Robin Buss's pick of the week

Around Scotland: Food Matters

BBC2, Tuesday, January 31, 10.30-10.50am

All that 10 to 12-year-olds need know about diet, fitness and obesity is in this programme. It's in three parts: the first looks at the effects of diet on health; the second analyses a range of diets in the Third World, including some that are better than those of the average Scottish child; and the last considers who should be responsible for changing our food habits. Teachers' notes at What? Where? When? Why?

BBC2, Thursdays, February 2 and 9, 10.30-10.45am

Another new programme from BBC Scotland, this is designed to help five to seven-year-olds talk about safety and health. In the first week, Spatz annoys everyone when he does a first-aid course and starts to see symptoms in all his friends, but they soon have reason to be grateful to him.

Zzaap and the Wordmaster

BBC2, Monday, January 30, 11.20-12 noon; Monday, February 6, 10.40-12 noon

This six-part series, written by Berlie Doherty for Look and Read, is built around the story of her efforts to write a drama with the help of a screensaver, Zzaap. As well as following the story and learning about the characters, pupils will find out about spelling and parts of speech.

English File: The Birth of Horror

BBC2, Friday, February 3, 2-4am

This enjoyable four-parter for students preparing GCSE English gives an account of the horror genre, from Monk Lewis to Stephen King, preceded by more detailed studies of the origins of classic horror tales, including Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde and The Hound of the Baskervilles. It starts with the well-known story of the circumstances in which Mary Shelley came to write Frankenstein; the result of a dream one night when she and Percy Shelley were staying in Switzerland with Lord Byron at the Villa Diodati.

The Romantics

BBC2, From January 28

Peter Ackroyd's offbeat and entertaining series looks at the marvellous creative decades in English and European culture from the late 18th to the mid-19th century. He starts with two major figures of the French Enlightenment, Denis Diderot and Jean-Jacques Rousseau, tracing the influence of their ideas in the French Revolution and beyond. In the second programme, he deals with the discovery of Nature by the Romantic poets: Blake, Wordsworth, Coleridge, Clare and Byron, ending with misgivings about science and Mary Shelley's famous nightmare from the frontiers of biotechnology. The series gives Ackroyd an excuse to be photographed in the Lake District, the Alps and other locations, where he fades in and out of images of the actors playing his chosen poets.

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