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Pick of the week;Television

The Muppets may have long outlived their cuteness but anything that hails from the enchanted grotto of the Jim Henson Company has to be worthy of note.

Mopatop's Shop is a new series for pre-school and early primary children on ITV. Mopatop is an endearing shopkeeper creature, assisted by the dippy Puppyduck. Trade takes place at a leisurely pace at his store, with a wide assortment of extraordinary monsters and animals popping in and out, like Lamont the Sloth, a delivery courier and an odd-job rabbit called Gerald.

It's funny, gentle and repeats the educational theme of the day in an engaging and entertaining way. The scenario should already be a familiar one to children, who have probably been preparing for a future enslaved to credit cards by playing shop since they could crawl. There must also be lots of mileage in this, too, for those with special needs, not to mention all those university students currently addicted to Teletubbies.

Mopatop's Shop ITV, daily, 3.25-3.35pm SCHOOL SPOTLIGHT

It is not often we get to see the finished results of excellent teaching on television but that's what BBC's Learning Zone brings us with Talent 2000: Contemporary Dance and Choreography Showcase.

Over 150 contributions were volunteered for two programmes, from schools colleges and universities. Whittled down to just 12, the pieces were re-recorded and those involved discuss and demonstrate the blood, sweat and tears that went into them.

There are also words of advice from dance professionals Javier De Frutos, Arlene Philips and Wayne Sleep, among others.

Talent 2000, BBC2, January 29, 4-5.00am.


How many schools are wired up to digital television, I wonder? If your school television is one of those pulsating with extra channels, check out Problem Page on BBC Choice. Made by the exuberantly youthful Rapture TV, Problem Page is one of those open-discussion programmes which gives teenagers a chance to sound off.

The agenda includes such staples as relationships, drugs and bullying - matters where the message still, in some cases, is taking a long time to get through.

Problem Page: BBC Choice, Thursday evenings (times vary).

Janette Wolf.

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