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Television

PICK OF THE WEEK

LIFE ETC BBC2, Mondays, from March 11, 7.30-8pm

Over the coming nine weeks, former Daily Express editor Rosie Boycott meets people who have faced critical situations involving moral dilemmas, including a former National Front member who felt obliged to inform on his colleagues, parents whose child asked them to help him die when he became terminally ill, a man who was responsible for a fatal car crash and a betrayed wife who chose revenge. The situations are compelling, the choices difficult: one for PSHE?

BRIT ART BBC Four, Fridays, from March 8, 9-9.50pm

This three-parter traces the rise and rise of conceptual art, with the emphasis on the role played by collector Charles Saatchi and dealer Jay Jopling, as well as artists. We learn how Damien Hirst chopped a cow in half; how Tracey Emin made a tent; and how Rachel Whiteread won both the Turner Prize and a prize as the worst Turner nominee in the same year. It is a fascinating slice of Nineties life.

BEST FOR SCHOOLS

THE MATHS CHANNEL BBC2, Tuesday, March 12, 2-4am

This lively series covers a multitude of maths topics from simple numeracy skills onwards. Fast forward to where you want, pause when it tells you and guess which television genres are being parodied. The hidden camera follows Barry as he gets ripped off at the burger stand; our Hollywood reporter shows how place value makes a difference to Tom Cruise's pay cheque; and a passable imitation of David Attenborough describes the predatory division operators swooping on unsuspecting numbers as they graze across the plain. Dangerous stuff: it could leave you thinking that maths is fun.

THE ENGLISH PROGRAMME: Dark Tales Channel 4, Thursdays, from March 7, 10-10.25am

This three-parter, also on video, explores the themes of outsiders, cities at night and masks in 19th and 20th-century literature, with the help of extracts from a variety of texts, movie adaptations and documentaries. If outsiders, from Frankenstein's monster to James Dean, strike a chord, it is because many of us can identify with their sense of alienation.

There are drawbacks in the thematic approach when it means casting the net so wide: Dickens blends with Steinbeck, Steinbeck with Harper Lee and S E Hinton. But this is a stimulating and valuable series.

BEST ON SATELLITE

NATIONAL SCIENCE WEEK Special Discovery Kids, from Monday, March 11, 3.30-6pm

To coincide with National Science Week, Discovery Kids is broadcasting a series of programmes showing how science relates to everyday life. The lead programme is Big Bang!, an exploration of basic physics and chemistry: how they put the fizz in fizzy drinks and colour into fireworks, and how to slow down if you're spinning on a revolving chair.

Full educational programme schedules can be found online at www.bbc.co.ukeducationlzonesched.shtmlwww.4learning.co.ukprogrammesspri ng2002.cfm

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