridian: The Copland Years

(9.05 am, repeated 7.05 pm World Service). Leonard Slatkin on American music during Copland’s 90 years. The first of four programmes. (See also Friday Nov 10.)
Thinking Allowed (4.00 R4). Laurie Taylor’s guests this week include Oxford’s Felipe Fernandez-Armesto who will talk about his new book Civilisations.
Tomorrow’s World (7.00 BBC1). New treatment for breast cancer; new firefighting foam, etc. Visit the Tomorrow’s World website.
The Money Programme (7.30 BBC2). "The Last Oil Shock". How much oil is left in the world, and what happens when the wells run dry? More at the Money Programme website.
Do Animals … Feel Pleasure? (10.50 am BBC Knowledge, repeated 1.50, 4.50, 7.50, 10.50).
Twenty Minutes: Thomas Hardy (8.45 R3). Especially the house that he built for himself in Dorchester. With Bournemouth University radio specialist (and poet) Sean Street.
Laboratories of Power (9.00 R4). About the International Panel on Climate Change – the first of three programmes on scientists who may have political influence, presented by Richard Black. Subsequent programmes deal with the World Health Organisation and the Codex Alimentarius Commission (the global authority on what’s safe to eat).
A History of Britain by Simon Schama (9.00 BBC2). Part 7, "The Body of the Queen": Mary (of Scotland) and Elizabeth … After this, the Schamathon pauses before returning with further episodes in the New Year. Find out the latest at the BBC History website.
Night Waves (9.50 R3). The politics and ethics of present-day archaeology: from looting and illicit trading to the question of (for instance) returning the Elgin Marbles.
Rebel Yell (10.00 R2). A six-part history of the protest song, with Tom Robinson. It begins in America with Woody Guthrie, Leadbelly and the Weavers – from this we might infer that the legacy of British industrial folk song is going to be ignored …

THURSDAY November 9
Secrets of the Ancients

(10.00 am UK Horizons) Re-runs of the BBC Science series from last year begin with an episode in which Robin Knox-Johnston tries to sail a reconstructed Viking longship.
Crossing Continents (11.00 am R4). Romanian police corruption and Roma victimisation.
Music Restored (4.00 R3). Tudor cathedral music.
The Material World (4.30 R4). Brigid Heywood (Keele) and Paul Taylor (Warwick) on polymer technology.
Endurance: Shackleton and the Antarctic (8.00 C4). Two-hour To the Ends of the Earth special on Shackleton’s 1914-16 expedition, co-produced with PBS in the States.
A Southall Lad (8.00 R4). Jatinder Verma recalls the summer of 1976 – a murder in Southall and the birth of Britain’s anti-racist movement.
Ill Said, Ill Sung (8.20 R3). In the interval of a broadcast (from Covent Garden) of Tristan und Isolde, a collage of comments on the role of music in Samuel Beckett’s work.
In Business (8.30 R4). "Robot Wars". If future computers become as intelligent as humans, what’s left for us to do? Peter Day investigates.
Horizon: The Secret Treasures of Zeugma (9.00 BBC2). What a team of French rescue archaeologists discovered about the ancient Greco-Roman city of Zeugma on the Euphrates before it was drowned by a dam project.
Leading Edge (9.00 R4). How does the brain’s "leaky wiring" work? New research on how human brains learn.
Britain at War in Colour (10.00 ITV). Part two (of three). As well as colour footage from the time (1943), extracts from letters and diaries illuminate the wartime mood of Britain.
Open Science (from 12.30 am BBC2). Including, at 3.00 am, Stress – what it is and how it can be measured. Find out more at the Open Science website.

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