Robin Buss

PICK OF THE WEEK: Pevsner Night BBC Knowledge, Thursday, July 12, 7-11.35pm.

In the mid-1940s Sir Allen Lane asked Nikolaus Pevsner if there was anything he would like to write for Penguin Books - and apparently didn't flinch when Pevsner offered him two 50-volume series, The Buildings of England and the Pelican History of Art. Pevsner only edited the second of these, but he wrote much of The Buildings of England himself. His stated ambition was to produce a paperback series that "every schoolboy" could carry in his pocket - every schoolgirl, presumably, would be looking after the satchels and the bikes. Undeterred, the schoolgirls became great fans. A few years ago, Janet Street-Porter, Lucinda Lambton and Joan Bakewell contributed to the BBC series Travels With Pevsner, and their programmes are being repeated for Pevsner Night, alongside Jonathan Meades's Worcestershire and Craig Brown's Suffolk.

Meades has also made a documentary, Pevsner Revisited (9-9.45pm), which puts The Buildings of England in the context of Pevsner's life and times. Too large now to slip into a pocket, the volumes will fit quite easily into your holiday luggage.

Animal Frontline Animal Planet, Sundays, 10pm.

An investigative series exposing wildlife crimes and showing the work of those who try to prevent them. This week, campaigner Jill Robinson has set up a sanctuary to recover bears imprisoned and "milked" for their bile, which is used in traditional Chinese medicine. The programme ends with a discussion on animal welfare in Asia. This is a rare example of a wildlife series that does not set out to recreate an earthly paradise, untouched by man.

A Pocket Full of Posies BBC2, Friday, July 13, 9-9.50pm.

Some of the oldest people in the land recall their childhood in the first quarter of the 20th century, when life expectancy was shorter and parents were more likely to die while their children were still young.

Phyllis Ing and Muriel Johnson were orphaned at the age of five and sent to a London orphanage, where conditions were grim. The First World War left many children without fathers, while others, such as Lucy Marsden, lost their parents to the 1918 flu epidemic. Lucy was sent to the workhouse, which lived up to its Dickensian reputation.

The testimony of these and others is supported by archive film and photographs. Did all this really happen less than a century ago?


Pre-school Bonanza Discovery Kids, Weekdays, 6am-3pm.

Discovery Kids has decided to devote its daytime scheduling in July to pre-school children, with programming led by Wiggles, Theodore Tugboat and Zooboomafoo. The first of these, featuring an Australian group whose brand of "toddler rock" has proved successful in their home country and abroad, goes out five times a day. Theodore Tugboat is a bit like Thomas the Tank Engine on water, and Zooboomafoo tells us all about wild animals.

Robin Buss

Full educational programme schedules can be found online at

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Robin Buss

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