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Robin Buss's pick of the week

BBC Primary Geography. BBC2, Fridays, May 12-26, 11.30-11.50am

A series for seven to 11-year-olds on environmental change, answering the national curriculum requirement of knowledge and understanding of patterns, processes, places and geographical enquiry. It focuses on three types of environment. Part one, Forests, goes to the Karkonosze National Park on the border between Poland and the Czech Republic, an area that was severely affected in the 1970s by acid rain and tourism. The park still attracts a million tourists a year, but reforestation and conservation are helping restore the region. In part two, Wetlands, we discover the Somerset levels, another area under threat from tourism and of interest to archaeologists because of the large number of prehistoric villages and causeways that have been preserved in the damp soil. Finally, part three looks at the North Sea where the threat comes from over-fishing.

The Way Things Work. BBC2, Mondays, to May 22, 11.15-11.45am

A fun series intended to introduce physics to seven to nine-year-olds.

This week demonstrates how ramps and pulleys help the knight and villagers rescue Brenda from the tower, and then allow the inhabitants of Mammoth Island to milk a mammoth.

Meet the Authors. BBC Radio 4, Fridays, May 21 and 28, 3-3.15am

Even the seven to 11-year-olds for whom this series is intended may have met his week's author, Jacqueline Wilson, a few times before, but in the last two weeks of the series we turn to poetry, starting with the less familiar work of Valerie Bloom. Her poems, some written in patois, introduce us to such characters as the fearsome sea gangster, Al Caprawn.

The final week is devoted to the Liverpool poet Brian Patten.

Living with Modernism. BBC4 Tuesdays to June 12, 10-10.30pm

Modernism is no longer very modern; it flourished in the early years of the last century. However, the exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London claims to be the first to give a comprehensive survey of the movement. In these programmes, Simon Davis goes round the country finding out whether it is possible to live comfortably in an ultra-modernist house.

Also this week, Dan Cruickshank, back from his cross-country jaunt with Claude Friese-Greene, sets off for more distant fields to find some "Marvels of the Modern Age" in London Zoo, New York, Taipei, Capri, Moscow and Berlin, and to assess how the movement was taken up by Capitalists, Communists and Fascists.

Ocean Odyssey. BBC1, (dates and times tba)

Taking its inspiration from Walking with Dinosaurs, this two-parter goes into the depths of the ocean to follow a sperm whale from birth in the 1920s to its twilight years. The graphics are superb.

Full listings can be found at:


* www.channel4.comlearningmainprogrammestv_schedule.htm

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