Last week we marvelled at the most enormous creatures ever to walk the face of the planet in Walking with Dinosaurs. This week, a new series of Channel 4's Stage Two Science goes to the other extreme.
Miniworlds uses microscopic photography to reveal what in some cases, you may well wish had remained hidden. Take dust mites for example: these impressively carapaced monsters are shown with chomping jaws waddling around the strange landscape where they live: your bed. Even worse is the body louse, magnified by electron microscope to terrifying proportions. The programmes follow a boy on a normal day (gets up, goes to school etc) and uses him as an excuse to explore the peculiar creatures that exist beyond the range of the human eye. These become marginally less appalling when they are living in an environment that doesn't form part of your body, pondlife for instance, or ants.
This series is colourful and shocking and comes with plenty of support materials. Although designed for science, it could also make an impact in lessons on personal hygiene. Definitely not for the squeamish, though.
Stage Two Science: Miniworlds, Channel 4 Mondays 10.00-10.15
Teenage angst can be put down to many things but the agony of confusion caused by sexual ignorance must be high on the list.
This is not just a potential cause for embarrassment, but a real health hazard: British teenagers have the worst sexual health for their age group in Europe. In the second phase of BBC Education's major health initiative ID: Learning to be You, thorough sex education began this term with Watch: Birth Care and Growth for 5-7 year olds, gradually becoming more explicit and practical for older children in Life School: Sex Education for 14-16 year olds and Turning Points: Sex Education which had, among the serious stuff, hints on flirting (laugh at your partner's jokes, a lot), asking people out and how to survive lovers' tiffs. The remaining programmes in the series will cover the social minefield of the disco and playground and offer guidelines for developing self-esteem. Learning to be You is a three-year project on personal health for young people, which covers drugs, sex and alchohol and is backed up by videos and teaching materials. The programmes already transmitted in the series are available on video: tel: 08700 100222.
Focus: Growing Up, November 2, 9 and 16, 12.00-12.20pm
BEST OF THE REST
One of English literature's most epic struggles in the hero-v-monster canon, is also one of the least read. The tale of Beowulf and his run-in with the slavering Grendel finds itself on many English degree courses but not much further afield. For those who don't know their heorots from their naeglings (one's a drinking hall, the other's a trusty sword), Seamus Heaney has translated the entire epic and reads it in 10 extracts over two weeks on Radio 4 for Book at Bedtime.
Book at Bedtime: Beowulf, Radio 4 Monday 10.45-11.00pm Check press for subsequent times.